The process of implementing an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system can be a major transition for many organizations. As you adapt to this change, you may find that the basic function of the EMR system is working, but you may also observe a number of difficulties—resistance from physicians, hardware limitations, and interruption of workflow—arising in the process. Expanding your staff of professionals trained in healthcare systems and software can be extremely helpful in expediting the process of meeting the 3 stages of EMR “meaningful use” standards (data capturing and sharing, advance clinical processes, and improved outcomes). The good news is, with the increasing demand, there’s a growing number of IT professionals being trained in EMR implementation and workflow assistance whose talent is waiting to be discovered by an IT staffing agency.
“Healthcare IT professionals can help relieve facilities and physicians of these difficulties,” suggests Kyle Mattice, Executive Vice President and Partner at The Execu|Search Group. “Not only can they assist by easing physician and nurse workload, but by training staff on how to input, organize, and retrieve important data quickly and efficiently.”
As a result of the growing demand for these professionals, particularly with a specialization in EMR records, the Information Technology field has been expanding. Several certifications are now available that educate Healthcare Information Technology professionals on how to help facilities currently in the process of switching from paper to electronic records. These certified Healthcare IT professionals are trained to manage workflow redesign, strategize for effective implementation, guide staff, and assist a facility on meeting its EMR goals.
For example, these candidates can implement a portal system which helps expedite the process of patient onboarding by allowing patients to input their own information into the system prior to their appointment. Not only can this take the burden off staff, it can also minimize error, increase the speed at which information is collected, and minimize liability of improperly transcribing information. Hiring the right IT professionals to develop, maintain, and troubleshoot a new portal system that patients can use in this way could be a great solution to minimizing workflow interruption.
When bringing in such new technologies, it’s important to provide staff with a schedule of goals and deadlines to meet in order to learn the software, teach the patients how to use it, and move the process along. Certified Healthcare IT candidates can assist in the training and implementation of the new system and draw up learning goals to help prepare staff for the phases ahead.
Regardless, implementing new technology can still cause a bit of a disruption in workflow, even with the right IT staff to support it, because it typically requires a change in the way your staff goes about their work. IT professionals trained in healthcare systems can also help outside the EMR conversion process, for instance, helping patient flow run more efficiently by implementing tools that allow better monitoring of patient beds, application data, and intra-facility movement, which in turn allows speedier turnover and less patient wait time while staff is busy with EMR convergence.
Hiring a new team of professionals can take time and money, but easing the switch from paper to electronic records can help save both—especially by preventing prolonged frustration that can lead to the possible loss of overwhelmed employees and irritated patients. The overall goal of the EMRs as proposed by the Affordable Care Act is to ultimately provide better, and faster, care for patients. To ensure this comes to fruition, it will be important to make sure you have the best healthcare IT staff in place to implement new systems and improve workflow, while also keeping quality service steady during the implementation process.