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Part X: Not Persevering Through The Storm

Here is the tenth and final installment of WRS Health’s 10-part series dedicated to Dr. Lawrence Gordon’s recent white paper, “10 Implementation Mistakes to Avoid: Why Practices Fail.” Each segment of the series examines one of the 10 most common implementation mistakes by medical practices when implementing electronic health record (EHR) systems.

MISTAKE #10: NOT PERSEVERING THROUGH THE STORM

Finally, implementation is undoubtedly a difficult and stressful period. Your staff is likely to feel overburdened as they try to adapt to a new system while simultaneously performing their usual tasks and attending to patients. They may get discouraged and lack the drive to persevere. There are many steps you can take to prevent your staff from getting discouraged and throwing in the towel prematurely. In a consensus statement on considerations for a successful CPOE implementation, the panel states, “Early milestones must be selected to produce “wins” that help maintain momentum toward more difficult long-term objectives.”

Tips to help your staff persevere

  • Provide a constant source of information.
  • Use a plethora of informational formats, such as email, Intranet, and one-on-one meetings.
  • Create a variety of visual cues that reflect the positives and the progress that has already been made. Highlight and celebrate milestones that are reached.
  • Place posters and other signs reflecting progress that has been made. Thermometers, maps, or a character representation of someone who is growing from infancy to adulthood are all effective cues.
  • Inform staff about any changes in the system, new capabilities and training opportunities.

Finally, for a truly successful EHR implementation to take place, physicians are wise to heed Joan Ash and her colleagues’ words of advice, “The challenge is to anticipate difficulties, to implement smoothly, and to control the organizational upheaval as the organization transforms itself. Successful implementation is possible, but only if the complexity is recognized and skillfully managed.”