IMPLEMENTING EHR: Definition, Process,Cost and Benefit

implementing EHR
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The electronic health record is a more comprehensive collection of electronic health data on particular patients or communities (EHR). Over the years, the healthcare industry has revolutionized and begun the implementation of the EHR plan to enhance data entry. EHRs have benefited the healthcare industry in other ways as well. However, there are still some challenges you may face when implementing the EHR. Also, the cost of implementing EHR has proved to be a disadvantage.

What Is the Implementation of EHR?

When a healthcare organization is preparing for and carrying out the adoption of an electronic-based health care system, they employ an electronic health record (EHR) implementation plan. Implementing an EHR provides accurate, up-to-date, and complete information about patients at the point of care. It also enhances the privacy and security of patient care.

What Is EHR?

EHR simply means Electronic health record (EHR). It is a structured collection of patient and population health data that has been digitally saved. These documents can be transferred between various healthcare settings.

EHRs are patient-focused, real-time records that make information instantaneously and securely accessible to authorized users. Network-connected enterprise-wide information systems, as well as other information networks and exchanges, are used to share records.

Electronic Health Records digitally replicate the paper chart of a patient. Even though an EHR does contain a patient’s medical and treatment history, it is designed to go beyond the typical clinical data gathered in a provider’s office and can also include a wider perspective of a patient’s care.

Why Implementing Ehr Is Important

  • EHRs aid in improving patient care management and delivery. This happens by providing doctors and other healthcare professionals with complete, accurate, and up-to-date patient information at the point of service.
  • It also provides quick access to patient records to produce more effective care coordination.
  • Utilizing a successful implementation approach for a new EHR system can increase outcomes, decrease delays, and improve healthcare employees’ morale.

Who Is Responsible for EHR Implementation Plan?

A crucial participant in the overall process of implementing an EHR plan is the team lead. They are to take the ultimate choices on the EHR implementation plan. The Project Manager and other department heads will collaborate closely with this person as they supervise the entire process.

Cost of Implementing Ehr

Implementing EHR is a big task and must require a lot of funding. As a result, many practices now place high importance on choosing and deploying an EHR system within their budget. Moreover, the cost of implementing EHR may vary according to some factors.

Despite its clearly important, there is a tremendous lot of ambiguity surrounding the right understanding of the financial case for EHRs and how to create a precise and practical budget for system selection.

How Much Does Implementing EHR Maintenance Cost?

Research estimates maintenance expenses to be $1,500 per doctor per month on average. Since we now live in the cloud, your EHR vendor is mostly responsible for breaking down maintenance expenses. To maintain and guarantee the security of your data, you should account for support and training, as well as additional server costs and the true cost of running your IT department.

What Is the Cost of Implementing EHR?

It is challenging to give an average cost of implementing EHR because it varies depending on the situation and the implementation plan.

However, case-specific illustrations might provide some insight into the cost associated with implementing EHR. A typical multi-physician practice, for instance, would spend around $162,000 to adopt an EHR, with $85,500 going toward first-year maintenance expenditures, according to the Health Affairs study quoted above.

Additionally, they calculated that the “preparing for and implementing” of the EHR system took the implementation teams about 611 hours. In contrast, a Medical Economics survey of 30 primary care offices found that the average cost of purchasing hardware, software, peripherals, and network connections was $5,900 and that the average cost of “IT and other outside support” was $3,094 for almost half of the practices.

In general, there are five parts that make up the implementation process: setting up the hardware, purchasing the software, providing support with the implementation, educating the employees, paying recurring network expenses, and maintenance.

The other cost of implementing EHR also include the direct cost such as:

  • Software licensing 
  • Projected maintenance
  • Consulting and training fees
  • Labor including overtime
  • Hardware (if required – usually only required for on-premise installations)

Challenges You may face when Implementing Ehr

Even though implementing EHR might seem like the right choice there are some challenges you may face when doing that. There are also major hurdles that providers should be aware of while implementing EHR.

#1. Implementing EHR is expensive

The cost of implementing an EHR is very high. This is because the majority of the anticipated capital budget investment will be consumed by the choice, adoption, and optimization of EHR. Research shows that each provider would spend between $15,000 and $70,000 buying and implementing an EHR system.

As the deployment progresses, further unanticipated costs could arise. One of the biggest challenges, especially for smaller institutions, is obtaining the necessary financial resources for implementing EHR.

#2. Staff Resistance

The idea of using EHRs in the establishment continues to face opposition from staff members. Additionally, some medical professionals have concerns about privacy protocols and the effectiveness of electronic health records.

Due to the absence of digital integration, they can be reluctant to abandon the documentation process. In certain circumstances, the staff is unaware of the most recent technology developments and the extensive advantages of implementing an EHR. It causes a delay in the implementation of EHR. 

#3. Lack of Usability

Providers have a hard time adjusting to the EHR system since it is insufficient to fit into the current workflow. The one-size-fits-all criterion is unsuitable for the EHR system because a therapist’s workflow differs from a cardiologist’s and vice versa.

The EHR software is harder to use because of design problems or inadequate training. Health outcomes for patients may be fatally affected by compromised health care data.

#4. Data Privacy

The patient and provider community’s worries about data privacy present another significant obstacle for EHR. Stakeholders frequently express worries about the possibility of data loss as a result of a natural disaster or a cyberattack.

A national strategy to ensure the confidentiality of personal health information has been established by the federal rule. In the event of a security breach, the company can find itself in legal trouble and end up having to pay millions of dollars to resolve the issue. As a result, the provider now has a major duty to guarantee the EHR systems’ data security.

#5. Data Migration

Data migration is one of the challenges of implementing an EHR. The staff’s attempt to convert paper-based records to digital records is a logistical nightmare. This is because numerous documents detailing the medical histories of many patients will be present, making data input a laborious and time-consuming operation for the staff.

Moreover, if there is an improper format in the old system, it doubles the effort required.

#6. Limitation of Technical Resources

One of the challenges with implementing EHR that small clinical settings and private health practitioners frequently encounter is this one. Rarely do they have the technical expertise and provider oversight in-house team.

Additionally, they might not have the necessary gear to set up the EHR solution. Building an internal team with the right personnel and the necessary skills, as well as purchasing technology, is quite expensive. This is the major reason why small healthcare facilities put off implementing EHRs.

#7. Interoperability

Interoperability is the process by which integrated health data is made available for simpler information interchange with hospitals and providers. It provides clinicians and healthcare professionals to have structured, integrated access to patient data.

To fully comprehend a patient’s medical history, interoperability in an EHR is essential. Despite this, it continues to be one of the key obstacles to proper data transfer in electronic health records. The inability to communicate with one another might make it difficult to coordinate care and can affect how well people are doing medically.

Benefits of Implementing EHR

#1. Better Quality of Care

The EHR provides quick access to patient records, which makes it possible to treat patients more effectively. They improve the practice’s operational effectiveness while also assisting with treatment effectiveness.

On the side of the healthcare provider, the majority of EHRs give doctors access to health analytics that support pattern recognition, diagnosis prediction, and therapy recommendation. Instead of depending solely on trial-and-error techniques, these analytics produce more effective overall patient results the first time.

Patient portals, which patients can access, provide them with access to past medical data like lab and imaging results, prescriptions, diagnoses, and more. Patients and doctors can connect by exchanging notes, instant messages, and even video calls.
Patients and doctors alike can also utilize it to track an individual’s treatment progress. This also makes preventive care easier.

#2. More Accurate Patient Information

Electronic files were an initial introduction to the replacement of paper medical records to make storing and accessing patient information easier. But they also provide a number of other benefits. One benefit of electronic record storage is the absence of the possibility of sensitive data being unavailable due to bad factors. Digital records can also eliminate mistakes and errors brought on by illegibility and illegible handwriting.

In order to provide other healthcare providers with an accurate, up-to-date patient file, doctors can update patient information in real-time. Every doctor or specialist involved in a patient’s care can be reached through this electronic record. Continuity is extremely beneficial, particularly when a patient changes providers or visits a new doctor because it gives doctors a thorough foundation of the patient’s medical history rather than needing them to learn it from scratch.

#3. Interoperability

Medical practices can enhance continuity of care by integrating EHR with other systems, such as EMR. An EHR system that supports interoperability is essential for patients who need to see specialists, manage chronic illnesses like diabetes, or move into home health care for recovery or hospice care.

#4. It Enhances Efficiency

EHR allows doctors to not only deliver more precise treatment and diagnosis but also save time. They increase appointment and office visit efficiency while maintaining a patient-centered focus, allowing medical professionals to see more patients each day.

EHR platform use of artificial intelligence (AI) is increasing. It aids doctors in making diagnoses and deciphering patient histories. A few businesses can also add voice recognition functionality so that suppliers can speak questions to the platforms.

#5. E-Prescribing

The majority of healthcare institutions and medical specializations, consider e-prescribing a normal practice. Depending on their locations, several healthcare organizations around the nation are now required to write prescriptions electronically.

This lowers the prevalence of opioid abuse and addiction, in particular, among regulated substances. From the point of care, pharmacies can electronically transmit prescriptions.

Additionally, based on a patient’s current medications and diagnosis, the EHR may automatically check for any potential drug-to-drug or drug-to-allergy interactions that may happen.

#6. Increases in Revenue

The aim of every company is to increase income. The same frequently holds true for healthcare companies. EHR offers capabilities for billing and payments that help manage income and guarantee payments. Claims that contain mistakes or coding flaws can be automatically cleaned up to prevent rejections.

This feature helps speed up reimbursements without losing or delaying claims by increasing the percentage of insurance claims that are accepted the first time. EHR also makes it simple for doctors to record every detail of a patient’s visit, making it simple to back up specific claims.

#7. Accessibility

The EHR is very accessible thanks to online access. Users of third-party managed EHR can log in and access their data from any location with internet access. These platforms also enable provider collaboration and provide a means for patients to participate in their care. Accessibility enables healthcare professionals to address patients’ inquiries and worries from any location.

#8. Security

It’s crucial to protect electronic health information. One benefit of implementing EHR systems is that they can guarantee that your clinic complies with HIPAA regulations and that your medical records are secure. The highest level of security is provided by EHR firms that adhere to IDC9/10, CPT, and other EHR standards.

Ehr Implementation Plan

An electronic health record (EHR) implementation plan is a comprehensive set of strategies and steps that healthcare organizations use when preparing for and executing the adoption of an electronic-based health care system.

Stages of EHR implementation plan

#1. Set a Specific Roadmap

Begin by thoroughly evaluating your facility’s readiness to use an EHR. The lack of management to assess its needs at the outset is one of the reasons why EHR initiatives go wrong. To effectively gauge the existing status of medical practices and capabilities, high-level executives must be included in the planning process.

Additionally, they must specify the EHR system functions they require and choose crucial success indicators to evaluate the system’s performance after go-live.

#2. Establish Strong Leadership

Your EHR implementation plan must have a steering group that is knowledgeable, experienced, and intelligent. An application analyst, application developer, QA test engineer, physician advocacy, nurse advocate, and billing advocate make up the implementation team in a standard EHR implementation plan template. The project manager (who may also function as the practice manager) may also be on the team.

Throughout the implementation phase, there should be an open and cooperative exchange of information between the team members.

#3. Define A Budget

An issue that frequently arises throughout the EMR deployment process is investing a significant amount of resources in EHR only to receive mediocre returns. The cost of implementing EHR can be high. Your company should work to improve healthcare service quality while reducing expenses.

The Healthcare Financial Management Association developed an example of an EHR deployment plan.

You can divide the budget into line items for administrative, administrative support, and human resources, among other crucial categories.

Whatever your current EHR budget estimates are, you should typically plan to spend roughly $6,000 more than you had anticipated because of additional costs related to setting up the system, conducting maintenance, and putting security measures.

However, you can reduce these as much as you can with the aid of a well-defined budget. Make sure the budget contains:

  • System improvements
  • Customization advisory
  • Training costs
  • Costs of cloud migration with backup and storage
  • Consultation

#4. Prepare the Infrastructure

To ensure effectiveness and high uptime, the information technology infrastructure for your EHR installations should include strong security policies and speedy disaster recovery strategies. Registries, interoperability, security, privacy, and other elements should be part of its architecture.

Your system must be HIPAA compliant, which is one non-negotiable. To ensure perfect compliance, you can always collaborate with a knowledgeable EHR vendor or consultant.

You’ll also need to evaluate and put into practice your hardware needs in addition to the software. Additional printer installation and providing each employee with the proper tech tools are required for hardware preparation.

#5. Exchange Data

Data transfer from your legacy system is the next stage in establishing certified EHR software after your infrastructure is ready. Analyze the optimal strategy for patient and physician comfort first. Clinical staff dissatisfaction is decreased and user acceptance is increased through seamless data movement. Think about the following to speed up data transfer:

  • Defining the migration criteria, including what must be moved and the size of the backup
  • Educating data entry personnel
  • Making a workflow sheet to ensure complete transparency for data entry
  • Verifying and confirming that all data is entered accurately
  • Safely storing the paper charts

#6. Conduct EHR Training Seminars

To get your staff members on board with your EHR deployment at this level, you must consider the training component.

The training should be thorough and specific, emphasizing the important advantages of an EHR and how to adopt one successfully.

Here are some things you must do when implementing EHRs:

  • Putting together a highly qualified training squad
  • Making super users the department’s main contact
  • Establishing a training schedule with objectives that are explicit
  • Adapting the training to the users’ existing skill levels
  • Encouraging staff to participate in real-time to gain experience

#7. Launch It

Before the official launch, test your new EHR in a simulated environment or a production setting to ensure there are no major issues.

Your team ought to be proficient by this point in the features of the system and their responsibilities for making the most of it. All necessary data ought to have been transferred to the EHR. Additionally, each person and department should have documented workflow mechanisms in place for billing, clinical documentation, scheduling, and patient follow-up.

The implementation team should be equipped to identify and fix problems as they arise during testing. You might also think about reducing the number of patients on the actual launch day to ease staff tension. Clients should be made aware of the launch and informed of the benefits of the innovation.


What Is the First Step in EHR Implementation?

The first EHR implementation step is to assess your current organization – its goals, needs, and financial and technical readiness.

How can we improve EHR implementation?

EHR design and configuration must:

  • It improves the ability of doctors to deliver high-quality patient care
  • Support for collaborative care
  • Bolster coordination of care.
  • Offer modularity and also configurability in your products.
  • Let go of the mental weight
  • Promote data liquidity
  • Encourage patient engagement through digital and mobile channels
  • Expedite user feedback after product deployment and customer input during product design

Conclusion

One of the fundamental characteristics of an EHR is the ability of authorized clinicians to create and manage health information in a digital format that can be shared with other physicians across multiple healthcare organizations.

EHRs incorporate data from all doctors involved in a patient’s care since they are designed to communicate information with other health care providers and organizations, such as laboratories, specialists, medical imaging facilities, pharmacies, emergency facilities, and school and workplace clinics.

FAQs

What is EMR

An electronic medical record (EMR) is a digital representation of all the data that would ordinarily be contained in a healthcare provider’s paper chart, including a patient’s medical history, diagnosis, prescriptions, immunization records, allergies, lab findings, and doctor’s notes.

What are the key functions of EMR?

Every day, the clinic staff processes payments and insurance claims, schedules appointments, shares information with other staff members, adds new patients, and updates and records patient data using the EMR system.

What are the 3 components of the EHR system?

Registration, admissions, discharge, and transfer (RADT) data make up the majority of an electronic health record.

References

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  3. Growth Investing Strategy: Step by Step Guide For Beginners (+Free Tips)
  4. The Playbook of Long-Term Stock Investing
  5. PAIN MANAGEMENT TOOLS: Guide to Chronic Pain Management & Assessment Tools
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