HIT Exchange

January/February 2012

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HITEXCHANGEMEDIA.COM of the software to the related functional aspects of the user's care process." IT professionals stress the importance of a team-oriented approach to the planning and implementation processes. This requires skilled managers with the talent to gain agree- ment on the fundamentals and run the projects, but who also have the aptitude to work in complex situations—and deal with doctors. "The way that healthcare seems most frequently to grant trust is by seniority rather than by relevant experience and aptitude," says Colin Shaw of R&R Solutions, "(which) often leads to a lack of vision and the wrong people driving the decisions." When this happens, it doesn't matter how accurately the vendor has translated workflows into the technology. End users also will need to see the vision and understand the value to their jobs, the organization and the patient. Shaw contends healthcare is too often reactive and in a race "to fix what's wrong, not instituting infrastructure to fix it." This usually results in a piecemeal approach to system- building, especially in smaller facilities when funding is an issue. An "absence of synergies between the pieces" means that any value is eaten up by inconsistency between systems. Yet these aren't so much technology failures as they are human errors, says Christopher Holte, a freelance IT professional. "Bad requirements come from poor policy, which arise from management issues that are created by not listening to stakeholders," he says. "We should have the flexibility and imagination to fix problems, not blame. … The EHR and EMR are godsends when actually used, (but) it is management that is failing to use them the way they should be." From his recent experience on the patient side, Holte says he witnessed occasions where a hospital had zero-communication between departments. In those instances, Holte says, "believe me—I wasn't thinking the EHR or EMR had failed." IMPLEMENTING A SYSTEM THAT WORKS There is no one-size-fits-all comprehensive turnkey approach for implementation of an EMR/EHR system, because each scenario is truly unique. However, the 10 items below—blended from conversations and feedback with healthcare IT professionals— can help make EHRs and EMRs work better for the users. They also will easily apply to any technology implementation in healthcare environments: Address the culture of the organization (both providers and vendors), and determine if it is based upon truly engaging stakeholders and execution Establish shared goals and common vision among stakeholders Expect that leaders, planners and implementers ask the right questions of the right people and listen Understand both the art and science to EMR/EHR planning, which requires full commitment to deployment and moving through implementation expeditiously Recognize the value of having a plan and tools in place to continually improve user knowledge and skills Address the language barriers across disciplines and ensure effective communications Establish common language between vendors and providers Align administrative, IT and clinical goals and build trust and effective working relationships between the disciplines Ensure that the tools ultimately allow doctors to doctor, and nurses to nurse Always keep the patient in focus! "The EHR and EMR are godsends when actually used, (but) it is MANAGEMENT that is failing to use them the way they should be." CHRISTOPHER HOLTE, IT PROFESSIONAL 39 | HIT EXCHANGE Healthcare Business + Technology JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2012

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