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Jun 7, 2016 6:00:00 AM · by Dave Wolfe

How to Plan for Possible Cerner Implementation Issues

Cerner is a leading EHR provider, and is trusted by more than 27,000 facilities worldwide. However, even with a solution this well-tested, there are always possibilities for problems before, during, and after implementation.

Many of these issues are well-documented, and can be planned for during the pre-implementation process. Careful planning is a necessary step for any successful large-scale software implementation, and Cerner is no exception.

Here are a few key things to watch out for:

Interoperability with Current Systems

Your organization may have made the decision to switch to Cerner because you were unhappy with your current EHR system. You might be looking forward to a bright future with your new software, and you might be excited to finally put your legacy system to bed.

However, rolling out a solution like Cerner will take some time. During the lead-up to a complete rollout, there will be a period when your previous system and Cerner will need to be maintained simultaneously. In addition, you may have other legacy solutions that need to be integrated with Cerner’s EHR software.

[Guide: Five Things to Know About a Cerner Implementation]

Because of this significant lead-up period, ignoring the old in favor of the new can cause major issues. While you’re planning an implementation, make sure interoperability with current systems is a top priority. With enough time and resources, informatics professionals can make your disparate systems play nicely together, until the time comes when you can completely transition to Cerner.

Lapses in Coverage

Because of the large scale of some healthcare organizations, it would be nearly impossible to switch over every facility’s EHR systems at once. For this reason, many Cerner implementations happen in phases, with certain facilities switching over to the new system before others.

If your implementation is following a phased rollout plan, it’s important to look out for potential issues that can arise as software becomes staggered across your organization. The key thing to avoid is a loss of data access. For example, if one facility has upgraded, and needs to access data from a facility that’s still on the legacy system, will they be able to do so easily?

Inflexibility for Future Changes

While some potential issues involved in implementing Cerner are focused on the past (integration with legacy systems) or the present (dealing with a phased launch), it’s also vital for your implementation team to look to the future.

One of the key benefits of Cerner’s EHR solution is the ability to customize it as the needs of your organization change. Two, five, or 10 years down the line, you might need to make major changes to your system to accommodate new developments. Therefore, it’s important to avoid making your EHR system too rigid and inflexible.

One way to avoid this issue is to hire an implementation team with the skills and experience necessary to follow best practices for Cerner implementation. Experts who have worked with the software before are much more likely to do things by-the-book, preserving the ability for future teams to adjust the system as needed. By contrast, relying on informatics professionals without Cerner experience can result in a more improvised implementation, leading to potential knowledge-loss issues when it’s time for a change.

There are many other issues that might come up during a Cerner implementation, but doing your research, preparing carefully, and choosing the right team can help you keep these problems to a minimum.

In the process of converting to Cerner? Download our guide that details 5 things you need to know.

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