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Dec 4, 2017 7:00:00 AM · by David Kushan

How to Track and Measure Success During an EHR System Transition

Locating the right consultant for the job is an important first step in ensuring your healthcare IT project or EHR transition comes off without a hitch. However, finding the right consultant is just that: the first step.

Once you’ve hired a consultant and they’ve set about working on your system conversion, you need to make sure they are achieving the goals and objectives required to keep your upgrade on track and more importantly, on budget.

EHR conversions and Healthcare IT in general, involve highly nuanced, multi-faceted processes. Success or failure in regards to a healthcare IT upgrade, can be difficult to quantify. So even if you’ve taken all the recommended steps in terms of identifying and retaining the right consultant for your upgrade, how exactly do you track and measure success?

Define Success in Advance

When undertaking any kind of healthcare IT transition, it’s important to have a plan in place from the beginning. According to Molly Merrill of Healthcare IT News, having a plan in place can be seen as having the “right people, right processes, right change management and right technology.”

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Having all those elements in place at the outset can go a long way towards defining what success looks like and ensuring you achieve it. But even if you have all your ducks in a row, it can be difficult to know whether you’re achieving that success. That’s why as part of your plan, it’s a good idea to outline a clear definition of what exactly constitutes success.

Ultimately, success is about making the move from paper to electronic records. However, in practice, it’s also about doing it on schedule and more importantly, on budget. Often the two are interrelated.

Track Progress to Stay on Track

Once you’ve defined the parameters of what success looks like, you’ll need to track the progress of your project to make sure your project stays on track. You can do this by establishing milestones and goals. These can be laid-out in a schedule as part of your initial planning.

Examples of specific goals or milestones you might lay out to track your success include:

If you’re hitting the milestones you’ve laid out in the timeframe you established in your initial planning, there’s a good chance you’re on the right track. By making use of data analysis, you can further ensure that not only are you meeting your goals in terms of hitting your milestones, but that your efforts are having the desired results.

Be Realistic

There’s an old saying: fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Careful preparation at the outset is key to achieving a successful EHR conversion. However, it’s also important to set realistic expectations and a manageable timeline. Yes, you want things handled expediently and in a manner that ensures you stay on-budget.

But it’s also important to be realistic. Remember that in the long-term, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Or as Paul Kleeberg, MD, clinical director for the Minnesota and North Dakota Regional Extension Assistance Center for HIT puts it, “practices need to go slow to go fast.”

Success is a Journey

And remember, success is a journey rather than a destination. You are undoubtedly eager to implement EHR and move your practice forward electronically. However implementing EHR is really just another milestone, albeit a big one.

Once implementation is complete, practices need to continue to track how providers and staff use the new system. By continuing to track and measure usage and results, you can ensure that your successful EHR implementation will carry-over into continued success down the road.

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