Staff members of physician practices have varying responses to organizational and process change. Some will adjust quickly, others will assume a wait and see attitude, and some may passively (or even actively) resist the move to an EHR. This is why communicating an EHR implementation plan is crucial. To this point, the staff must also be dynamically involved in the integration so that they feel that they have direct input and will eventually come to actively support it. Therefore, by explaining the new processes and identifying the benefits of these changes, each staff member will gain a sense of ownership in their part of the EHR implementation process.
An EHR adoption, like any other IT integration project, will change the job scope and responsibilities of all staff in the practice. This may result in some employees becoming territorial or retreating into a mode of pre-EHR activities; ultimately handing off accountability to someone else. In anticipation of this, EHR implementers need to communicate and receive feedback from every impacted staff member, so they understand and take personal possession of any changes in their job scope and responsibilities.
Processes to Facilitate Change
Both clinical and non-clinical staff may become sensitive to change when they do not perceive any personal or professional advantage to making a change. Physician practices should have an over-arching plan of action to facilitate all aspects of organizational change around EHR adoption:
Create process teams
Create process teams within the staff to define the new workflow processes. These teams will get the rest of the staff involved and help to educate them as the practice prepares to adopt an EHR. These teams should meet at well-defined intervals on a regular and consistent basis.
Communicate the logic for EHR adoption
Explain all the benefits of EHR adoption, how each member of the staff will benefit, and how the patients will ultimately benefit by improved quality of care. Be careful to avoid the, “because we said so” or “it’s a government mandate” statements. While this may be true in some instances, it does dot capture the true spirit of EHR adoption.
Define measurable success factors
Clearly state what the critical success factors are surrounding the new EHR workflows and processes and follow this with a reporting system to evaluate success and improve the processes once the EHR has been fully deployed.
Clearly communicate results
Establish a communication plan to communicate the definition of success. These communications should happen frequently at pre-defined intervals on a regular basis. Be certain to include all successes (as well as areas for opportunity) in these communications. Nothing aligns people faster than gaining success, even if they are initially small accomplishments.