Making the Case for Physicians as Part of the EHR Project Team

Quotes imageBy Lisa Laravie, Hayes Management Consulting
Twitter: @HayesManagement

Electronic health record (EHR) implementation is undoubtedly complex. With so many factors,departments, and workflows to consider, it’s no wonder so many organizations are reaching out for help. With more providers adopting EHR’s, the process of implementation has been evolving as we figure out best practices and lessons learned. How are you going to ensure the success of your EHR implementation? One suggestion is to optimize your resources by leveraging your physicians and integrating them into the project team as much as possible.

In the last decade, implementation of the EMR has evolved in many ways. Traditionally, a project team is identified, and builders of the system have ranged from non-clinical (IT staff) and clinicians (Nursing, Pharmacy, and Ancillary). These build teams are trained in the art of building the organization’s custom workflows into a model system based on the identified needs from the Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).

In the past few years, however, physicians are being recognized as an integral part of the build, and in some cases, they train and obtain certification for active participation in the build. Rather than settling for feedback from physicians and having the project team translate their specific needs, some organizations are recognizing that incorporating physician builders into the framework of their project teams can add tremendous value and increase end user satisfaction.

Engaging physicians or mid-level providers as part of your project team allows for leveraging clinical expertise with technical know-how. This will result in a more custom system that fits their workflows. They have a unique perspective of the challenges that come with utilizing the EHR when providing the care for their patients. As natural problem solvers, with the knowledge to build and customize, they can support that care. Conversely, if physicians have the ability to build but are not “part of the team” in every aspect, this can undermine the success of the project and lead to miscommunication and decreased value and quality control.

In the course of many projects over the years, I have found that many project teams have difficulty adjusting to the idea that a physician can be an integral part of the team as non-clinicians can have reservations about working directly with the physicians. Team members have to be able to see the physician builder as a “go-to” person and an invaluable resource that will help to make their project a success. Clinically-oriented team members have a better feel for the relationship with physicians, and are usually better equipped to incorporate physicians into their team.

As part of the clinical team, teamwork in patient care is a necessity. No matter how your project team is organized and operates, include your physician builders. They can and will be a huge asset to the overall success of your project.

This article was originally published in Hayes’ Healthcare Blog and is republished here with permission.