Healthcare organizations across the nation are searching for the best solutions and staff to make transitioning to the EMR mandate as seamless as possible. In each facility, the process will differ. In some healthcare settings, simply updating software and improving infrastructure will be necessary. In other organizations, more powerful software, new hardware and trained employees will be needed to improve electronic medical record keeping across large organizational divisions.
The Unique Realities of Different Healthcare Facilities
No two healthcare settings may have the same needs, therefore it may be helpful for healthcare leaders to borrow from the field of project management in order to harness the reigns over their efforts to lead organizations through this major shift in healthcare protocol. In an organization of any size, it will be necessary to have stakeholders on board and to establish clear communication throughout the project. At a time when most professionals are working close to capacity, it is imperative that healthcare managers communicate clearly ahead of time about increased workload, training and any other changes that will occur.
Planning for Success
The field of project management puts forth several guidelines for rolling out a successful project. Some of those guidelines that are most important to keep in mind for current healthcare leaders include:
1. Create a comprehensive overview and allocate resources appropriately
Projects run smoother when all parties know what to expect and the progress is logical. Training is a good example. While software and hardware is being indentified and adapted, it may be a good time to assess which employees are best suited for additional training to be team leaders during the roll out phase of the project. Developing leadership from within an organization is a great way to bolster team confidence and trust in the project.
2. Create a timetable that is achievable and then set talent in place
Spending time planning a schedule and outline of the project can help healthcare managers lead teams and use resources more effectively. Brining in consultants at the right time and being sure that hardware and software is ready before trainers are hired can be a challenge when unexpected delays arise. Creating a timetable that allows for some flexibility can help managers bring about a more effective outcome. A timetable is all about pacing the project for maximum efficiency. At the same time, change takes time and the process may help employees feel rejuvenated and more motivated.
3. Measure progress, adjust and proceed
Setting up strong communication channels at the beginning of the project can help maintain a good pace throughout the duration of the project. Setting benchmarks, giving teams constructive feedback, adjusting goals when necessary and proceeding forward happens organically when communication lines between workers, managers and top level executives is clear and unbroken.
4. Coordinate goals and expectations that make sense to each constituent.
The shift to electronic medical records affects different groups within the organization in varying ways. The goals, communication, training and expectations should fit the group being addressed. Coordinating a change of this magnitude will involve addressing various healthcare teams such as electronic medical record developers, various project managers, contracted programmers, trainers, doctors, nurses, volunteers, chief medical officers and other top-tier managers as well as, eventually, the patients. The messages given to each group needs to be useful, positive and engaging in order to ensure a spirit of cooperation.