Prior to the recent surge in EHR installations, the figure most often quoted for EHR system failed installations was 20%. It should be noted that figure covered a period when systems were much less useful and user-friendly than today, but many of the issues that contributed to failed installations are still around to snare the unwary or unprepared.
If you’re thinking about acquiring an EHR system, you’re probably focusing on the benefits you expect to realize, and how much it will cost. But I invite you to spend a few minutes focusing on some of the pitfalls that have befallen your predecessors, and learn from their experiences.
EHR failure usually involves one or more of these four issues:
- Technical EHR implementation failures, where the wrong hardware/software combination was installed, or where there were issues with wireless connectivity;
- Financial failures, where the expected EHR ROI wasn’t realized, or the costs were significantly more than expected;
- Software incompatibility issues, where the EHR system didn’t interface with an existing medical practice management system; and
- People-related issues, where some physicians or staff members avoid training or simply refuse to use the EHR system. This can leave a medical practice with the worst of both worlds: paper charts for some physicians and patients, and electronic records for others.
Can you guess which of these four is the most important – and hardest to deal with?
With the stakes raised by the possibility of incentive payments for achieving meaningful use – and the looming disincentive payments for not reaching that goal – failed installations are simply unacceptable.
So what do you do? I’ll help answer that question in my next post. So stay tuned …