The article For EHR Implementation, the Time to Act is Now by Frank Irving is a nice and short one on the benefits and difficulties of implementing an EHR system in a hospital environment in the US. The time and financial commitments for the implementation were well demonstrated. What grabbed my attention was the six steps to implement an EHR system. These six steps are:
- Assessing Infrastructure – An initial assessment of a hospital’s existing infrastructure and data is needed to determine its quantity, quality and age. Patient records must be up-to-date and consistent throughout the hospital prior to the transition to ensure a flawless switch.
- Defining future state – The future state of the hospital must be defined to answer the question: Which best practices need to be implemented for this particular hospital system?
- Conducting gap analysis – A gap analysis will define what will need to be upgraded to interface each system into the future state.
- Developing strategic plan – After the gap analysis to define the necessary system updates, the development of an overarching strategy is needed to close the gap.
- Building a business case – This business case must include the cost of the implementation, time needed for completion, long-term payback and any other advantages or disadvantages to be realized through the implementation.
- Implementation! – The longest and most challenging step is the implementation, which will involve implementing both the technical specifications of the envisioned system as well as the business process to enable the desired shift. This stage includes vendor analysis, hardware and software implementation, and building custom software for the institution. All the appropriate business processes need to be in place in order to convert to a new EHR system.