The process of adopting Electronic Health Record software, (“EHR") for a dialysis facility is not a simple proposition. In our experience at GAIA Software, the most difficult issue is the area of cultural adoption which plays a critical role in successfully implementing an EHR.
Dialysis industry trends and government regulations change so quickly it’s difficult for any company to successfully navigate them accurately and completely without a few bumps in the road. From a technical perspective, it’s necessary to find a software provider whose technology platform is modern, flexible, and capable of growing with the industry and your needs.
The cultural adoption of a paperless workplace, like GAIA’s dialysis specific EHR software, is an entirely different process. You can select the perfect software package, have all of the necessary computer hardware in place, and have the entire system running smoothly, but if the staff is not open to the change, the capability of the technology you’ve selected will be irrelevant. Change is not easy. It requires tolerance and willingness to meet issues head on. The entire organization must welcome a changing perspective.
There are a few key elements to be mindful of while considering the change to electronic records.
Change is not an option anymore. The entire staff must appreciate that the change to electronic record storage is a must for the facility. With the advancement in technology and the inherent issues with paper charting it’s an absolute necessity.
- Careful implementation management is critical. When selecting a software company, it is important they have a clear vision on how to implement their product in your facility - complete from set-up options, through to daily user interaction. They must be experts at installing and training on their EHR and outline the complete cycle for implementation. You will need answers to several questions in advance. Can they give you a detailed project-based timeline? Do they have a specific plan for training key staff members from all disciplines? How will support issues be handled? Knowing these answers in advance will help ease the transition.
- Leadership adoption and ongoing involvement is essential. Training all facility staff is important, but the crucial area that must be addressed is training for managers also known as your superusers. They must become experts on the software. The level of cultural adoption by a facility is predicated upon these key users becoming go-to individuals when help is needed. The more questions that can be answered by a trusted individual from within your facility, the higher the likelihood the changes will be accepted by the staff as a whole. Managing concerns and the dissemination of information by management signals your commitment to your staff.
We at GAIA know dialysis facilities are complex by nature. Software solutions that fully encompass both staff and patient needs, as well as requirements of the ever-changing industry, are not going to be simple to implement. However, with proper planning and a thorough understanding of the extensiveness of change required, the adjustment to electronic record keeping can be accomplished with a smooth transition. Finding a company that pro-actively works with you to resolve issues and will provide ongoing updates and training to your management team on their new developments is a key factor in any facility successfully adopting an EHR.
To learn more about what to expect during the transition to a new EHR system take a look at our EHR Transition Guide.