As a Healthcare Consultant it can be difficult to talk to physicians about failures, but discussing the reasons a project can fail can often lead to better management of a project when the opportunity arises. Evidence indicates that more than 40% of all EMR implementation projects fail. We’ve spoken to clients who wanted our help with choosing their third EMR system. That type of failure can cause a lot of frustration and cost your practice time and money.

We hear many healthcare administrators, physicians and supportive entities discussing meaningful use of an EMR and the incentives available for executing it in the appropriate timeframe. Forty-four thousand dollars is a lot of money to turn down, so there is an incentive to go after it.

Efficiency and quality are valuable benefits, so choosing the right EMR product and implementing it correctly can save you even more money than the incentive provides. On the other hand, a failed implementation can cost the practice unlimited amounts of money. If the practice is large and only half the providers and staff are successful, then you incur the cost of doing everything two different ways. And, the money you thought you would save in transcription cost and medical records is much less.

So, what’s happening? Physicians usually pick a product they would like to use in their practice and because they spend the money and set the timeline, everyone else thinks the project is underway…wrong. Physicians don’t always know how best to run a large project like EMR implementation. Specialists need more customization in their clinical templates, and they usually see more patients than a primary care physician, so a decrease in production will usually cause them to ditch a product quickly.

This kind of project needs a team approach and a dedicated project manager. It takes a lot of preparation, even for a small practice. Communication and planning sessions are crucial to develop the correct process. Identification of “super users” and champions are important, and evaluation of current workflow and technology is essential to a good start. Even choosing the correct product should contain much
discussion, checklists and assessment tools. It is important to spend more time planning in the beginning so implementation will be easier, which is the key to the physicians and staff staying positive and motivated. If you need help planning and implementing your EMR, Warren Averett can assist you.