Managing Change in EMR Implementation

When your medical practice makes the transition to an electronic medical record (EMR), which is inevitable, careful planning can help the change go smoothly—and careful planning, in the context of EMR implementation, can be referred to as “change management”.

Change management consists of up-front assessment and planning—but there’s much more involved than simply creating a project plan for your new IT implementation. You’ll need to select the appropriate technology, choose your implementation team carefully, and assign responsibilities. Change management also involves looking at your existing processes and determining what’s working and what’s not.

The reason: You don’t want to carry forward ineffective processes. If a prescription-related workflow is ineffective when handled manually, for example, it isn’t going to become effective when handled electronically—and the transition to an EMR, which is supposed to make your practice more efficient, is the perfect time to address such problems.

If not managed properly, the transition to an EMR can exact a high price on a medical practice. Careful consideration of implementation issues as well as process issues in advance will facilitate effective change management. And that, in turn, will help you minimize the overall impact of change on your practice—decreasing disruptions and reducing costs.

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