Preparing for Your Behavioral Health Agency’s EHR Implementation: What You Need to Do to Be Ready

By January 6, 2017

In order for your organization to achieve EHR meaningful use and to initiate new models of care, you’ll need to change how clinicians and staff do their work. Managing this part of the process is called change management, and a lot of research has gone into its study and how to achieve success.

Your behavioral health EHR system is subject to failure if you don’t first deal with the changes in how people and your organization work. Because change creates uncertainty, you need to create a culture of change that helps people realize and face their fear of loss and their resistance to change.

When you help your staff and clinicians believe that the changes brought about by an EHR implementation are not only in their best interest, but are the best way to provide excellent client care, you’ll position the implementation to be successful.

How do you create a culture of change?

Here are the key areas you need to focus on to help people understand and accept the need for new models of care when implementing an EHR solution, which also helps your organization attain EHR meaningful use:

  • All employee involvement. Your staff and clinicians must all be involved in the process of examining the policies, procedures, and workflows that govern how you do business. This is how you gain buy-in to make the changes necessary to implement your new EHR system.
  • Designate a leadership team. A team comprised of management and staff should champion the changes to come. They will need to be in close communication with staff and clinicians to ensure everyone is on board with the changes happening and help them acclimate to the new way of doing business.
  • Changes implemented by staff. Changes to your workflows and business model can’t be made in a vacuum. The staff should be the ones to implement necessary changes because they are the experts who can understand what needs to happen to move the practice forward.
  • Run a pilot program. The leadership team can run a pilot test of the workflow changes and listen to the staff recommendations for adjustments. Your staff will know the best solutions to help you properly implement an EHR system.
  • Recognize innovative solutions. Rewards and affirmations should be made when someone comes up with an innovative way of making changes that moves your practice towards a successful implementation and attaining EHR meaningful use. Also encourage and reward efforts at continuous quality improvements so that a culture of change is the new norm.

Manage the internal and external forces at work.

Whether you’re implementing a first-time EHR system or switching to a fully integrated EHR solution, you’ll need to manage the internal and external forces at work to achieve success.

Internal forces are those that drive your practice and staff to provide better client care and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operations.

External forces might be the need to meet state and federal regulations or the need to grow your practice to accommodate new clients.

Use your new EHR solution to manage both the external forces and internal forces that are creating a culture of change. Technology and the right change management plan can help you make the changes needed to implement your new EHR platform and attain meaningful use.

Where to Get More Information

Remarkable Health created a new resource for organizations just like yours to guide you through planning, researching, evaluating, and selecting the best vendor with an EHR solution that meets your client care and operational needs.

You can download this important resource, titled Switching EHR Systems? How to Choose the Right EHR Provider, for free here.