Implementing a new EHR software can be daunting, especially if your practice is currently using paper documentation. An EHR solution can save you time and money and provide better security of confidential and sensitive records. With over 20 years’ experience in the industry, Criterions has learned a few best practices from our clients for converting from paper documentation to EHR:
Develop a Plan of Action
As with any big decision, it is important to develop a plan of action well in advance of implementation. Some important items to consider when converting from paper to EHR include:
• Timeline of the transition
• The key staff involved with this transition and what their responsibilities are
• The best methods of converting information to the EHR for your practice
• Workflows post-implementation
• How historical patient information should be available for patient visits during and after the transition
• What to do with old paper files
Train Your Team
After you have a strategy in place, you should inform the rest of your team of the plan, timeline, and benefits that the new software will provide for your practice. When looking for an EHR provider, make sure that they offer training and resources to help your team learn the software. Provide thorough training for clinicians, administrative staff, and any other personnel who will use the new system often.
Work from the Schedule
When it comes time to convert your existing paper documentation to the software, do not scan patients in alphabetical order. Some patients may never come back to the office. Best practice is to work from the schedule, scanning patient charts ahead of upcoming appointments.
Adjust the Workflow
While it is important to have a well thought out plan, it is important to remember that you can deviate from the plan. You should adjust the workflow as needed to ensure a smoother transition. Be patient and flexible with your staff as they learn a new system with new workflows.
Eliminate Paper Records After Implementation
If you receive any paper documentation such as consults, labs, or referrals, do not file it in a paper chart and wait for patient to come in. Scan the entire chart so that all new paper goes into the process of electronic storage.
Work with Your Provider
When choosing your EHR software, be sure to ask about ways you can modify your software if necessary. When researching an EHR provider, be sure to inquire about how you can adjust the software to fit your needs and make sure you are not locked down to one configuration. For more on this topic, check out our blog post The Right EHR Software for Today Grows with You Tomorrow.