EPM and/or EMR Selection and Implementation: Understanding Needs and Readiness Assessments

EPM and/or EMR Selection and Implementation: Understanding Needs and Readiness Assessments

Successful EPM/EMR implementation has been a relatively slow process throughout the health care industry, and a 2013 survey carried out by NCHS showed that only 31.1% of the practices that responded had implemented a “multi-featured and fully functional” EMR system. Additionally, the survey results also indicated that only 13% of office-based physicians had EMR systems that could successfully support the Stage 2 requirements for Meaningful Use incentives.

These numbers show that proper EPM/EMR selection, structured clinic preparation and astute implementation processes are vital in creating a system that provides the necessary features and functions. However, successful implementation often requires changes in current clinical work-flow patterns and business operations. In order to minimize the impact of these changes on patient care, practices need to focus on in-depth analyses of both the current processes and how any required changes will affect the IT infrastructure as well as the provider, staff and patient work-flow patterns. The following information will provide an understanding of EPM/EMR Selection and Implementation: Needs and Readiness Assessment processes.

Successful EMR implementation combines strategic planning, leadership, vision, and guidance to promote staff involvement and organizational support. In order to determine whether a practice is ready to make the switch to a fully functional or certified EMR system, a full assessment of the organization’s readiness and needs is necessary. These assessments address several internal processes within a practice to determine which areas need to be focused on during implementation preparation to ensure a smooth transition.

Readiness Assessment

The readiness assessment focuses on the current state of the provider, technical, and patient workflow as well as education and training aspects to ensure that the practice is actually ready to make the transition at the anticipated Go-Live date. The assessment should focus on:

  • Financial capital
  • Administrative processes
  • Data collection and reporting processes
  • Clinical priorities and needs
  • Workflow efficiencies and anticipated changes with EMR
  • Analysis of current practice patterns and provider templates and changes necessary to move to EMR
  • Analysis of current staffing quality and quantity
  • Analysis of current instrumentation and its ability to integrate with an EMR system
  • Staff ability and understanding of information technology
  • Current internet connectivity
  • Other practice specific requirements

Once the readiness assessment is completed, it provides an overview of key areas that need enhancement and/or development within the practice. This information will be used to promote further information and education strategies to ensure the practice is fully prepared for the EPM/EMR implementation process.

 Needs Assessment

An EPM/EMR needs assessment is used to identify the functionality and feature requirements needed for an EMR system. This assessment analyzes the current IT infrastructure, equipment and processes to determine the needs and goals of the EMR system in order to maintain and/or improve business operations, clinical work-flow and patient care. The needs assessment should include, but not be limited to:

  • Identify short and long term objectives of the practice and EMR goals including: current daily patient load and desired patient load and current staffing levels versus planned staffing levels
  • Analysis of current work flow
  • Identify selected EHR/EMR system requirements
  • Analysis of existing IT infrastructure
  • Analysis of existing or planned diagnostic equipment
  • Analysis of available skill sets and resources
  • Analysis of facilities capacity, access and security

A comprehensive needs assessment will provide the information needed to begin the EPM/EMR selection process by narrowing down what the practice needs from a potential EMR system.

The combined results of the readiness and needs assessments allows practices to determine the best course of action for selecting and implementing a fully functional or certified EMR system that meets meaningful use requirements. If you would like to learn how Advantage Administration, Inc. can help with your EPM/EMR selection and implementation or needs and readiness assessments, contact us for more information.