Blogging about EHRs from a social service perspective
A recent conversation with a colleague reminded me of this article posted a few weeks ago. Many people ask me about the time frame to implement an electronic health record. While most EHR websites indicate “up and running” in as little as three months (typically a year), when talking to my colleagues I point out two things: a) define “up and running” and b) how much and what kind of staff are committed to the project.
In the VA case, my first thought was whether the implementation team considered the type of agency in their approach. Each VA runs differently, and as a whole the organization has made much improvements. However, it’s still a government and not a corporate entity. It didn’t surprise me that several VAs were unsure how many computer systems they needed and failed to test their hardware appropriately. Was the implementation team surprised by this?
The article also talked about the implementation team finding resistance from the clinical staff but does not say whether this was anticipated. Even with the best planning and training provided, resistance from staff is unavoidable. The question is always when it becomes a “performance issue,” vs. part of the implementation process. Either way, this kind of issue is not resolved in “as little as three months.”
In this case, technically the system was “up and running” fairly quickly. However, there are always bumps in the road, new hardware, software considerations, maintenance issues etc.. In addition, the business changes daily requiring changes to the EHR. Implementation doesn’t have an end date. It is an ongoing process.