Implementing EMR: Strategies For Evaluating Change
The decision to introduce Electronic medical Records within any health facility is a positive move towards the establishing an efficient institution that will be as par the constantly dynamic and changing technological world. It is important for the health institution to embrace new technological ways such as the implementation of EMR so as to ensure that they are able to offer quality services and enhance their productivity and overall output.
Implementing the change implies introducing the change gradually while monitoring it to ensure that it is well accepted by the employees as well integrated into the daily running of the health facility. If the change is well accepted by the employees the integration will run smoothly and in a short duration of time the EMR systems will be fully operational in the organization. Adoption of EMR will have a positive effect on the institution and the ability to access crucial health records within the shortest time possible (Murray, 2002). This will in turn lead to the ability to offer faster and better services with a reduced occurrence of errors and delayed provision of services.
In any organization/institution any change that is implemented in the organization is expected to result to positive outcomes. However there are three possible outcomes that can come about as a result of implementation of a change. First, change may result to significant improvement in the organizations operations as well as the provision of goods and services. In the adoption of EMR in a health facility for instance, the implementation of the technological systems will lead to faster services provision as the medical practitioners can access any health records at the shortest time possible (National Resource Centre, 2008). This will in turn hasten the services provision at the health facility. The second outcome may result to a change that is neither a significant decline nor improvement.
In this situation the change that was adopted had no significant impact. In the adoption of EMR, the occurrence of no significant change may be experienced if the employees are still unwilling to adapt to the new technological ways and have still maintained to the old ways of manually recording documents and data. The end result will be that the implementation of EMR will not be experienced. The third outcome is that the health institution may instead notice a significant decline in their service. This may occur once the EMR is implemented and the employees reject the new change (Chouinard, 2008). This would occur if the change was forcefully introduced in the institution and the employees were not involved in the implementation process. Rejection of the new technology is the outcome of the change and the end result is the withdrawal of the process.
Naturally, a health institution implementing the technology of EMR within it institution expects to have positive outcomes as result of the new implementation. Change evaluation is therefore important so as to evaluate the outcome of the implementation. The outcome of the implementation should tally with the overall organizational objective.
The goal of adoption of EMR in an institution is to allow easier sharing of data and health records, ensure the safe keeping of data that is confidential and increase efficiency by ensuring that data can be accessed by more than one person at the same time (National Resource Centre, 2008). The implementation of EMR is a digitization process that will ease the retrieval process, transmission of data as well as making the management of health documents and records easier. Once the EMR technology has been implemented constant monitoring is advised to ensure that the new technology is well integrated into the daily operations of the health institution.
Monitoring involves assessing the employees that had been affected by the change to determine how well they have adapted to the change. In the case of EMR implementation in the health facility, the employees will be closely monitored on their ability to adapt to the new technology as they slowly abandon the old methods of manual data storage (Hsu, Rundall, & Scott, 2007). Employees will have had to be trained on the new technology and its application in the health facility. With proper training they will have been able to grasp and operate the EMR without a problem therefore enhancing the service provision of the institution.
Change evaluation will also involve monitoring the overall productivity of the health facility. With the main goal as improving efficiency and overall service production, the implementation of the technology will entail monitoring whether the overall productivity and the ability of the health facility to offer better health care services has been achieved. The success of the implementation will be determined by how receptive the employees were towards the change. If positive and welcomed the productivity and efficiency of services production at the health facility will improve significantly with the introduction of EMR.
Implementation and use of EMR in health facilities should automatically lead to improved quality of service provision. For instance the health practitioners should be faster in their services provision due to the ease with which they can access the medical records of the patients. Faster services such as billing of patients should also be noticed. The occurrence of mis-diagnosis which results to wrong treatment of the patient should also be significantly reduced as the health practitioner will have access to all the medical records of all the patients he or she is dealing with.
Developing an effective outcome measurement strategy for measuring the outcome of the implementation of EMR in the health institution is essential in determining the success or the failure of the implementation. The first step involves measuring what can be measured. In the health facility, the immediate effect that will be realized with the complete implementation of EMR is efficiency as the manual entering and storage of data will be eliminated. This will be vital in enhancing the provision of health services to patients.
Measuring the performance of EMR should also be a joint task involving the employees of the various departments that have been affected by the change (Murray, 2002). Since the employees that have been assigned to these departments will have hands- on experience of operating using the EMR, they will be in a position to clearly indicate whether the technology is appropriate and relevant in aiding the health facility to achieve its goals and objectives. The employees that were spending a lot of time manually entering, storing and retrieving health records should have noticed a significant change in their workload (Tierney, & Overhage, 1997).
Measuring of EMR Performance
Electronic Medical Records are expected to improve the quality of medical care as well as reduced cost of provision and receiving of medical care to patients. Having implemented the EMR, the health facility should notice a significant improvement in their service provision. One method of cost measurements will involve the use of Activity based costing method. Using this method each department will be allocated a cost report in which they will indicate the cost of care per patients after implementing EMR. Hospital quality indicators will also be used to access the changes in the quality of health provision within the health facility (Tierney, & Overhage, 1997). The health indicators will demonstrate the measurable changes in quality of health provision before and after the implementation of EMR.
In adopting EMR in health facilities it has been proven that there is increased customer satisfaction due to the implementation of faster and friendlier patient administration methods. The patients are also able to have their billing and payment methods done faster than before. Customer satisfaction can be measured through an analysis of the number of patients that have been attended to since the implementation of EMR and compare it to figures before the implementation (Tierney, & Overhage, 1997).
Customer satisfaction can also be analyzed through random interviews on the patients and their next of kin on the efficiency of service provision before and after the implementation of EMR. Employee satisfaction can also be measured through performance assessments before and after the implementation of EMR. It is expected that with the implementation of the new technology the employee morale will be increased and subsequently their productivity will also improve implying that they are satisfied with the implementation and the use of EMR in performing their duties and responsibilities (Chouinard, 2008).
Chouinard, S. (2008). Improving patient Health outcomes at primary care systems. Community Health network
Hsu, J. , Rundall, M. & Scott, T. (2007). Implementing an electronic medical record system: successes, failures, lessons; Radcliffe Publishing
Murray, M. (2002). Critical care medicine. Lippincott Willimas & Wilkins
National Resource Centre, (2008). Developing your outcome strategy. Retrieved on 30th July from http://www.ccfbest.org/outcomemeasurements/tentipsfordeveloping.htm
Tierney, W. & Overhage, J. (1997). Demonstrating the effects of an IAIMS on health care. Retrieved on 30th July 2011 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC61490/