As the American healthcare industry moves decidedly in the direction of electronic recordkeeping, the need for robust, up-to-date health information technology systems is becoming a more urgent priority. For medical facilities long accustomed to working with older, outdated systems, this transformation promises many improvements, but a change of this sort is not without its challenges.
In order to ensure the successful implementation of a new HIT system, medical facilities need to employ some effective planning strategies. Here’s a look at some of the keys to a winning approach:
- Adapt workflow according to goals: Understanding the goals of new system implementation—such as delivering information faster, more accurately and with greater consistency—is crucial to its overall success. In order to deliver on those goals, employee workflow needs to be adapted to incorporate the new technology as intended. Making clear the purpose of workflow adaptations will also help employees invest in the process of implementation.
- Define roles: From system design and setup to employee training, every stage of implementation requires that those involved take on clearly defined roles. This will aid in the process by outlining responsibilities and clarifying who does what, and when, thus better ensuring smooth system implementation. Having defined roles also improves the conditions for management and oversight of various elements of the project.
- Focus on effective communication: With so many people and so many components involved in HIT system implementation, the need for strong, clear and consistent communication cannot be emphasized enough. If managers and supervisors understand what’s happening, when it’s happening and why, they can more effectively communicate this information to their teams. Avoiding confusion and miscommunication can prevent delays and mishaps from occurring and make the process smoother for everyone.
- Commit to ongoing training and continued improvement: An IT system is a complex beast, and over time, as modifications and updates are made, the need for continued communication regarding changes doesn’t go away. For this reason, facilities should commit to providing their employees with regular training as new systems are integrated and as new procedures and options become available.
No healthcare IT system implementation is destined to proceed without difficulty, and oftentimes setbacks will occur unexpectedly. But with a good plan in place, and with cooperation and engagement from those involved every step of the way, any implementation is more likely to succeed.
About Howell Consulting Group
Howell Consulting Group provides healthcare consulting services to hospital and physician practices nationwide. Our key focus areas are revenue cycle management, health information technology, and revenue cycle billing and collections.
HCGs consultants are highly experienced in all aspects of healthcare financial management. We implement revenue cycle best practices to optimize your receivables performance and maximize your cash flow.
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