The implementation of an Electronic Health Record program is often as much of an art as it is a science. While a thorough understanding of what technology can deliver is essential along with precise planning and gap analysis, you also need to augment basic planning and preparation with staffing alternatives that can assist you to create an implementation program that is a blend of flexibility, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Most healthcare providers tend to approach EHR implementation on their own believing that they are either capable of doing it with their own staff or because they are under the impression that engaging consultants is too expensive a proposition. However, this can often be an incorrect assessment, leading to delays in implementation, over-shooting budgets and poor implementation of quality.
Implementing EHR on Your Own? Think Again.
That you can implement the EHR program with your in-house staff usually proves to be a fallacious assumption because most healthcare providers do not really have an idea of the time and expertise that is required for a smooth and cost-effective implementation. Also the levels of staffing do not permit healthcare providers to allocate the resources that are really required. In fact, a 2014 survey reports that more than 90% of the participating healthcare providers faced issues in getting a full complement of staff. Compounding the effect of the staff shortage is an overestimation of the abilities and competence of the staff as generally internal personnel tend to lack the experience and expertise of EHR implementation that is brought to the table by external consultants. Electronic Healthcare Record consultants can easily assist in resolving common tasks like workflow customization and integration with common platform technologies.
How to Max Your EHR Staffing With Consultants
It is typically found that a majority of healthcare providers scale back the EHR implementation programs due to a shortage of staff. This delayed implementation usually leads to discontent and frustration by end-users, patient care-disruptions, reverting to manual processes, and worries about potential breaches of data security. EHR implementation delays can also prove to be costly due to the loss of the Federal Government incentives for attaining Meaningful Use standards and compromises in the efficiency of daily operations. One way of affording the expertise of meaningful use stage 2 consultants without having to burst your budget is to ask for flexibility in the allocation of consulting hours. This technique can keep the program ticking away without losing out on the effectiveness. Go ahead and buy time blocks from your consulting firm that you can use as you like during the implementation. This also enables the consultants to take on multiple clients and distribute their consulting hours in a balanced way, without requiring their clients to engage them fulltime. Learn more about sharing consultant resources by visiting Mesu Solutions.
Recruit Local Consultant to Save Money
Among the principal reasons why healthcare providers found engagement of consultants to be too expensive was the incidence of traveling and hospitality costs that are associated with consultants who are based elsewhere and need to come periodically to visit you. You can save as much as 20% of the costs by engaging local consultants and also charging them with the responsibility of screening the new hires for skill, competency and background checks that are mandatory for employment. If you can hire a consultant firm that will also handle some of the typical function of your human resources department and your information technology department, you can save a lot of expenses that would have otherwise taken a big bite out of your EHR implementation budget.
Train IT Talent That Has No Healthcare Exposure
As most healthcare providers have discovered, staffing options can be severely limited, if you are chasing only candidates that have experience in the healthcare sector. More than 70% of healthcare providers report that among the biggest obstacle in full staffing is the lack of adequately-qualified local candidates. One way of getting around this problem is to hire IT talents that have no prior exposure to healthcare, and give the EHR consultant the responsibility of creating appropriate training programs that will bring the IT experts up to speed with the proficiencies required in the healthcare sector. In fact, the robust training program could very well act to attract talent that will serve the healthcare provider good for extended periods.
Thus, you need to look beyond the obvious EHR program implementation skills from a consultant; identify those who possess proven skills in human resource, recruiting, onboarding, managing technological implementations and project management.
This guest post is courtesy of Jack Dawson.