EHR Implementation Strategy: Top 5 Reasons Organizations Leverage Consultants
May 13, 2021 / Christopher S. Garner
If you’re an IT manager or executive, you’ve probably been witness to an IT project that either failed to meet financial objectives or required some kind of serious adjustment post-implementation. In fact, reports indicate that up to 25 percent of IT projects fail outright, while up to 50 percent require significant material reworking and 20 to 25 percent don’t provide ROI. This struggle becomes even more pronounced in the healthcare sector, which is home to even higher rates of failure concerning projects that entail the implementation and optimization of EHR technology. But some healthcare organizations have found a practical solution to increase their likelihood of success in the EHR consultant.
EHR consultants may be hired to provide strategic guidance at any stage of EHR implementation, but they may also be employed to reduce risks associated with technical EHR challenges, such as application building, EHR conversion, and legacy data management.
What is an EHR Consultant, and what do they do?
An EHR consultant is an IT professional who assists healthcare organizations in the planning, designing, and implementation of EHR systems. This can include providing support for anything from new system implementation to current system optimization and training. EHR consultants may be hired to provide strategic guidance at any stage of EHR implementation, but they may also be employed to reduce risks associated with technical EHR challenges, such as application building, EHR conversion, and legacy data management. Ultimately, EHR consultants use their specialized expertise and skills to ensure healthcare organizations succeed in the adoption and use of EHR technology.
But what specific benefits are there to hiring consultants, and what value do they add to organizations attempting to implement new EHR systems? Here’s a list of the top 5 reasons why healthcare organizations choose to incorporate consultants in their implementation strategy.
1. To Capitalize on Best Practices
As with any large scale IT project, EHR implementation entails risk, and having a detailed strategy and plan is the best way to avoid those risks and meet business goals. EHR consultants help organizations save time and reduce risk by providing a proven framework for project success – one that has already been implemented and demonstrated effectiveness. Thus, rather than attempt to reinvent the wheel themselves, many organizations can and do choose to capitalize on the experiences of those who’ve overcome the many challenges of new system implementation before (and have the mapped method to prove it).
2. To Supplement IT Staff
It’s not uncommon for hospital IT teams to be tied up with the daily tasks that keep business running. And that’s why many turn to consultants for additional support. Hiring EHR consultants helps supply the specialized and technically skilled personnel required during implementation, without needing to hire full-time employees. This saves organizations money in the long run, since consultants are typically temporary hires, but it also prevents an organization’s IT staff from becoming overburdened and ensures the project won’t derail daily operations.
3. To Support Change Management
Inevitably, some users will be resistant to the adoption of a new system or the changes being made to an old system, but catering diligently to these concerns is one of the most important aspects of EHR success. As seasoned change agents, EHR consultants are more familiar with common end-user challenges, more refined in the implementation of tailored training solutions, and, thus, better equipped to address the critical “people factor” of implementation success. With crucial guidance in cultivating stakeholder buy-in, end-user skills, and employee satisfaction, organizations that leverage consultants make it easier for everyone in their health system to accommodate to the challenging – but exceedingly beneficial – change.
Too many have sought to leverage online resources in their implementation strategies, only to discover that the free templates, checklists, and how-to’s simply weren’t enough. When things go awry in such cases, the organization is forced to untangle the confusion themselves, all while adhering to budget restrictions and strict project deadlines.
4. To Secure Ongoing Support
Too many have sought to leverage online resources in their implementation strategies, only to discover that the free templates, checklists, and how-to’s simply weren’t enough. When things go awry in such cases, the organization is forced to untangle the confusion themselves, all while adhering to budget restrictions and strict project deadlines. Conversely, with consultants, organizations have ongoing access to strategic and technical support throughout the implementation process, and they’re never alone. Some EHR consultants even provide 24/7 help desk support, which offers an additional layer of assistance to ensure projects stay on schedule and within budget.
5. To Optimize Training
As an integral part of change management, EHR training is also an extremely important aspect of implementation success. EHR consultants bring tested tutoring strategies, tools, and verifications that ensure users understand how best to use the new system in their specific user context. Consultants may also provide exclusive vendor resources and custom training content not otherwise accessible to an organization. All of this gives organizations an edge in reducing the learning curve, attaining enterprise-wide buy-in, and helping every user get the most out of the new system.