EHR Implementation Success: Measuring What Matters
May 27, 2021 / Christopher S. Garner
There are many ways that organizations can benefit from implementing an EHR, but that doesn’t mean success is a given. More than 50 percent of EHR systems fail or fail to be properly utilized, according to research. And some estimates indicate that healthcare information technology projects overall fail up to 70 percent of the time. So, EHR success is far from a guarantee, and being successful means much more than just being able to say, “it’s implemented.”
In a previous post, we mentioned five ways organizations leverage EHR consultants to help achieve EHR success. In this post, we’ll cover some of the major ways that that success can be defined and measured.
The most important measures of success in any implementation project are set by the organization itself. What does your organization wish to accomplish with the implementation?
The most important measures of success in any implementation project are set by the organization itself. What does your organization wish to accomplish with the implementation? Do you simply want to eliminate paper records? Or do you want to completely streamline your operations? What insufficiencies are there in the old system that must be rectified? What metrics are there about the old system that could be compared to the new one after implementation?
Questions like these may seem negligible, but, as stated before, just because something was implemented doesn’t mean it was a success. Plus, getting your expectations and requirements for the implementation in order does more than provide a way to measure the success of the implementation in post-live reviews and evaluations. It also gives you criteria to use in the selection phase of implementation, when your team will be evaluating the ability of different vendors to meet your organization’s needs and goals.
Return on Investment
A financial measure of success, ROI measures the return an investment has relative to its cost. It can provide an overall benchmark for how successful a project has been. To maximize ROI, it’s important to exercise diligence during contract negotiations by ensuring your organization isn’t paying for more than it needs. In some cases, consultants have been able to reduce the price of an EHR system by as much as 50 percent by exercising diligence in this way.
To take user satisfaction seriously is to take clinical stress and burnout seriously. So emphasize user satisfaction at all stages of implementation and measure the success of your project accordingly.
Because of their scale, larger healthcare enterprises are at higher risk of incurring operating losses, lower patient volumes, and receivables write-offs if EHR adoption proves to be troublesome. But this only reemphasizes the importance of fostering enterprise-wide user satisfaction. Handling this “people factor” of EHR implementation with care is ultimately what causes many of the metrics that matter most to increase – like, for instance, staff efficiency and productivity.
How do nurses, physicians, and other staffers who use the system feel about the changes you will be making to their every day? To take user satisfaction seriously is to take clinical stress and burnout seriously. So emphasize user satisfaction at all stages of implementation and measure the success of your project accordingly.
Because of its impact on the quality and efficiency of care coordination, interoperability is another key factor to consider when analyzing EHR success. Does staff across your enterprise have the ability to share electronic patient records seamlessly? How might that be affecting the efficiency of care coordination?
To use interoperability as a measure of success, calculate the percentage of patients within your organization whose clinical information is shared electronically across care settings. Then compare that to the same calculation done after your implementation project is complete.
Is your healthcare organization struggling to envision or accomplish implementation success? Talk with EHR experts today to find out more about how your organization can take the guess work out of EHR success.