How to recover from a bad electronic health records implementation

How to recover from a bad electronic health records implementation

Posted Oct 24, 2021 from

Failed EHR implementations are expensive, demoralizing, and intimidating. However, they can be corrected and often faster than what many believe. 

From the perspective of an outside informaticist, such frustration can be multifactorial. The typical issues are made worse by the COVID-19 hospital restrictions on normal hospital operations. However,  many of these issues could have been mitigated by offering expanded in-person expert support to hospital staff supported by virtual technical assistance.

Due to system failures, the U.S. Congress has halted the Cerner implementation process at VA hospitals.  Lawmakers want concrete answers about why the issues encountered were not planned for, why training was inadequate, and the problems with software functionality. Critics are also calling into question the decision to award the EHR contract to Cerner instead of rival Epic Systems.

Before COVID-19, I participated in a Cerner implementation at Department of Defense (DOD) hospitals in Washington. At the time, I saw numerous challenges, the most concerning being workflow integration with the new system. That challenge is likely being seen at VA hospitals undergoing this transition. The question here is how a health care system can navigate through the disappointment and come out more resilient? I recommend my clients use the following five E’s to fix an implementation that has gone awry.

Evaluation.  Leadership needs a complete assessment of what is causing the challenges at hand. The hospital has to evaluate workflows so the system could be tailored to the department’s needs.


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