Preparing Your Staff for the EMR

Published: 28th September 2009
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In today's world, more and more healthcare facilities are embracing the integration of EMR in their system. Other than it is an efficient way to handle patient's medical records and income generating the electronic medical records is also a way to deliver prompt and quality patient care. However, despite the diminution of EMR to the workload of medical practice, controversies such as the high cost of EMR and the impact of EMR to the institutions' staffs still remains.



It is undeniable that transitioning from the paper-based Medical Records to Electronic Medical Records (EMR) System is a very challenging move to make. Perhaps the implementation of EMR in the healthcare setting, may it be in the hospitals or clinics and healthcare facilities could have a gargantuan effect on its staff. It'll take time for them to adjust as to how the EMRs work. So how can an institution prepare its staff for the big transition?



The key to an effective implementation of EMR in the healthcare setting is to circumspectly plan for it. What should be included in the planning is how much will the institution be spending for the complete transition. It is always a fact that the electronic medical records software is a very expensive file management system and requires a big sum of funds if the institution is planning for an all-out transition. By total transition, it means that medical records made of paper are to be eradicated and transferred into the computer systems. This calls for the procurement of more computers ranging from different types such as personal digital computers, tablet PC or handheld types.



Another way to successful transition is to address future problems of the staffs. The integration of EMR doesn't only call for the conversion of paper-based records to computers but for role modifications as well. The institution's staffs must be ready for function changes as well as how the EMR system works. It is vital for the main players of the healthcare system, in that case, the physicians, nurses, administration and business office to be prepared. Forming a committee manned by somebody who is knowledgeable about how the institution runs and committed to the project is a good place to start.



It is also required that a methodical argument as to the need of the modification should be made ready as this is what most would ask. The most appropriate thing to do is have a mission and vision statement that states the importance of the transition from paper-based medical records to EMR. Pilot testing the EMR is also one way to prepare your staff for the transition. The best move to make is to assign a group of personnel coming from different departments - physicians, ancillary, nursing, administration, and business office - and do hands-on on the EMR and teach it to their colleagues.



Take into consideration the cultural diversities. Not all members of the healthcare system are adept with computers, emails, and other advanced and complicated programs inspite the advent of the computer age. Have these people work and train on the EMR system more than those who are computer enthusiasts.



A lot of failures in the EMR system are results of poor planning, lack of knowledge as to how the system should work and be handled, as well as the inability of the main player to present and defend the case as to why there is a need for transition. Bottom line is, it takes a lot of time to plan for the integration of the EMR system before it is actually installed into the institution. However, despite all of these, in the long run the EMR system offers ore benefits than the conventional paper-based medical records.


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