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Considerations for EMR Implementations

by Joe Velderman, Director of Consulting Services
ProviNET Solutions
joev@provinet.com

Medical doctors EMR healthcare ipad technologyIn today's long-term care industry, providers are diligently working to implement electronic medical record (EMR) solutions. While the cornerstone of an EMR implementation is the software that drives functionality and business processes, researching and finding an EMR package to fit an organization's requirements is just one of the areas to consider when rolling out EMR. It is also important to design and plan for some of the ancillary implications, such as staffing and technological requirements.

Although it is appropriate to involve staff from many operational areas in the implementation process, organizations are recognizing that employees have existing responsibilities and may find it hard to dedicate time to software implementation. Outsourcing some of the staff's routine responsibilities or the implementation tasks can help ensure that the project stays on track and is completed in an efficient manner. When building the project plan timeline for your EMR implementation, consider including the staff resources needed for each phase and include these costs in the roll out plan.

Conducting an EMR Readiness Review allows IT managers to ensure the technical requirements of an EMR implementation are in place. This review should include an assessment of the current infrastructure, wireless capabilities, internet connectivity, disaster preparedness, security and HIPAA, as well as an assessment of the staff to be sure they are capable of supporting the environment. Most importantly, this review can help you determine if the EMR software match your processes.

Infrastructure demands will be based on where the software is hosted – in-house or in the cloud. In-house hosting will mean the networking and server hardware will need to be capable of high processing and storage demands; cloud-hosted solutions will require increased internet bandwidth and redundant connections. In either scenario, it is critical to conduct a network security review to ensure that sensitive resident data is kept private and remains compliant with regulatory measures.

Point-of-care devices for capturing ADL's, UDA's or electronic medication administration include traditional devices, such as wall mounted touchscreens, or roaming, wireless devices like tablet computers, laptops or battery powered computers on wheels (COWs). Wireless point-of-care devices will necessitate the need for a robust and secured enterprise wireless network.

As organizations look to share resident health records with other entities such as hospitals, labs, physician offices, etc., it will be important to evaluate and implement a health information exchange (HIE) as part of your overall EMR plan. As this technology emerges, there are a number of vendors, including EMR vendors such as HealthMEDX, that are well on their way to providing this capability. This is something that IT managers and administrators should continue to monitor when considering their full EMR implementation.

While it is vital to focus on selecting the appropriate EMR software, it is important to consider the related staffing and technical requirements during the implementation planning to ensure appropriate resources are in place.

Additional information about the Profile of the Elderly and Their Care Choices can be found on the HealthMedX website or by contacting ProviNET Solutions at 708-468-2000.