EMR solutions are now used by all US practices and providers. But none of these EMR systems is a one-size-fits-all application. Custom or specialty applications are still used by many providers. This creates a need to integrate these applications with the main EMR for an efficient and productive workflow. If you want to carry out an EMR integration project successfully, then you can follow these steps:
1. Define the Project Scope
For large integration projects, this is essential. Scope creep or loss of focus can ruin an integration project. So, it is important to clearly define the boundaries from the onset.
Without a well-defined scope, it will be difficult to work with vendors or manage resource budgets and project timelines. Contracts with vendors must have a well-written scope. This will prevent bottlenecks and scope reviews that can affect the timely completion of the project.
2. Appoint a Competent Project Manager
Appoint a project manager early. This must be done at the beginning of the planning phase. Ideally, your project manager should be a tech-savvy person who can work effectively with clinicians, IT staff, and vendors, while meeting the strategic goals of the project. The project manager will also serve as a key resource for all users.
3. Develop Business and Technical Specifications
All stakeholders in the project must understand the key business and functional specifications. The integration vendor may list out the specifications in terms of HL7 messages, events, or triggers. But it is also vital to know the clinical workflow and business processes that will be affected by the EMR integration. The clinicians and technical staff should agree on how the integration will improve their work functions. All important business, technical, and functional details should be properly documented.
4. Create a Test Plan
Every mission-critical software project needs a rigorous testing plan. The vendor will specify the details of the testing plan before it is approved by the project management team. Testing will involve various technical aspects of the project including connectivity, user acceptance, volume, and stress testing. Before the testing phase starts, it is important to know:
- The time required for complete testing
- The resource allocation needed
- How testing may disrupt the normal workflow
When you know these details, you are more likely to have a successful implementation of the test plan.
5. Develop a Post Implementation Support Plan
Integration projects are set up to deliver according to precise specifications. But, many times, stakeholders change their minds or find out that some specifications have been poorly communicated or left untested. These problems usually show up when the new system is implemented. That is why it is important to have a plan for post-deployment support. This will deal with any challenges that can hinder the smooth operation of the EMR integration.
Want to Learn More About EMR Integration?
To receive a free consultation for EMR integration, contact LifePoint Informatics today. We have successfully handled over 20,000 projects from 1999 to date. So, we have the experience and expertise to help you implement a successful EMR integration in your organization.