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Cross-Functional Hospital Teams Key to EMR/EHR Success

Analysis  |  By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   February 28, 2017

Hospitals and health systems should assemble cross-functional teams of technology professionals, clinical, and business leaders to properly execute an EMR/EHR post-implementation strategy, advises KPMG.

Although the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT puts electronic medical record system and electronic health record system implementation rates at more than 95% of hospitals, most EMR/EHR systems aren’t optimized for users, says a KPMG report.

Instead, the systems were “implemented as one-time, factory boilerplate-style system installations,” the report says.

The report advises hospitals to assemble cross-functional teams "that comprise technology professionals as well as clinical and business leaders to focus on executing an [EMR/EHR] post-implementation strategy."

It offers a three-step process for the team:

  1. Conduct a baseline measurement, set benchmarks and incentives, and incentivize leadership to obtain results.
  2. Determine how best to improve the installed EMR/EHR.
  3. Monitor, measure, and report data.

Big Investment
Chief information officers plan to invest heavily over the next three years to improve how EMR/EHRs are used, according to a survey of College of Healthcare Information Management Executives members.

KPMG's poll found that 38% of the 112 survey respondents ranked EMR/EHR optimization has their top choice for where they plan the majority of capital investment over the next three years.

Following EMR/EHR optimization on the priority list were:

  • Accountable care/population health technology (21%);
  • Consumer/clinical and operational analytics (16%);
  • Virtual/telehealth technology enhancements (13%);
  • Revenue cycle systems/replacement (7%); and
  • Enterprise resource planning systems/replacement (6%)

Approximately one-quarter of respondents said their organizations are implementing or investing in cloud computing infrastructure (servers, storage, and data centers), and 18% said their investments are in enterprise resource planning solutions.

Other key functions for the cloud among respondents include EMR/EHRs (10%), enterprise systems solutions (10%), and disaster recovery (8%).

In addition, 63% of respondents said their spending plans are likely to remain the same for the next 12 months and for 44% said they’d stay the same during the next two years. For the next 12 months, 18% of respondents expect higher spending.

Additionally, the report suggests that EMR/EHRs can be optimized by

  • Providing meaningful training to users
  • Enabling users to code services properly
  • Making the technology available via mobile and other remote options
  • Aligning the technology with the larger organization infrastructure
  • Automating functions, such as sending potential drug interactions to patients

It also calls for interoperability with other systems and the ability to share data for the benefit of other technologies such as telemedicine.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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