Electronic Medical Records – How to Implement?

By Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT on June 15, 2012

Although switching to EMR will make the documentation process better, there are some factors that need to be considered before expecting a smooth transition.

Nitin Chhoda points out that open communication with staff before, during, and after implemenation is important.  He will discuss how and why managing your staff’s expectations is crucial, and how to handle any rough patches during the change over process.

electronic medical recordsElectronic medical records are sometimes feared by clinicians and medical managers because of wrong implementation that may not actually improve the business and remain stagnant instead.

Implementation is going to be the toughest time, as everyone will probably be adjusting their workflow and accomplishing tasks more slowly than before.

But this shouldn’t discourage you from making the necessary changes. You will learn a lot through implementation of your electronic medical records and you can use that to your advantage.

Before Implementation

The best way to ensure that implementing electronic medical records goes smoothly for your practice is to plan and prepare beforehand. You should have a time leading up to implementation when all staff members can give input, voice concerns, and get the training they will need.

Remember this phrase: managing expectations.

If your staff expects the process to be difficult and frustrating, but things go smoothly, you will find that electronic medical records implementation will be easier. But if you try to convince the staff that it will be simple and straightforward, any problems will seem larger than they are in the grand scheme of things.

Make a plan, set goals, get buy-in and feedback, and give your staff the training they will need. Implementation will be a completely different experience if you prepare for the physical therapy electronic medical records implementation process.

When You Hit Tough Patches

electronic medical records implementationThere will be rough spots. Accept that now and you are halfway to dealing with them. The same is true for your staff’s attitude towards difficulties.

Let them know that you expect it to take a bit of time in implementing electronic medical records system before everyone has adjusted and that you want them to deal with problems rather than brush over them.

Problems that arise will educate you on how to improve the system to meet the needs of staff. Use each problem as if it is an opportunity. Talk to staff and the software developers so changes can be made right from the start.

Others Have Been There Before

Another important thing to remember is that you aren’t the first practice to implement physical therapy software for electronic medical records management. There are incredible resources out there that can help you along the way. From choosing the right physical therapy EMR to dealing with issues during EMR implementation, you can find resources online.

Electronic medical records system implementation could present some struggles for you and your staff. But those struggles don’t have to be disasters.

Makes sure that you and your staff have access to training materials and resources and that everyone is encouraged to ask questions. If you can manage the expectations of the staff, ensure that they are on board even before electronic medical records implementation starts, and give them support during the process, things will go more smoothly.

Electronic medical records of physical therapy software has been improving, but that doesn’t mean the prefect fit has been established. Another critical part of ensuring that implementation goes well is that you choose the right software. Take your time and do the research to determine what will work best for your practice.

About Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT

Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT is the CEO of In Touch EMR and In Touch Biller Pro, an electronic medical records and medical billing software system built be leaders in the physical therapy software industry, with thousands of satisfied customers across the world. For more information, please visit www.InTouchEmr.com and www.InTouchBillerPro.com