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Author: Elyse, PMP, CPHIMS
December 26, 2004

The California Health Foundation has a nice review of the lessons learned in implementing a practice based EMR.

The recommendations are applicable to any system implementation

1. Identify an EMR Champion—Or Don’t Implement
For any application implementation, a user champion is necessary. The user champion needs to be an individual who can help with inspire the user community. The user champion is also an invaluable resource throughout the implementation process. Their input is essential to the todos of the application, defining the usability needs and business rules of the application. This can ensure an implementation doesn't impede the user's workflow. The user champion can also help to set the priority on implementation issues and help assess risk to the implementation project. The user champion is essential to the marketing of an application. Sometimes the user champion is an individual or depending on the size maybe a committee.

Obtain Physician Commitments to Use the EMR
One of the first steps for any project is to have the commitment of the user community to use the application. This is really two fold, there is the commitment to use, and the commitment of the implementers to listen to the user needs. Why implement something if it isn't going to be utilized?

Maximize Electronic Data Exchange
Integration is key with any implementation. Respecting data owners, and having interoperability between the systems will eliminate redundant data entry and bring the infrastructure one step closer to a real-time business.

Arrange Comprehensive Support
Support is necessary for an implementation. There are various types but the critical needs are education support, end user support, and technical support.

Motivate Physicians to Use the EMR
Most people don't like change. There needs to be a real tangible benefit to utilizing the system that is noted by the users of that system.

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