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Young Ophthalmologists
7 Tips for Avoiding EHR Implementation Hypertension
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Editor's note: New for 2014, YO Info launches a series of practice management articles. Each month we'll give you some practical tips on a specific topic, followed by relevant Academy resources and member benefits to help you tackle this area of practice management.

Many aspects of running a practice are stressful. Physicians and managers feel pressure from all sides as they attempt to follow the rules, generate revenue, control expenses, maintain healthy patient flows and keep employees happy. Unless you take steps to diffuse this time bomb, it can eventually escalate into a condition I call “practice management hypertension.”

To help you avoid that, here are seven tips for successfully navigating the major stressors associated with electronic health record implementation.

How to avoid EHR implementation hypertension
There are lots of EHR programs in the marketplace, but choosing one can be difficult because they vary in content almost as much as they do in price. Each practice is unique. What works well for one may not work well for another.

Three things to consider initially are support services, longevity and stability of the software company. When you’ve narrowed the search to a few software frontrunners, dig deeper:

  1. Research KLAS rankings for small medical practices.
  2. Redesign the workflow to interface efficiently with an EHR system.
  3. Create a checklist of required elements, and compare software.
  4. Integrate your billing/practice management system with the EHR system, if possible, to maximize efficiency.
  5. Designate at least one “super user” for the new EHR system at each practice location.
  6. Invest in adequate training to create a steep and rapid learning curve.
  7. Lighten the schedule on the “go live” day, which should not fall on a Monday.

Academy EHR resources
Need help putting these tips in practice? The Academy has developed several resources to help (note that some are member-only benefits).

Choosing a vendor:

Integrating systems:

Related reading:

Next month: look for our tips on managing health care reform hypertension.

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About the authors: This article was adapted from the original piece, which appeared in a publication of the American Academy of Ophthalmic Executives. Debra Phairas is president of Practice and Liability Consultants, a nationally recognized firm specializing in practice management and malpractice prevention. Her background includes medical clinic administration and loss prevention management for NORCAL Mutual, a physician malpractice insurance carrier in northern California. She has also presented seminars and lectures nationwide for state and local medical/dental associations, management organizations and specialty societies. Christi A. Foist is the managing editor for YO Info and the Web and member communications editor for the Academy’s website.

Academy members: login to read or make comments on this article.