It’s a strange aspect of human psychology (and curiosity) that we tend to learn more powerfully from hearing about mistakes others have made versus what cultivated success. For whatever reason, we often react more strongly to “Don’ts” than “Dos.” To that end, we’re going to chat today about something we’ve encountered with new clients in the realm of the worst practice: lack of EHR advisory services.

This is something that Healthcare IT consultants like us often “inherit,” in that we have a more challenging task ahead of us to successfully implement an EHR when some of the damage has already been done, so to speak. Before we address the problem, let’s define what we’re talking about!

What Are EHR Advisory Services For Health Systems?

Health systems may know well their physicians, their patient population, what makes their communities unique, and how to best show up for their people. What is often unknown is how to select a technology partner from a sea of vendors and flashy sales pitches to optimize operations and deliver the best care possible. And vendor selection is just one aspect of EHR Advisory Services from 314e that can deliver incredible value.

Professional consultants can help hospitals develop an entire strategy around selecting and implementing a new EHR or even leveraging existing technology (like Epic) to improve processes. This is Program Management in a nutshell, and its importance to health systems cannot be understated. Without a leader at the helm (that would be the Program Manager) who can expertly organize tasks, timelines, budgets, and resources, stakeholders may find their efforts falling flat and costing far more than anticipated. In many cases, clients coming to us do so because they don’t know what they don’t know, and that’s where hiring someone who does know the job pays dividends.

How EHR Advisory Services Save Money

It may be counterintuitive to think that hiring a valuable (i.e., expensive) EHR Advisor could save money. Still, it’s simply a reflection of the high cost of error when solutions are haphazardly executed. (Think botched interfaces, repeated testing cycles, angry end-users, etc.) Hospitals may have some of the best project managers supporting Epic implementations. Still, the key is to prevent too many people from focusing on the trees and not enough attention to the forest.

Of note: it’s not typically a wise decision to have the same person wearing the hat of Program Manager and Project Manager. Not only are both of those roles demanding in their own right, but there is a different level of attention required of each, and shifting between those lenses for EHR implementation is risky. Both roles should be assigned, but rarely is it prudent to have the same person attending to both.

Timeline As A Driver For EHR Implementation

The budget can never be ignored in Healthcare IT (or in business in general). But where we see deadlines driving activity for Epic implementations, the agreement is usually that the budget will yield to ensure the job gets done on time. Sometimes this is due to a time-sensitive integration effort for contracting opportunities/obligations, or perhaps the rush is due to deprecated features of the software that simply cannot be worked around. Whatever the motivation, when timelines are aggressive and defining the scope of work, invoking EHR Advisory Services is critical.

There is a lot to be said for bringing in a fresh set of eyes to evaluate the requirements and possible solutions. Also, there is inevitably some emotion involved when moving at breakneck speeds, and a seasoned professional from the “outside” can offer the objectivity and patience required to execute well and on time.

Pulling The Trigger On EHR Advisory Services

Rather than amassing a long list of “Don’ts” before pulling the trigger on asking for help, health systems can save themselves a lot of headache, budget loss, and timeline slippage by bringing in EHR Advisory Services at the onset of a project. The beauty of using such resources in a Staff Augmentation capacity is preventing a pricey hire when just temporary help (for the project’s lifecycle) is needed. So plan well, execute well, and farewell for the long run with EHR Implementation Services.