While more healthcare systems are moving from paper-based records to electronic medical records (EMRs). when it happens to you, it’s a big change!
EMRs can create lasting benefits, from efficient, coordinated care to improved patient advocacy.
But I’m sure you know that an EMR implementation is a massive undertaking and transformation for your staff and patients. And it falls on your shoulders to sell it, not just communicate it.
You can expect the vendor to provide EMR training and help set implementation milestones. What you won't get, however, is a handbook on communications best-practices for transitioning from paper to EMRs.
>> The Benefits of EMRs
- Efficient, coordinated care: Clinicians' access to medical records across departments saves time, provides transparency
- Patient advocacy: Patients access their own medical information online
- Timely updates: Medical charts are updated in real time
The challenges of communicating such a major effort will require you to manage several issues, including:
- Impact on multiple audiences: You need to keep almost everyone in the loop, from executives who want constant updates, physicians who don't have time to provide feedback on the EMR, and patients who need to learn a new system.
- Staff fears: You need to understand how the new EMR will affect workflows and people's jobs.
- Resources: You've got to balance this initiative on top of other projects. If you have a limited staff, you may need to outsource some of the work to an agency.
>> Communications Plan Goals
Your communications plan must accomplish several goals. It must:
- Demonstrate the need for and the rationale behind the EHR implementation
- Allay fears
- Encourage and facilitate participation
- Create and maintain enthusiasm for the project
- Anticipate and/or avert obstacles
Source: Chad A. Eckes, Communication Management’s Role In EHR Success, Healthcare IT News
That’s why I'm thrilled to tell you that I've published a white paper that offers you plenty of tips and tricks to help you successfully communicate your EMR implementation with staff and patients. For example, you'll learn:
- Four things you must do before you start communicating the EMR implementation
- The best ways to encourage staff to share their fears with you, which will help you craft effective communications
- Nine insider tips on how to communicate the EMR implementation to staff and patients
You'll discover that communicating your healthcare organization's new EMR isn't so very different from any other large communications initiative. You'll also find that it offers you and your team opportunities to demonstrate the critical role you play in any successful change management effort.
And the implementation itself may well be the catalyst your organization needs to change the culture, if that's on the radar for your executive team.
Need help communicating your EMR implementation?
Download the white paper here! How to Communicate Your EMR Implementation with Staff and Patients
About the author: Stephanie Helline is a strategic healthcare communicator who honed her craft at Kaiser Permanente on a number of large campaigns. As the owner of Strategic Health, an agency specializing in healthcare communications, she helps healthcare teams create strategic campaigns that focus on big-picture goals. She and her team facilitate the discovery of clients' "pains and gains," and use what they learn to guide the insights and strategies to improve patient care and services.