Like other hospitals around the nation, our small little community hospital in NE Ohio is on the road towards electronic medical records. Yesterday and today, the hospital team asked me to accompany them on a site visit to see how an Indiana hospital implemented the system. The picture above was seen in our commute to this out of state destination. Who knew that northwest Ohio had a huge wind farm?
Of course, one advantage is that they have went through this process already, and we can ask very detailed and technical questions about what they did. And, this dialogue has been very helpful. The disadvantage is that each hospital and each hospital situation is different. For example, variables include the size of the hospital, size of the community, size of the medical staff, are the physicians employed by the hospital, how many IT (information technology) staff are available at the hospital at any given time, and many other factors.
When it comes down to it, I have learned when it comes to physicians and provider staff, they don't like change whatsoever, and it comes down to change management. I mean, I totally understand. No one likes change, and to learn new and different processes takes time and effort.
In reading a lot about how other hospitals manage change, it's about setting expectations and framing the argument correctly. For example, when it comes to EMR implementation in the hospital or clinic setting, it does come back to patients. Implementation of an EMR has the factors of patient safety, quality patient care, and work flow efficiency. The next step is about scripting those talking points and spreading that message across the organization.
I'm probably a freak in that I'm enjoying this challenge of being an EMR Physician Champion for my hospital. I may be biased, but I think physicians are the most resistant to change. Yet, if you're able to gain their trust and their buy-in, physicians can be your biggest ally in bringing about change in the organization. Our go-live date for computerized order entry is in 4 months and maybe I'll write about this topic in the future.....