The need to quickly adopt and scale solutions during the COVID-19 crisis and has reinforced some hard-learned lessons for the successful adoption of new healthcare technology systems. One of which is the early involvement of health information management (HIM) experts to prevent the failure of projects.
How big is the risk of failure?
According to a recent AHIMA article “Fail-Safe: HIM Experts are Essential Early in the IT Adoption Cycle,” studies have shown healthcare technology projects fail 70 percent of the time. Among those, EHR implementations have failed 20 percent of the time due to software incompatibility, technical failures, lack of return on investment, and other people-related issues.
At a time when no health system can risk failed technology projects, HIM experts are cited as the bridge between technology and the realities of day-to-day patient care. That places them in a fail-safe role in EHR projects.
“HIM professionals provide an awful lot of value in these big implementation processes that are responsible for the [patient] record,” says Bob Gronberg, senior director of MEDITECH professional services at CereCore. “They’re the ones making sure it’s [the record] complete and cohesive, that it’s a tool that can be used by the clinician and others to retrieve information for normal operations, making sure the information isn’t duplicate, captured where it should be captured. Ensuring that the patient record’s information is transferred, transmitted, and reused as appropriate.”
HIM experts provided these key takeaways on their roles:
- HIM has a role in every phase of deployment, uses assessments and frameworks to evaluate a product, assists in determining clinical workflows, as well as providers to mitigate burnout.
- HIM experts still fight old perceptions that they are medical librarians loosely connected to technology – although that’s changing in this post-meaningful use era.
- The buying role for new systems has shifted to the IT department and this can result in HIM experts being excluded from the selection process.
- The responsibility of HIM is to elevate their presence within the healthcare organization by being the interpreter between the technology and realities of day-to-day practice. The responsibility of the rest of the project team is to foster this collaboration.
- The HIM skillset includes knowledge of terminology of classification systems, data integrity, data analysis and management. This creates difficult yet valid integration questions.
- HIM professionals can help reduce physician burnout with EHRs by identifying opportunities to minimize or condense workflow, prevent duplicate processes, and build efficiency into patient care.
Bottom line, putting HIM representatives in the center of the action has not only been proven to prevent failed projects, but can generate a better end result.