Healthcare is undergoing a period of tremendous change right now. The implementation of an EHR is only the first step in a long journey to becoming a data-enabled healthcare organization. Misalignment of any of the three continuums will minimize the chances for success. Neglecting the process continuum is especially risky.
Automating, or just adding technology, to bad process just results in a bad automated process. The same is true for not giving the process or workflow enough attention. This can be evident in challenges to personnel buy-in. A lot of times this occurs when the change is viewed as simply a software implementation as opposed to an organizational transformation. One rule to follow is the timing of initial training. If it is offered just before the software ‘goes live’ you have already failed. Organization transformation must start from the beginning with communication and personnel training throughout the process to increase acceptance and advocacy among the staff.
Physician engagement is an especially difficult challenge, but it can be overcome. Keeping physicians involved in the process and workflow design will improve buy-in and avoid rescinding a software workflow after it has been deployed because the process did not work or was inefficient for the physicians to utilize. It is critical to ‘get out in front’ of these issues because without all the clinical staff involvement the journey to become a data-enabled healthcare organization becomes more like the Tour de France, an endurance test through mountains, when it only needs to be the Chicago Marathon, an endurance test on city streets. There are obstacles and challenges, but there is no need to create mountains to climb.