Health care reforms and consumer demand have inspired health care providers everywhere to adopt health information technologies, including electronic health records (EHRs), e-prescriptions, and mobile health technologies. Discover how health care providers plan for and carry out HIT implementation in their facilities.
Devise an HIT Strategy
According to Benjamin Franklin, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Devising a strategy is an essential first step for implementing HIT. This strategy should consider the health care facility’s patient population and how it would benefit from HIT implementation, identify which business partners the facility will work with, and determine what outcomes implementation should achieve. Stakeholders should consider what the facility hopes to gain by implementing HIT, both in the short- and long-term.
Assemble the Right Team
Putting together the right team is essential for the successful implementation of HIT. Health information technology affects all sectors of a health care organization. Choose people to represent a range of departments, including physicians, nurses, and administrators.
Physicians should lead the process, as they have much influence within a health care facility. Some physicians may be skeptical of introducing new technology, but if their peers are supportive of the change, they’re more likely to be convinced. Involving staff members with health care informatics qualifications is also a good idea, since these professionals have an understanding of the way technology and health care can work together.
Remember that the team you assemble will play a key part in determining whether implementation of HIT succeeds or fails. Choosing professionals who have authority, credibility, and a commitment to change is essential.
Assess the Budget
The cost of HIT remains one of the key barriers to the successful implementation of the technology, especially for small- and mid-sized health care facilities. For example, a 2014 report published by Perspectives in Health Information Management found that 80 percent of primary care physicians said a lack of financial support was the major barrier to implementing e-prescribing systems in their ambulatory practices.
Having the funding to purchase HIT solutions and ensure their successful implementation is crucial. You must consider not only the cost of hardware and software, but also the costs of training and support services for HIT installation and upkeep. Federal incentives may help offset some of these costs, so their contribution should also be considered in your budget assessment.
Ensure Effective Operational Integration
Effective operational integration of HIT is essential for making the most of your investment. The central HIT team must distribute the information that they’ve learned throughout the health care facility, so that all staff can successfully use the HIT solutions according to best practices.
Plan for Its Evaluation
Every project needs to be measured to determine its success. Before you ever implement HIT, you should plan how you’ll evaluate its performance. Determine where data can be collected and when that data will be reviewed and acted upon to improve HIT procedures.
With careful planning, health care facilities can ensure a smooth implementation of popular health information technologies.
To take the next step in pursuing a career in HIM, consider enrolling in the University of Illinois at Chicago’s online Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management or Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health Information Management.
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