There are many reasons why a new EMR solution may make sense for your clinic: your current platform may be retiring and no longer supported, or it may be under new ownership. Or perhaps your EMR has certain limitations, and it won’t serve your clinic’s future plans for growth. Whatever the motivation for switching to a new EMR, it’s important that the stage is set for a smooth transition.
The ELNA medical clinic in Saint-Mathieu-de-Belœil in Quebec recently transitioned to a new EMR solution. Based on the clinic’s learning, here are some of tips and recommendations for others.
Know what features you need – today and tomorrow
While all EMRs are designed to optimize clinic management and streamline continuity of care, each one has its own unique features and responds to a distinct set of needs.
Consider what you are looking for in a new solution. Does the EMR have built-in tools like templates for forms and letters, or dashboards that give you valuable insights into your patient population? What EMR add-ons are available to enhance your operations and engage your patients?
Of course, your needs will evolve over time. That’s why you need an EMR solution that can adapt and grow with your needs. Look for a future-forward provider that is continually updating and advancing its EMR platform.
Engage all key members in the decision-making process
The EMR is essentially the centre of operations for your clinic and must be accessible by your team. Before making any decisions, give all stakeholders a chance to express their wants and needs. Then narrow your choices down to two options, and arrange for presentations by EMR providers to the team.
Planning and communication are key
Once your team has selected an EMR – it’s time to talk strategy. Working with your provider, determine a “go live” date, and then outline the path that will take you there, including regular meetings, setting access permissions, training and who your super-user(s) will be. Be sure to also flag any events that may impact the schedule, such as upcoming vacations.
Be patient during the early days
Every EMR transition has its growing pains, but it’s temporary. To help you with a smooth transition:
- Familiarize yourself with your new EMR before meeting with patients and create practice scenarios
- Consider doubling the length of patient appointments to give you more time to work with the new platform in the very early days
- Let patients know that you’ve switched your system and ask for their patience during the transition