EMR transition can be costly, but transition staffing offers help

March 11, 2014 by Vickie Anenberg

The government mandate that healthcare facilities implement electronic medical records presents a unique set of challenges that each healthcare provider must navigate. One hurdle that seems to be common to that process is the loss of productivity that takes place as this transition is made. A lot of research has been done to show just how dramatic this loss can be.

One study, done by the Institute for Health Care Research and Improvement, looked at a healthcare network in Texas and found that its EMR implementation team needed 611 hours, on average, to prepare for and begin running its electronic medical record system. Furthermore, the system's end users - physicians, clinical staff and nonclinical staff, needed 134 hours on average - per physician or end user - to prepare for use of the EMR system in clinical encounters.

In another report, found on the National Institutes of Health website, explains the loss of productivity resulting from workflow disruptions due to EMR implementation was estimated at 20 percent in the first month, 10 percent in the second month and 5 percent in the third.  

Unfortunately, this loss of productivity often catches healthcare providers off guard, as one consultant described in an article on the EHR Intelligence website a few months ago.

"When you implement an EMR [technology platform], your clinical and business staff members have to be fully involved and fully accountable for the results, or you'll end up with a disaster," Dr. Cliff Bleustein explained in the article. "Mere buy-in from your clinicians and business staff is not enough. They have to do the actual planning and implementing themselves[j2] .

"While most healthcare leaders know that EMR implementation is a big process, they often underestimate the extent of the changes that are coming. If you think about all the tasks that a nurse does in a shift, and if you understand that you will need to examine each of those tasks to see how the EMR can improve it, and multiply that by every job in the hospital that will use the EMR, you begin to understand the enormous scope of the project."

With the loss in productivity that results from EMR implementation, and level of involvement necessary for full-time staff to facilitate that implementation most efficiently, the support transition staff can provide during this process often proves invaluable.

To learn more about how EMR transition staffing can help alleviate workload while maintaining the consistency of patient care, please contact Cross Country staffing today.