Implementing change in any business isn't easy. Especially if that change impacts every single part of your business. For an eyecare practice, a change as big as this could be implementing new EHR software. Your practice has likely been running on paper or a different software for many years, and your staff has habits and processes engrained in their head.
As with any big change, your practice is going to face some challenges. Today, we want to look at a few challenges that you can expect to see when implementing new EHR software into your practice. Regardless of the system you implement, you are bound to hit a few bumps in the road. It's better to prepare your staff with resolutions for the challenges that they might face than for them to be caught by surprise.
3 EHR Software Implementation Challenges to be Prepared for
Challenge: Overbooking your patient schedule.
Many practices feel that they are ready to tackle a full patient load from the moment that they go live with their new software. While you may think that you and your staff are 100% trained and ready, it's almost a given that there will be a few growing pains as you adjust to your new workflow. This most often leads to a patient bottleneck in the office and can easily become frustrating to providers, staff, and patients.
Resolution: Consider how the switch could affect your schedule.
It has been shown that reducing your patient schedule to 1 patient per provider per hour for the first week following go live significantly reduces the instances of patient feedback, and sets both the provider, staff, and patients up for a more successful experience. You can always quickly adjust your schedule by adding more patients if things are running smoothly after a couple of days. It's harder to ask for forgiveness and apologize to patients if your schedule is running behind.
Challenge: Not notifying patients that you're using and adjusting to new software.
Imagine that you are a patient returning to your provider's office for your yearly eye exam. You have booked this visit during your lunch break and need to return to work within the hour. You arrive to find out that your provider is going live with new software today, and the appointment that usually takes about a half hour to complete is likely going to take much longer today.
Resolution: Notify patients that are scheduled during your first live week.
Take advantage of marketing options such as sending out postcards or even making a quick phone call to let your patients know that their scheduled appointment may take a bit longer than normal as you're implementing new software to better serve your patients. Chances are, your patients will be understanding, and even excited that the new software will better serve their needs and boost their patient experience. Communication is the key to avoiding disgruntled patients during your first live week.
Challenge: Mutiny among your staff.
Change in the workplace can be a stressful time for your staff, and the last thing you need is your staff being reluctant to the change or taking out their frustrations on each other. Having success in the early days of going live gives your practice a greater advantage for successful long term implementation. If your staff is demotivated and negative from the get go, you're going to be facing an uphill battle.
Resolution: Involve staff from start to finish.
Hopefully your staff was involved from the start in your journey to implement new software. If everyone was involved in the purchasing process it's likely that they feel more attached to the decision and have positive feelings for having a successful implementation. Everyone on the team should be fully trained on the new system, and lines of communication should be open so that your staff isn't afraid to ask questions or make suggestions as to how the implementation can run more smoothly.
Conclusion: Keep your eye on the ROI.
As you face the challenges of going live, remember that a successful implementation will reduce paper, eventually decrease personnel load, increase practice efficiency, and assist to give patients the best care possible. Although the ROI may not be apparent right away, if you're leveraging your software to its fullest potential you will start to gain back the benefits and profits of the new system.
Are you nervous about making a change in your practice? Download our free eBook, A Manager's Guide to Change Management.