EHRs: Where Change Management Is Needed Most

A major source of anxiety in health care today—and a place where the need for change management is often felt most acutely—is the adoption of electronic health-record platforms. Below is a perspective shared by a member of Physicians Insurance.

Washington Urology Associates is an eight-provider, physician-owned medical practice with multiple offices in the greater Seattle area. The group practice offers complete care for men’s and women's pelvic health to the East Puget Sound community. The staff is comprised of an interdisciplinary team of board-certified urologists and gynecologists, three sub-specialty board-certified uro-gynecologists, naturopathic physicians, and ARNPs.

Located at four clinic locations in Kirkland, Bellevue, and Issaquah, as well as at two state-licensed and Medicare-certified Ambulatory Surgery Centers, and providing in-house diagnostic testing, Washington Urology and Urogynecology provides a large array of services on-site to patients, and delivers specialized services at a third of the cost of hospital and hospital-owned physician practices.

Washington Urology Associates first started using Netgain’s Greenway (EHR) hosting software in 2010. However, the conversion was implemented without staff training. As a result, the platform was minimally utilized and often not correctly used.

Software training for staff members is essential to ensuring the correct use of the platform and optimizing performance potential. This should be a priority investment for other clinics and practices launching an EHR for the first time.

In June 2017, the practice officially re-launched the implementation of the Netgain Greenway (EHR) Hosting platform—this time with significant training for staff delivered over the months prior to launch.

New features allow automated collection of patient information and automatic updates to patients’ charts. In addition, the software interfaces directly with clinical lab equipment, so data is captured, reported, filed, and stored immediately at the time of collection from the patient. This new system reduces human error, eliminates the burden of work, and prevents unnecessary staff access to patients’ medical information, further protecting practices from breaches of information.

An additional benefit of the platform is that it has greatly streamlined the practice’s process of submitting insurance claims. This improved turnaround means that revenue is brought into the practice faster, saving staff time and allowing the practice to run more smoothly.

Mandatory government reporting makes it a requirement to pull specified data sets from patient records. Due to changes in what needs to be reported, these data sets vary from year to year. As a result, each year when reporting is required, the data-collection parameters in the EHR must be changed to reflect new reporting requirements.

Practice administrator Brenda Carter says that, by and large, training on the software platform was the single most important element of its successful implementation. “It made a world of difference to our staff, who now feel confident in using this new system,” says Carter.