There are challenges many agencies face when doing a system conversion. However, with a successful system conversion, providers can look forward to reduced write-offs, increased cash flow, better revenue recognition, detailed data metrics and more insight on day-to-day operations.

A system conversion is resource intensive. It takes a lot of time and a significant amount of planning to do it right. Your health system revolves around it. In order to yield the long term benefits, it’s important to find the right fit before implementing an EMR as well as assess cultural readiness and process changes.

Successful System Conversion: Finding the Right Fit

Three factors an organization should consider prior to deciding which EMR is the right fit would be scalability, organizational knowledge and management and leadership strength and acumen. Learn more about the importance of these three factors to a successful system conversion in our video:

Cultural Readiness: Adapting to Process Changes

When converting from one EMR system to another, consider cultural readiness. In many organizations, cultural resistance is common. Buy-in is one of the most important things to establish prior to a system’s conversion. From leadership to clinical staff you need buy-in. You need your champions and cheerleaders to really facilitate this process. It is important to have as many champions in the organization as possible.

Another area that challenges a lot of the providers is the need to shift processes to fit the new EMR. It is important to recognize that a process might have worked for an older EMR, and people are used to doing things the same way. But when a new system comes in, old processes can become obsolete. One mistake providers can make is trying to customize the system and make the system adapt to obsolete processes. Getting out of that mindset is one of the most important things that providers can do when they convert systems.

The process element is important because you’re dealing with a completely new system and you can’t carry forward some of your old habits. For example, your new system has neat ways to control the way your workflow happens, but it does it in a very specific way. You may not be able to fall back on old methods. A lot of times when providers switch EMRs, they also need to reorganize their back-office functionality as well. They must realign roles and job responsibilities to fit what the system has prescribed for these roles, rather than what they’ve been doing.

You need a detailed understanding of how the system works. By doing this, you can mold the processes and redesign the process flows and perhaps the way the organization is structured around the functionality and features of that EMR system.

Finally, invest in training very, very heavily. Investing in training will yield long-term benefits.

About The Contributor

Mo Yang, Consulting Supervisor

Mo’s expertise includes revenue cycle management, finance, systems transition and implementation, quality improvement, project management, and data analysis for home health and hospice organizations nationwide.