There are many reasons for a home health agency to undergo a transition to a new EMR. For example, maybe compliance needs to be documented more efficiently, or PDGM has created new processes that need to be tracked differently. Transitioning to a new EMR can prove to be a heavy lift for your whole agency, bringing new changes that your staff may not be ready to adapt to. During this period, it’s important to utilize strong change management strategies to foster a climate of change throughout your organization and empower your staff to embrace the change that comes with transitioning to a new EMR. Use these change management strategies to help instill a culture of change by empowering employees through organizational transparency and communication.

Identify “champions of change” in your organization

“Champions of change” are members of your staff that serve as resources of knowledge for all aspects of the EMR transition. The champions should have a strong understanding of how the EMR transition will impact the overall operations of the agency, the quality of care its patients receive, and the day-to-day duties of staff.  These champions should be staff that are supportive of your EMR transition and have the skills needed to keep the project headed towards success.

Champions help foster a culture of change by promoting knowledge-sharing throughout your organization, which can help reduce feelings of frustration among staff that come with the new changes. The more knowledge your staff has about the ins and outs of the new EMR, the more empowered they will feel about the changes – which will help you steer clear of roadblocks that can cost your organization valuable time and money.

Diversify leadership to increase collaboration and transparency

Having leaders from different areas in your organization involved in the EMR transition, such as IT, Compliance, Clinical, and Billing will assure that all departments are aware of the changes that will come with the EMR transition and are being kept up to date with important information regarding the transition process. Because leadership intimately knows the daily operations of their department, they can help set attainable goals specific to their department that will help the overall transition and implementation of the new EMR and increase employee’s engagement with the transition process.

Most importantly, diversifying leadership will ensure that your EMR transition is a group effort and will have staff from every departments making critical decisions to make it a smooth process for the entire organization. Holding consistent meetings where discussion crosses departmental silos will ensure current goals are accurate, achievable and being communicated effectively.

Establish effective communication with staff and leadership

Communication is key in every aspect of transitioning to a new EMR. Communication between leadership and staff can be used to identify current pain points in EMR workflows and will help mitigate these when transitioning to a new system and creating new processes. Effective communication also results in effective education – teaching staff the changes in requirements and processes that are essential with the new EMR will help achieve an easy transition and mitigate compliance risks. Champions can hold one-on-one meetings with members of your staff to ensure they have a firm grasp of the current objectives of the transition process and what is needed from them to complete their goals.

By establishing open lines of communication, staff will be more willing to share their main frustrations and challenges with transitioning and adapting to the changes that the new EMR brings, which can avoid other operational issues that may pop up face after the transition. Consider your transition project milestones and create communication plans at each point between leadership and champions, and then champions and staff. Make sure to cover what goals have been reached, what roadblocks the team is facing, and what staff requires from leadership to overcome them.

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