Last week, we spoke with East Bay Pediatrics' Dr. Rick Oken, who attributed his practice's financial success over the past six months to the efficiencies within PCC EHR.
This week, we focus on what Dr. Oken says were the necessary ingredients behind the successful implementation of PCC EHR at his practice:
“You need to have a champion on site when you go into it, and making the decision to implement has to be a group decision,” said Dr. Oken. “You can't have six people who love it and two who bad-mouth it.”
Oken's stance is echoed by most successful EHR users and by software implementation staff at PCC, who emphasize the “T” in team when advising PCC practices during the PCC EHR implementation process. “When you identify a team, it should be a cross-representation of staff and clinicians so it fosters a practice-wide investment in EHR,” said Lisa Legge, PCC's software implementation manager. “You want people to feel included, not as if this has been pushed on them.”
Legge also stressed the importance of choosing a team leader, or EHR champion, who oversees and keeps the whole project on point, as well as maintains a level of enthusiasm that translates to everyone within the practice.
At East Bay Pediatrics, Dr. Christina Vo acted as the engine that powered her office's EHR implementation. She oversaw and met weekly with committees that focused on different aspects of implementation, such as scanning and charting. She also made sure each committee included physicians, nurses and business staff. “I think it went well in that as we started, we had a really good group of active and involved people who became our super trainers,” Dr. Vo said. “We did a lot of leg work ahead of time so we'd have things in place when we actually went live.”
In the last sixth months with PCC EHR, East Bay Pediatrics has experienced an increase in clinician productivity, as well as increased revenue through improved coding and charge-entry accuracy. While the clinical guidance within the structure of PCC EHR has much to do with the revenue boost, Dr. Vo's leadership and clinical expertise paved the way for a smooth transition among clinicians and staff who use the system, said Dr. Oken.
Dr. Vo's creation of basic clinical protocols for well and sick visits and various clinical situations, such as a new teen protocol for anorexia, said Dr. Oken, are easily-adaptable and have been user-friendly among East Bay's nine pediatricians.
Whether EHR champions are partner physicians or office managers, the role must be filled by someone who has the time to devote to the process. “He or she must be completely committed to doing the work,” Dr. Vo told us in last October, shortly after East Pay Pediatrics went live with PCC EHR. “Starting in August until now, I've spent three extra hours a day working on this.”
Added PCC's Legge, “Like Dr. Vo, EHR champions are respected by everyone at the practice,” she said. “ They are good communicators, good listeners and they can see the big picture, rather than just focusing on their part.”