In the five years since most U.S. hospitals reached Stage 4 on the HIMSS EMR Adoption Model scale – the stage at which clinical decision support capabilities begin to make substantial benefits possible, most hospitals have not realized these benefits. The increased costs of operating more sophisticated EHRs leave some hospitals further behind financially, leading critics to claim that EHRs have been a huge waste of time and money. This paper “EHR Benefits: Unlocking the Secrets of Successful Organizations” compares the EHR implementation and optimization methods of health systems that do and do not achieve measurable strategic benefits and shows how any organization can drive value from their EHR investment.
Doug Thompson, Chartis Principal and co-author of the paper noted, “Those organizations that secure strategic benefits from their EHR investments are those that do a superior job of planning, designing, building, implementing and optimizing their EHRs, beginning with the premise behind their purchase.”
After reviewing the cases of hundreds of hospitals in scores of health systems and from their experience working with several hundred other hospitals, the authors identified the practices that allow successful providers to realize strategic benefits from their EHR initiatives, including:
Commit to a “Short List” of Strategic Benefits
Organizations that get measurable value from their IT investments are those that purchase technology to achieve specific strategic outcomes and manage the implementation and subsequent optimization to deliver those outcomes.
Clearly Define Benefit Mechanisms
The most significant EHR benefits are not the result of merely implementing and operating the system (automation); instead, they result from using new EHR capabilities to change the way work is done (innovation).
Establish Formal Organization and Governance
Without a formal structure, benefits realization is left to chance. Dedicated resources, well-defined roles and robust governance are required to maximize EHR benefits.
Implement an “Operational” Measurement System
Benefit measurement is important to guide the ongoing improvement efforts that produce EHR benefits. If you don’t measure it, you won’t achieve it.
Tonya Edwards, MD, Chartis principal and co-author of the paper said, “While the majority of health system EHRs have not delivered on the clinical and business objectives of their technology investments, there is ample evidence that with clear goals, careful planning, good governance, and ongoing measurement and commitment, any organization can expect substantial benefits from EHR use.”
About The Chartis Group
The Chartis Group® (Chartis) provides comprehensive advisory services and analytics to the healthcare industry. With an unparalleled depth of expertise in strategic planning, performance excellence, informatics and technology, and health analytics, Chartis helps leading academic medical centers, integrated delivery networks, children’s hospitals and healthcare service organizations achieve transformative results. Chartis has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis and San Francisco. For more information, visit www.chartis.com.