How Long Does It Take To Implement An Ehr System

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If you're a practice owner or office manager, you know how challenging it can be to keep up with patient records using paper-based systems and archives. 

Managing schedules, test results, prescriptions, billing, and other data with binders and filing cabinets is inefficient and prone to errors. That's why thousands of clinics have made the switch to electronic health records (EHRs) over the past decade.

At Calysta EMR, we specialize in helping practices of all sizes transition to our intuitive, cloud-based EHR platform. 

We know change can be daunting, which is why we're with you every step of the way. Our experienced implementation team will collaborate with you to customize workflows, provide exceptional training, migrate data, and ensure a smooth transition at your own pace.

How Long Does it Take to Implement an EHR System?

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Implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system is a major undertaking that requires careful planning and consideration. The timeline for EHR implementation can vary widely depending on the size and complexity of your healthcare organization. However, most implementations take between 6 months to 2 years from initial planning to go-live.

Here is an overview of the EHR implementation process and what you can expect at each stage:

What are the steps in implementing an EHR system?

A typical EHR implementation follows these key steps:

  1. Planning - This involves defining goals, assembling an implementation team, choosing a system, and developing a project timeline. Thorough planning is crucial to support a smooth rollout.
  2. System configuration - The EHR software is installed and configured to meet the workflow needs of your practice. Customization ensures the system matches your clinical protocols.
  3. Testing - The system is tested to uncover any issues before go-live. Testing verifies that the EHR works as intended.
  4. Training - Your staff is trained on using the new system. Training facilitates user adoption and ensures employees understand the workflow changes.
  5. Go-live - The system goes live and your practice begins using the EHR for patient care. Extra staff support is critical during the transition period.
  6. Optimization - You evaluate system performance and refine workflows. Optimization activities continue periodically after implementation.

What is the timeline for implementing an EHR system?

Most EHR implementations take between 6 months to 2 years. Smaller practices may implement in 6-12 months, while larger hospitals require 18-24+ months. The key factors impacting timeline length include:

  • Organization size and complexity
  • Customization and integration needs
  • Scope of workflow changes
  • Staff training needs
  • Leadership involvement and resource allocation

A phased rollout over several months is common for larger healthcare systems. This allows more time for training and change management. Creating a detailed project plan and timeline is essential.

What is the typical order of an EHR rollout?

The typical order of an EHR rollout is outlined in the table below:

Phase 1Back-Office FunctionsThis phase focuses on functions like billing and reporting. This allows the team to get used to the system.
Phase 2Nursing Departmental SystemsThe rollout extends to nursing departmental systems like eMAR and clinical documentation. Nurses use the system for charting.
Phase 3Physician Departmental SystemsThe rollout now includes physician departmental systems like CPOE and clinical decision support. Doctors start using the EHR.
Phase 4Inpatient and Ambulatory SettingsFull EHR go-live across inpatient and ambulatory settings. All departments now use the integrated EHR.

Staggering the rollout by function and department allows for sufficient testing and training at each stage. Starting with billing and administrative functions can also help recoup costs faster.

What guiding principles should be followed for EMR implementation?

Follow these guiding principles for effective EMR implementation:

  • Get strong leadership commitment and support
  • Involve clinical staff early and often
  • Foster realistic expectations for workflow changes
  • Dedicate ample time for training and adoption
  • Plan for post go-live support and optimization
  • Monitor implementation progress and milestones
  • Emphasize patience, flexibility, and communication

Following best practices like these lays the groundwork for EHR success. Making the implementation clinician-driven and supportive fosters engagement.

What are the options for EHR implementation?

Healthcare organizations have a few main options for EHR implementation:

  1. Turn-key implementation: The EHR vendor leads most aspects of the implementation using an established process. This offers less customization.
  2. Hybrid implementation: Responsibilities are shared between the healthcare provider and vendor. Allows for more flexibility.
  3. Self-implementation: The provider organization manages the implementation using their own IT resources. The most complex option.

The right approach depends on your IT capabilities, budget, and need for system personalization. Many choose a hybrid model to balance customization with vendor expertise.

Bring Your Healthcare Practice into the Digital Age with Calysta EMR

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By partnering with your practice from start to finish, we empower you to see faster ROI, less disruption, and greater clinician adoption. Our EHR improves productivity, billing accuracy, patient satisfaction, and regulatory compliance.

Schedule a demo today to learn how Calysta EMR can solve your pain points and take your practice to the next level. Our solution will have you up and running quickly so you can focus on quality care. 

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