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EHR Implementation: The Who, What, and Why of Governance Structures

Posted by The HCI Group on November 11, 2016 at 3:57 PM

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While many healthcare facilities realize the benefits that an EHR implementation implementation can provide their organization, several of them have trouble creating an internal support and governance structure. However, an efficient and effective governance structure can go a long way in contributing to the lasting success of a new EHR.

In today’s post, HIT and EHR leader Kelly Dungee discusses who should make up your governance team, what goes into a governance structure, and why they are vital during an EHR implementation project.

1) Who Makes up your Governance Team?

There will be a mix of individuals on your governance team, and it is important to choose someone from each affected entity, department unit, and business unit. Usually, there will be a project manager, a steering committee, a support team, and various other individuals with leadership positions within your organization who make up your governance team. It will be important to consider high level individuals to be on the governance team (department chairs, directors, operating level resources), due to the fact that these individuals will know exactly what their respective areas in the health system should be looking to gain through the implementation of the new EHR on an operational level.

For example, the Radiology Department may feel that the ER doesn’t send patients to radiology fast enough, and can work to see how the EHR can help show them when these patients will be ready. In addition to having a mix of individuals from different departments and areas within the organization, it will also be important to have a mix of individuals, ranging from those who are enthusiastic and excited for the change, to those who are not sure and against the change. This diversity will help unify your organization while implementing the new EHR, as those with concerns will be able to express them, and those who are optimistic can share how they believe the EHR will benefit the organization as a whole.

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2) What Makes up Your Governance Structure?

Governance consists of a group of individuals beyond the named champions that represent their departments and business units, and directs organizational concerns into the hierarchy of the EHR Implementation project. When organizations have difficulty making a decision, it will come up through this hierarchy, where ultimately the project manager or steering committee decides what is going to happen. A governance structure will comprise of a strong base of end users that can help to improve the effectiveness and support for the EHR.

An important thing to keep in mind when it comes to governance is that difficulties and conflict that can be resolved by the lowest levels should be resolved by the lowest levels. Ultimately, the role of governance structures is to help smooth the process of an EHR Implementation by making these decisions for the better of the organization, so that focus can shift to the implementation itself.

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3) Why is a Governance Team So Important?

Strong support models will be vital to the success of an EHR implementation. It is not common for organizations to have the resources necessary for members of your staff to take on the various different responsibilities that an EHR implementation will require in order to be successful. Deploying, managing, training, and supporting during the implementation will require engaging available resources throughout the organization. Governance teams allow end users and department leaders to work in conjunction with the IT department in order to support the new EHR. It encourages growth within the new system, and allows for different areas of the organization to work together to both improve and expand within the new EHR.

During an EHR implementation, one of the first things that should be taken care of is the formation of a governance structure. By bringing together different areas of leadership to work together to support and build the new EHR, your organization will be much more likely to have a dynamic EHR deployment. This facility-wide collaboration will help different areas identify how the new EHR will not only benefit them, but the healthcare system as a whole.

For more information on EHR implementations, make sure to check out the next episode of our Monday Morning Podcast series on Monday, November 14, where Kelly Dungee goes over the role of leadership during an EHR implementation.

Topics: EHR Implementation

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