A successful electronic health record (EHR) implementation begins with a practice workflow analysis and redesign. If you are an existing EHR user, use workflow analysis for continual quality improvement. While this process is often challenging, an effective workflow redesign is a key component in improving care coordination using EHRs. If your office lacks an efficient workflow, you might be experiencing lost productivity and extended workdays. A workflow analysis and redesign can help you identify and overcome variation that often leads to inefficiency.
If you need assistance with a workflow redesign in your office, turn to the Texas regional extension centers (RECs). RECs provide on-site support to Texas physicians to help with workflow analysis, EHR selection and implementation, EHR incentives, and meaningful use.
Key Steps to Optimize Workflow Redesign
- Analyze current workflow. Document existing paper workflows in all areas of patient care.
- Ensure physician and staff input regarding roles in current paper workflows. Involve staff members who handle paperwork in the analysis and redesign.
- Review and finalize documentation of current workflow. Ensure that the final diagram incorporates the entire "paper trail."
- Identify waste and opportunities; redesign the workflow. Recognize the steps that should be changed; the workflow redesign will reveal the practice's needs regarding EHR system selection and training.
- Identify and implement the EHR system and new workflow. Enlist the necessary support, and work with the right partner to implement a system that meets the practice's needs; ensure proper EHR implementation through staff training on the new workflow.
- Analyze the new EHR workflow and refine as needed. Monitor the EHR-driven workflow and continue to adjust the workflow to optimize efficiencies.
If you have questions about workflows, EHR incentives, or REC services, contact the TMA Health Information Technology helpline at (800) 880-5720 or by email.
Action, Nov. 15, 2011