A Comprehensive Guide to Successful EHR Implementation in Schools
How to plan and prepare for an EHR implementation?
As the world continues to evolve and becomes more digitally oriented, there is a need for schools to adopt advanced technology. With the help of these newer technologies, schools can streamline healthcare processes, enhance student health and safety, operational efficiency, and reduce cost.
One major tech advancement we have seen in recent times includes schools implementing Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. As of 2021, nearly 4 in 5 office-based physicians (78%) and nearly all non-federal acute care hospitals (96%) adopted a certified EHR. This marks substantial 10-year progress since 2011 when 28% of hospitals and 34% of physicians had adopted an EHR. The school EHR systems help school nurses, parents, and healthcare providers access a student’s medical history without the hassles of going through tons of paperwork.
So, how does one go about implementing an EHR system in a school environment?
Let’s help you navigate through the whole process, best practices, and answer all your queries on implementing an EHR system in schools.
Implementing an EHR system for schools in the US requires a comprehensive approach that involves several key steps and considerations.
Here’s the list of steps to follow for a successful EHR implementation:
Assess the school’s requirements to determine the most appropriate EHR system.
Selecting the vendor
Choose an EHR vendor that meets the school’s specific requirements and budget.
Developing a comprehensive implementation plan that outlines the project timeline, specific roles and responsibilities, and project budget.
Configure the EHR system to meet the school’s needs and integrate it with existing technology infrastructure.
Training the school staff on how to use the new EHR system.
Migrate the existing student health records to the new EHR system.
Launch the EHR system and monitor for any challenges that may arise.
Identifying specific roles and team structure while implementing an EHR in schools:
The EHR implementation team for schools should consist of key stakeholders including the school’s IT department, administrative staff, school nurses, teachers, and healthcare providers. A project manager should be appointed to oversee the implementation process and ensure that all team members are aligned with the project goals and timeline.
Best practices for EHR implementation
- Involve key stakeholders from the beginning right from the planning process to the implementation process. This helps to ensure that the system is designed to meet the requirements of all stakeholders and that everyone is aligned with the project goals and timeline.
- Develop a comprehensive implementation plan that outlines roles and responsibilities, timelines, budget, and quality assurance measures. This plan should be reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that the project is on track.
- Choose the right EHR vendor that meets the school’s specific requirements and budget. While selecting the vendor consider factors like – system compatibility, data security, customer support, and training resources.
- Customize the EHR system to fit the school’s unique requirements and workflows. This includes configuring user roles and access levels, creating custom forms and templates, and integrating the system with existing technology infrastructure.
- Security and Privacy: One of the most critical aspects to consider when implementing an EHR system in a school is the security and privacy of the data. This includes ensuring that the system is compliant with relevant data protection regulations, such as HIPAA, FERPA, and that appropriate access controls and encryption protocols are in place.
- Establish clear project goals and objectives to ensure that all team members are aligned and working towards the same outcomes. Regularly review progress against these goals and adjust the project plan as necessary.
- Engage stakeholders and build buy-in for the EHR system by communicating its benefits and value proposition. This includes creating a communication plan and providing regular updates on the project’s progress.
- Provide adequate training and support to ensure that users are comfortable with the new EHR system. The training may include online tutorials, in-person training sessions, and ongoing support from the vendor.
- Test the system thoroughly before go-live to identify and resolve any issues. The testing phase includes- user acceptance testing, data migration testing, and stress testing.
- Monitor the system closely after go-live to ensure that it is functioning appropriately and address any user concerns. User concerns can be addressed by collecting user feedback, conducting system audits, and performing regular maintenance and updates.
- Monitor system performance and user feedback continuously to identify opportunities for improvement and ensure that the system is meeting the needs of all stakeholders. Use this feedback to make necessary changes to the system and refine the implementation process for future upgrades.
Common Queries that schools may ask the vendor while implementing an EHR system include:
Schools may be concerned about the cost factor while implementing an EHR system, including the upfront costs of purchasing the system and the ongoing costs of maintenance and support. The cost is mostly dependent on the requirements and customizations asked by the schools, the right vendor can guide you based on the school’s needs.
The security and privacy of student data, particularly compliance with relevant data protection regulations are often major concerns, however, the right vendor will ensure that the system is compliant with relevant data protection regulations.
Integration with existing systems
Schools often have been concerned about the ability of the EHR system to integrate with existing systems, such as student information systems (SIS) and learning management systems (LMS). An ideal EHR system for schools will support your existing system and the user should be able to transition into the new EHR system smoothly. Certain systems may not integrate with your existing systems out of the box. However, if the implementation team is willing to set up the integrations, that would help you move through your processes without a hassle.
User Adoption and Training
The ability of teachers and administrators to effectively use the EHR system, particularly if they are not familiar with using technology in their daily work is often a great concern raised by schools. The right EHR vendor will help you train your staff and other members using the EHR system.
Implementing an EHR system in schools can revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered to students, making it more efficient, accessible, and secure. So, isn’t time to consider implementing an EHR system in your school?
If you want to understand more about what an EHR system can offer to schools, read our School EHR Software comprehensive guide.
Contact us today to learn more about how our EHR solutions can support your school’s healthcare needs and streamline your administrative processes.