By Golly, It Works! EHR Success Story: Part 2

Allison Connelly-Flores, Urban Health Care, Inc, told her story about despair, faith, hope, frustration, jubilation, and, through all of these things, success.

Beyond Implementation: Using Electronic Records in Innovative Ways

I’ve sat in on EHR horror stories, implementation procedures, and all other sorts of ideas and advice for choosing an EHR. However, many physicians have already taken the step to implement a system, and some have actually not failed at it…yet, anyway. So, for those out there who are either chugging along with an EHR or who have failed once and have since gotten back on the horse, this one’s for you.

In part 2, Allison Connelly-Flores, Clinical Systems Administrator, Urban Health Care, Inc, stepped up to the podium to tell a story about despair, faith, hope, frustration, jubilation, and, through all of these things, success. Like many others, she went through an unsuccessful EHR implementation, however she was able to channel that frustration into a learning experience to make sure that the second time around things went smoothly, quickly, and without many bumps in the road. She admits that the first time around, there were many warning signs that the chosen EHR was not going to be successful for Urban Health Care, which has three facilities in the Bronx. Once the sale was complete, the vendor was unreliable when it came to technical support, the functionality of the EHR didn't accomodate the facilities' needs, etc. However, Connelly-Flores did what many probably would not--she recognized the failure and rather than try and force it, abandoned the system and focused on implementing one that would work, and was able to do just that in 10 weeks.

There are a couple reasons she was able to accomplish this so quickly. One was that she helped those around her learn the EHR by implementing "Hot Seat" meetings, where providers would be called upon to complete certain processes that they had been taught. She also identified in-house trainers early on, and taught physicians how to improve their computer skills (some of which, she said, were unfamiliar with how to double click).

Another reason for the sucess the second time around (and perhaps the most influential reason) was a brilliant incentive package that was proposed to the providers who were using the new EHR. By engaging in their community and submitting themselves to performance review and patient evaluations, providers at Urban Health Care now make, on average, $22,000 a year in incentive bonuses. And this money is generated in large part, according to Connelly-Flores, to the increased number of patient visits that are no doubt a result of better and more efficient patient care.

The moral of the story is: With a little motivation, some added innovation, and a desire to enhance patient care, any organization can utilize an EHR to create a positive cycle that makes everyone happier and, hopefully, healthier.