“I’m Ready For EMR; But I Don’t Think My Staff Is”

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This is an actual quote from one our EMR clients that successfully deployed the EMR and convinced her staff members that this is a good thing. At PrognoCIS, we hear stories similar to this all of the time. I can boil this sort of resistance into this phrase: Arrogance, Ignorance and Turf Protection. Let’s dissect these separately and how to overcome each and maintain or even build a successful medical practice. Not every staff member is open to this sort of change. As a part of President Barack Obama’s Administration, he has stated publicly many times, that one of the goals he has set for the USA, is that medical practices will be using an Electronic Medical Records, and the days of traditional paper charting are literally numbered. The timeline of a term “within five years” as a term is aggressive, as an ideal it is a terrific plan. But how can you handle a staff not ready for EMR.

Arrogance:

“I can do my job better than that computer software because I know our patients and our work flow better than that system”.

While every medical practice tries to hire the best staff available to assist the doctors and fit in with the culture of the office; sometimes there are personality conflicts. Sometimes that personality conflict comes to light due to self preservation by thinking they can stay on top of all of the changes happening in the industry. There are too new drugs being introduced to the patients and potential for new drug interactions with current medications and allergies etc. Statistically the number of prescription related incidences per year should dictate the desire to protect your practice by having an up to date drug data base with all potential drug reactions, interactions and side affects currently known. This example might shed some light on the personality behavior known in the arrogance category.

Ignorance:

“We will never go to EMR; what exactly can an EMR do for us, and how will it affect my job”?

Not understanding all of the benefits of an EMR can help in the reasoning for a slow adoption of EMR, by most US physician practices. The idea of EMR is new and uncharted for so many practices. There are a variety of resources available for education on the software and its benefits to the practice. Patient care and better efficiency once the process is learned and running smoothly is the primary benefit.

Turf Protection:

“We don’t need that, it will never work here”.

This is an attitude of a person acting in their own interest and not that of the practice ongoing success. Many different types of people try to deliberately sabotage a new project. A large variety of reasons exist for this behavior. Could they lack of desire to learn something new? Comfortable in their current ways & unwilling to change? Afraid that they will loose their job by being replaced with this technology? Many reasons do exist. How to overcome this behavior? Communication with your staff is paramount. The US Federal Government is in discussions of incentives and potential mandates. There are even states in the US that have self imposed mandates. This idea of conversion to EMR is a reality in the year 2009. The industry is going in the EMR direction. Welcome EMR with open arms and go kicking and screaming, but it does look like there will be a strong push to this HealthCare Information Technology. To coin a cliché’ “Your attitude will project you altitude”. Embrace this technology and make it work for you and your practice. You future depends on it.

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