When a healthcare facility is transitioning to a new electronic health records (EHR) system, it’s crucial that the software is strategically implemented and optimized, allowing the facility to fully benefit from the application with improved workflows that will help deliver world-class patient care. It also helps organizations to reach a return on investment as efficiently as possible.
Throughout the process, key decisions will need to be made about the EHR implementation process. One of the earliest will be whether to partner with an EHR consulting company or rely upon the healthcare facility’s in-house IT team.
Partnering With an EHR Consulting Company
Let’s explore the potential advantages and disadvantages of this choice.
Numerous benefits exist when you partner with the right EHR consulting company. When you choose a quality agency like HealthTECH Resources, you gain seamless access to a team of experienced professionals with the expertise and specialized knowledge you need. They can provide the guidance you require from start to finish: from choosing an EHR software vendor, if that hasn’t already taken place, through system configuration and customization to switching over to the live application, cutting-edge cybersecurity techniques, and more. With quality consultants, you can also count on efficient project management with experts who carefully adhere to timelines and budgets.
Issues to consider when partnering with an EMR consulting company include fees charged and how those costs will fit within your budget for the implementation project. You’ll also need to consider how to effectively communicate and coordinate with an external partner with some EMR consulting companies more effective at this than others.
Utilizing an In-House Team for EHR Implementation
When you rely solely on your in-house IT team for your implementation project, just like when you choose an EMR consulting company, there are advantages and disadvantages.
First, you would have direct control over the process and its associated decision-making. This could allow you to more precisely align with your organizational goals, workflows, and culture given that your in-house team has an in-depth understanding of and commitment to them.
Plus, if desirable and practical, your healthcare organization could focus resources on internal skill development, enhancing your in-house IT team’s experience with EHR implementations. That way, they would be knowledgeable about the processes and better prepared for future upgrades. Long-term, this has the potential to reap cost savings.
Drawbacks of in-house implementations also exist. They include not having enough staff to optimally manage the implementation and still handle ongoing tasks. If there is enough staff, they may not have the specialties required for the project.
If you decide to train your in-house staff instead of using an EMR consulting company, you’ll need to plan for learning curves and possible missteps along the way. This approach also puts an increased amount of responsibility on your healthcare organization’s internal teams as they plan, coordinate, and manage the implementation.
A hybrid choice utilizes the best of both options by reaping the benefits of partnering with an EHR consulting company and, at the same time, training an in-house team on implementation best practices, strategies, and techniques.
Considerations for Decision Making
So, which is better? It depends upon your organization, including your timeline, available human resources, and budget. Let’s say, for example, your in-house IT staff already has the expertise required to fully implement the software and still have time to continue their other tasks. That’s a very different situation than one where significant EHR implementation training would need to occur and the IT team already has their hands full with current projects. Additional factors would include the level of urgency for the implementation and your in-house team’s ability to manage the project with high levels of cybersecurity.
To make your decision, it’s important to thoroughly assess your specific needs and compare them to available resources, including your human talent, budget, and time. This can involve listing each of your in-house experts, their specialties, and the important tasks that they perform for your healthcare organization. How much time does each take? How does that compare to the overall time in their schedule? Be sure to factor in the meetings they attend and include wiggle room for work-related challenges.
Through this analysis, you can gain a better understanding of your in-house team’s bandwidth and their ability to take on significant new projects. You may decide that some of their projects are no longer necessary or that some can get pushed to next quarter or even to next year. Or, you may discover that your team is already overloaded.
Summary of Pros and Cons: EHR Consulting Companies and In-House IT Teams
Although each situation is unique, there are three overarching facts:
- Effective EHR implementation is vital for streamlining your workflows to boost opportunities for patient care and for creating a cost-efficient environment for that to occur: today, tomorrow, and in the future.
- To achieve optimal implementation, it’s crucial for your healthcare organization to carefully consider the pros and cons of working with an EMR consulting company and those associated with using your in-house team for implementation.
- To accomplish this, it is important to have a clear understanding of your in-house team’s bandwidth; where flexibility exists; and when they’re at capacity.
HealthTECH Resources is here to help! Our outstanding leadership can perform a staff analysis for your healthcare organization, identifying gaps and otherwise helping you to create a highly effective staff supplementation plan. This will allow you to benefit from the skills and experience of your in-house team while filling in the gaps in premiere ways.
Choose HealthTECH Resources for Your EHR Consulting Company
Our exceptional EHR consulting company is a boutique-style agency with more than twenty years of experience in delivering exceptional services. Experts in the HealthTECH Resources network are available as consultants, contract to hire professionals, and permanent placements. To discuss your needs and find the first-in-class professionals you need for a stellar EHR implementation, please contact us online or call us at (602) 903-7961.
PRESIDENT/CEO AT HEALTHTECH RESOURCES
Larry has specialized in building strategic healthcare relationships for over 25 years, helping the nation’s top payors and providers solve some of their most pressing business challenges through an intelligent mix of staffing services, training, and consulting.