What is the Role of an EHR Consultant?

role of an ehr consultantThe term “EHR consultant” is broad, encompassing a wide range of professionals with the knowledge and in-depth skill sets in implement, integrate, and optimize electronic health record (EHR) applications such as these:

EHR consultants often have other areas of expertise, such as the ability to train end users in the application, create workstation manuals, clean and transition data, bolster application security, troubleshoot problems, transition the application for live usage, and offer post-live support. You can even hire an EHR consulting professional at the start of the process to help your organization select the right software or for overall project management.

In short, the consultant’s role is to enhance and supplement a healthcare organization’s IT team, filling in the skills gaps in strategic ways that dovetail with their areas of expertise. Depending on the application, EHR consultants may be assisting hospitals, emergency care centers, physician organizations, assisted living centers, or pharmacies to name a few possibilities.

A consultant may work on site at your healthcare facilities or remotely, depending upon job duties and preferences. An EHR consulting professional may work with one client at a time or juggle multiple ones, again depending upon situational specifics.

Benefits of Choosing the Right EHR Consultant

When electronic medical record (EMR) software is optimally implemented and users are effectively trained, then organizations can benefit from streamlined usage that leads to more productivity—which in turn frees up more time to focus on patient care. As reimbursements go up and revenue cycles are shortened, this enhances cash flow and the bottom line, which allows your facilities to realize return on investment more quickly.

EHR consulting companies provide these types of professionals—and, at HealthTECH, our highly experienced team will even help you to analyze staffing gaps before seamlessly filling them in, often within 48 hours, even with stringent requirements.

To realize these benefits, organizations may need multiple consultants. To help, here are brief explanations of EHR specialties that you may need to efficiently install and use your new technology.

EHR Implementation, Integration, and Optimization Experts

Within this category of EHR consulting, professionals can possess a variety of expertise types (from general to niche). Some consultants excel in helping healthcare organizations to create project goals and timelines to mesh within budgets, and then divide them into specific tasks with deadlines.

Other consultants may specialize in analyzing your organization’s processes and workflows, along with workplace culture, and then determine what EHR configurations and customizations will seamlessly dovetail with your procedures. Still others may identify pitfalls and optimize the application in ways to avoid them, providing maximum usage of your healthcare facility’s technology investment.

Data Migration Professionals

When your healthcare organization is transitioning from another EHR brand—or an EMR system or even paper records—EHR consulting experts can help to appropriately clean, analyze, de-duplicate, archive, and transfer data. In some implementations, this process can be quite complex with multiple issues to consider with an experienced consultant able to navigate the steps to preserve data integrity.

Training and Process Documentation Consultants

Some consultants specialize in providing training sessions, which is especially important with EHR systems because of the customizations available in the software. Professional trainers can gather information about your organization’s unique needs, including facility workflows, and then create engaging and interactive training programs that are perfectly tailored to how you’ll use your new EHR technology. Consultants can craft programs for each end user type in a facility or train super users (in-house IT department members) who can train other teams.

Consultants can also fulfill process documentation roles, capturing documentation that your facilities can use for training purposes; as workstation manuals; in onboarding materials; as refresher programs; and more.

Go-Live and Post-Live Support

There are some consultants that specialize in EHR go-live and post-live support, this particular niche of the process prepares an organization for going live with their new application, ensuring that all is fully prepped for the red letter day. This can involve application setup testing, checking in with people with diverse roles to make sure that all items on their check lists are complete, and more. Some consultants provide post-go-live support since application use can feel different in a live (versus a testing/training) environment.

Choosing the Right EHR Consultants

EHR consultants specialize in a wide range of aspects within the EHR software implementation process. Consultants who focus on helping healthcare organizations to choose the best brand for their needs will have knowledge of multiple systems while other professionals will focus on gaining in-depth knowledge of a particular system, such as Epic or Cerner.

What’s most important is to analyze your own in-house IT team to identify gaps where consultants can be most helpful for your facilities. If you discover that your team doesn’t have all of the specialties required for an optimal implementation of a modern EHR solution, that’s not unusual. After all, this isn’t a project that a facility regularly undertakes.

As part of this analysis, list your team members, their specialties, and what projects they are assigned to (or will be in the near future). Would pulling some of them off of their current tasks to work on the EHR project work well? Or would some initiatives need to be sidetracked? Is that acceptable?

If you need to right-size your team and fill in staffing gaps, you’ll likely turn to a company that can fill EHR implementation and support role—and, when you contact HealthTECH Resources, our experienced team can assist in your analysis to create an optimal staff augmentation strategy.

HealthTECH Resources: EHR Consulting Company of Choice

At HealthTECH Resources, you will benefit from exactly the right consultants to supplement your team, also having the option to select contract-to-hire professionals and permanent placements. Our boutique-style agency specializes in just one niche—the healthcare IT/EMR/EHR space—and we have extensive networks, extremely well connected to the professionals you need to optimize your EHR applications and position yourself to truly deliver world-class health care services. To get started, please contact us online or call (602) 903-7961.