Choosing the Right Partner for Your EHR Implementation

Are implementation leadership vendors still necessary? Absolutely.

True, we aren’t seeing the same push in EHR implementation that we did over the last 10 years as a result of meaningful use and legislation such as the HITECH Act of 2009. But implementation leadership vendors to this day play an essential role in providing necessary resources and expertise to set your organization up for EHR success.

We see implementation leadership services being needed the most in three scenarios:

  1. An organization might decide to move to a new EMR and need help with that process.
  2. An organization might be implementing a major upgrade that requires a lot of hands-on guidance.
  3. An organization might go through a merger or acquisition within health systems who have different EHRs.

To help you make your implementation decisions, KLAS recently published the Implementation Leadership 2020 report.

What to Consider in an EHR Implementation

There are many factors to consider when deciding on an implementation leadership vendor:

  • Size of the organization
  • Complexity of the project
  • Budget
  • Type of software to be implemented
  • Time frame
  • Number of necessary internal vs. external resources

In the full report, you can see how many of these factors might affect the overall client response and satisfaction levels for any particular implementation leadership vendor.

New MEDITECH Professional Services

While this space is not as energetic as it might have been 10 years ago, implementation leadership services still have the potential to change and evolve.

One change we are seeing in the space is MEDITECH’s announcement of their professional services. In 2019, MEDITECH made the call that they would start offering their own line of professional services, including implementation leadership, by the end of the year.

It is still too early for us to share performance data, so data on these services are not reflected in the report, but we are in the process of gathering data on MEDITECH’s early projects. We are excited to see how these new services could positively impact the implementation leadership and professional services spaces in the future.

Cerner Revamp of EHR Implementation Process

Another exciting change in the implementation leadership space is that Cerner is revamping their implementation process.

The new process involves more up-front work, a different training process, and a better identification of the cadence for communication. With the new process, Cerner is trying to understand specific baselines that are needed for organizations to get from one point to another.

Cerner is working to provide a better experience for their customers, and the early insights we have seen in this process from customers are showing a positive trend in overall performance. While Cerner is still trying to allow for customization in the process, it seems like they are trying to be more prescriptive in their guidance, which will hopefully have a positive impact on Cerner customers.

We have already seen a change in provider responses from those who worked with the old process to those who worked with the new one, as shown in the data in the Implementation Leadership 2020 report.

How Big Is Your Project?

The size and complexity of an implementation project can impact the implementation process and should be considered when choosing an implementation leadership vendor.

There are a few third-party vendors, such as Accenture or Deloitte, who are reported to help healthcare organizations with really large, complex projects. These and other third-party vendors mainly work with large clinics, hospitals, and IDNs. These vendors usually have a broader bench and a higher level of expertise for those kinds of projects than a different implementation leadership vendor that focuses on smaller projects might have.

However, these vendors’ services are often more costly, so budgetary restraints also have to be kept in mind when picking an implementation leadership vendor.

EHR Implementation Still a Crucial Market

It is important to note that even though a provider might employ a third-party implementation leadership vendor, the prescriptive hand of the software vendor will practically always help to guide a successful EHR implementation. That is especially the case with big software companies, such as Cerner, MEDITECH, and Epic, who provide guidelines and best practices to the implementation firms.

As said before, we might be past the highest energy point for this market segment, but the implementation leadership vendors are still crucial to the market.

Right now, we are seeing the most growth in the areas of major upgrades, such as the implementation of MEDITECH’s new Expanse platform, and mergers and acquisitions, when everyone needs to be brought on the same platform.

The EHR will continue to evolve and hopefully become better and more efficient for health providers. Though it does seem that there isn’t an immediate need for the EHR to do so, as there was in 2009 with meaningful use.

Still, we are optimistic about the continual improvement of EHRs, and we look forward to seeing how implementation leadership vendors will take any major changes in stride.

Check out our full Implementation Leadership 2020 report to learn more.



Photo Credit: Adobe Stock, rudall30