Whether you’re setting up a new electronic health record (EHR) system in your current facility, or working on plans for outfitting a new clinic or hospital wing, it’s important to keep in mind specific items related to implementing the EHR successfully.
In a clinical setting, the EHR is more than just another computer setup. As you do your planning and purchasing, be sure to keep these six considerations in mind:
1. Technology setup
The first obvious area you’ll need to deal with is the technology setup itself. This involves your internal network connections, power supply solutions, software setup, and connectivity to the outside world. Having technology support to ensure this is planned for properly is key to your system being usable when you flip the switch. While these are generally under the purview of the IT service, clinical departments need to be involved as well.
2. Workstation setup
While your IT service will provide expertise on the computers, servers, software and internet connectivity items, where the equipment is physically set up in the clinical setting takes more than technical understanding. Consider where you’ll need wall-mounted workstations versus portable workstations. You probably want a combination of both to enable dealing with patients most efficiently.
Tablet carts provide an easy mobile workstation and may be a better solution than carrying a laptop or tablet from room to room. For mounting the computer screen at a stationary workstation, consider a swivel arm so that it can be readjusted easily and moved appropriately while working with patients.
3. Peripherals setup
Again, you need more than technical knowledge when thinking about where to put your scanners, printers, label printers, and fax machine. Make sure you’ve thought through different patient scenarios, and look at the traffic flow through your unit or office when deciding where and how to install your peripherals.
Installing a fax machine and printer at your reception desk is sensible, but also think about other areas that need peripherals. A label printer near your lab and a regular printer at your checkout desk are important to plan for as well.
4. Infection control
The biggest difference between installing an EHR and installing any other computer system is that infection control is a major component in this arena. After planning your workstations and peripherals, look at where you’ll need keyboard covers, screen protectors, and other infection prevention devices.
With all facility setups, especially where technology is concerned, extra accessories can make a huge difference in how usable the system is. Walk through the space and imagine using the tools while dealing with patients. Having things like wire baskets and scanner holders can help keep tools easily accessible, yet out of the way when not being used. Having a holder for sanitary wipes on your mobile workstation can be a big benefit when making rounds.
6. Product Specialists
When implementing your EHR you’ll obviously need IT support, but you may also want to consider having a clinical Product Specialist involved as well. In addition to helping you procure the equipment, a Product Specialist can provide guidance on what is needed, and provide support with the actual assembly and installation. After the project is finished, they can provide ongoing support and help with additional purchases, upgrades, or replacement products when needed.
CME is a full service medical equipment distributor with a full staff of Product Specialists focusing on providing equipment for new construction, facility expansions and remodeling. With a wide range of health IT equipment and services, we can support your EHR implementation from planning to install and beyond. Contact us for more information.