Improving the Success Rate of EHR Implementation

For the average person, and it seems for the average politician, it sounds like Electronic Health Records (or Electronic Medical Records) are the answer to our healthcare problems. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Obama’s economic stimulus package) is pouring many billions of dollars to spur their adoption. Yet, there are some very disturbing statistics. According to the April 2006 issue of CIO magazine, the US Department of Health and Human Services acknowledges that the failure rate for EHR systemdeployments is 30 to 50 percent, and some healthcare network providers claim that failure rate is as high as 70%.

More recently, a study of 3000 hospitals by the New England Journal of Medicine that was published on March 26, 2009 stated that “than 2 percent use comprehensive electronic health records (EHRs), and about 8 percent use a basic EHR in at least one care unit that includes physician or nurse notes.”

I think this is a huge opportunity to leverage state-of-the-art strategic management tools and practices to increase the odds of success and to engage the appropriate stakeholder in an “everyone wins” strategy that also strips waste out of the process. Then, the alignment of those many factors need to be pro-actively managed.

Over the years, I’ve worked around this topic in various roles, from working with a provincial government that was striving to deploy Electronic Health Records across their whole province to working with hospitals that are in various stages of deployment. For those who have been reading my blog posts, I’ve started a series on overcoming complexity through strategic management practices. I’ll have some posts that will continue on that general topic, but I’ll be sharing some specific real-world applications of those concepts with regard to applying that theory to Electronic Health Records as well.