Monday, June 25, 2012

Is Your Team Ready for the EMR Transition?

As medical practitioners are preparing to transition from paper patient records to an electronic format, many are considering the cost of this conversion. Many organizations believe that finding the right system is the key to their success. And that is partially true. I agree that knowing which software to use is an integral part of this process. However, the other key component of the EMR mandate is ensuring that your team is ready for the transition. The people who will be responsible for inputting and utilizing the data from the system must be equipped with the skills needed to effectively function using the new system. Obviously, the appropriate training at different levels will be required to ensure a successful transition.
Based on my research, the costs associated with the EMR conversion vary by the size of the practice and the type of system chosen. In some cases, the cost of training, technical support, licensing, etc., are almost as high as the price of the software. As a result, this conversion may incorporate a significant outlay of capital. It is no surprise that physicians and medical facilities are searching for ways to make this conversion less costly.
How to Reduce Your Cost
If you are ready to begin your EMR conversion, but you are still struggling with the cost, consider Florida’s workforce grants. These grants may be used to reduce your cost for the EMR adoption and implementation. The Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) grant assists Florida businesses with improving the job-related skills of their employees. Why does this matter to you? If you plan to implement the EMR format (whether you are required under the mandate or not), you can essentially reduce your training costs by 50 - 75% (up to a maximum of $50,000).
Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) Grant at Work
I am working with a client that is currently in the process of their EMR conversion. They learned that the training cost was a significant part of their software purchase. Ultimately, they were looking at different avenues for reducing these costs. Because under the IWT grant, this type of training was considered to be a "skills upgrade" the client was awarded a grant in the amount of $43,750.
Now you may be thinking, "I hope my training costs are not that significant!" And, depending on the size of your team, it may not be. However, if you haven't begun researching your EMR software, now is probably a good time to start. A part of your research should include finding out what portion of the software cost will be allocated to training. It doesn't matter if your training cost is $50,000 or $8,000. Recouping a portion of that cost will be beneficial to you.
In my next post, I will provide more details about the IWT program requirements. Please feel free to ask questions.