How Ready are You for an EHR? Preliminary Data from AmericanEHR Partners

In the week since the launch of the AmericanEHR Partners website (July 13 – 21, 2010), 69 registered users had already taken the time to complete an EHR Readiness Assessment. (Of these, 9 individuals were existing EHR users and 60 were not yet using an EHR).

While not a large sample, (and recognizing that the results are preliminary), the data is interesting and worthwhile presenting for a number of reasons.

The data that is presented has been collected in near real-time. It is as fresh and as relevant as possible in an environment that seems to be changing on an almost daily basis. As a result, this data is useful as a point of consideration as organizations and the newly formed Regional Extension Centers begin to plan their education and support programs. The results are also useful to help identify key areas of deficiency for non-users of EHRs.

How is the data collected?

The readiness assessment has been designed for completion by clinical and administrative staff in a medical practice. Registered users are invited to answer 20 questions that have been developed to evaluate goals and vision, expectation setting, practice operations, foundational computer skills, practice capacity, financial considerations, EHR selection strategy and privacy. Each of the 20 questions is scored on a scale from 1-5. Upon completion of the Readiness Assessment, a user is presented with an overall score, results for individual questions and a set of recommendations so that the practice (or individual can deal with that deficiency).

What did the preliminary results demonstrate?

Non EHR Users (n=60) scored lowest in relation to the following 7 questions (out of the total 20) listed from lowest score in ascending order. (Lowest score = Greatest deficiency):

  • The practice team has clear and documented expectations about the processes and workflows that will change and those that will remain unchanged after EHR implementation (Score – 2.85/5);
  • My practice has clearly defined goals for implementing an EHR that can be measured following implementation (Score – 3.22/5);
  • The practice is sufficiently stable financially and can withstand a¬†temporary loss of productivity in order to purchase and implement an EHR. (Score – 3.23/5);
  • The practice understands the need to decrease patient load for an initial period of time after implementation of an EHR – approximately 3 months. (Score – 3.38/5);
  • The practice has considered the need for a contracted IT specialist to provide hardware/software/network maintenance services after the EHR system has been implemented. (Score – 3.48/5);
  • My practice has a strategy for decision making and incorporating feedback from clinicians and staff through the EHR selection and implementation process. (Score – 3.48/5);
  • My practice has a good understanding of the process we will follow in order to select an appropriate EHR software vendor. (Score – 3.52/5).

Overall readiness to select and implement an EHR and the ability to financially withstand EHR selection and implementation are areas of deficiency that need to be addressed.

As our data becomes more extensive we will report again on additional elements such as size of practice, specialty and sub-specialty and geographic region.

If you would like more information on the Readiness Assessment and the ability to use this tool for your organization, contact us via email

What are your thoughts on this data? Add your thoughts or comments, by clicking on the ‘Comments’ link below.

This post is the personal opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the American College of Physicians (ACP). ACP does not endorse a specific EHR brand or product and ACP makes no representations, warranties, or assurances as to the accuracy or completeness of the information provided herein.

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