How to Change Your EHR System
The mental health field is famously resistant to change. It’s both ironic and challenging. Because clinicians often expect their clients to be open to change, they struggle to embrace it, particularly when transitioning from paper charts to electronic systems. If you or your staff find yourselves in this situation, it’s crucial to understand how to change your EHR system or even transition to an electronic system from paper.
Here are three steps to help you navigate this process:
Step 1: Reflect on Your Attitude
Begin by assessing whether you are communicating resistance to adopting an electronic system for behavioral health. In many agencies considering the switch to electronic health records (EHR), some clinicians and administrative staff may feel apprehensive about giving up the familiarity of paper and being required to change their methods. If your staff is hesitant or even hostile towards this change, they will likely find fault with the proposed system.
Before expecting or pressuring your team to embrace the transition, examine your own attitude towards it. Be self-aware if you feel coerced into using electronic records due to industry standards, financial incentives, or any other reason. Your attitude can significantly impact the implementation process. Take the time to truly commit to this change before expecting your staff to follow suit. If you are not fully confident about the new system, your staff will sense your hesitation, which may hinder the process. Start by addressing your resistance and ensure that you fully support the decision before approaching your employees.
Step 2: Harness the Power of Positive Expectations
Our expectations shape our reality. Be honest with yourself about your fears, hopes, and expectations regarding implementing an EHR in your practice. Setting the expectation that you will calmly and confidently address any issues that arise from the transition will significantly enhance the chances of a smooth rollout.
Consider different scenarios that may unfold when you share your decision with the team and set realistic expectations about their reactions so that you can prepare accordingly:
- How will you respond if your staff resists the requirement?
- What if the implementation process becomes challenging or dramatic?
- How will you handle team members who feel threatened or perceive your decision as a personal critique of their current practices?
- What if everyone is excited about the potential benefits of the switch?
- Are there colleagues you can rely on to support and assist resistant employees during the transition?
- How can you assign specific tasks to different team members to honor their feelings while utilizing their strengths?
Utilize your therapist toolbox to prepare positive responses and constructive solutions to potential reactions. Remember to tap into the power of the mind to foster a supportive staff response at your agency.
Step 3: Focus on Logistics
Addressing the practical aspects of implementing an electronic behavioral health system can help alleviate your staff’s anxiety. Providing them with clear information about the transition process can help alleviate their fears. For example, demonstrating to a biller that their job won’t be eliminated but rather transformed into a new skill set for electronic invoicing can alleviate fear-based hostility.
Further, outline the training process and long-term customer support the EHR offers. Assure your staff that their jobs are secure, provide training dates, specify the timeline for successful system usage, and explain the ongoing support available. Doing so may gain allies among your staff during the transition.
Step 4: Provide Support
Lastly, be strategic in providing support to your staff throughout the transition. They will likely be expected to continue working while switching systems, which can be stressful. The more information you can provide about the implementation, rollout, training, and the actual switching process, the better prepared and supported they will feel.
As a mental health professional, you understand the importance of making others feel seen, heard, and valued, especially during challenging times. Extend that same understanding to yourself and your team for a more successful transition experience.
For additional resources and tools, visit our EHR Resource Center. If you’re interested in how PIMSY can save time, reduce expenses, and maximize profitability for your agency, please contact us at 877.334.8512, ext 1 or email@example.com.