No matter how robust, no matter how many bells and whistles an EMR system has, efficient implementation and execution will not occur without a high degree of physician buy in. The problem then becomes “How do we attain physician buy-in?”
With apologies for an admittedly broad generalization, physicians tend to be creatures of habit. They are protective of their routine and often quite set in their current modes of operation. The probability of failure increases with the amount of change a physician is required to make in his or her own daily practice style. Physicians – like the rest of us – can feel threatened by new technology and their perceived loss of control can have deleterious effects on productivity and employee morale.
One approach to avoid the problem and gain acceptance of a new information system is to integrate the physician’s practice style with the new tool so that when implementation occurs, the physician has a choice of how he or she will interact with it. As the fruits of implementation such as productivity and efficiency begin to ripen, and if the physician has not had to alter his or her practice style dramatically, acceptance should fall into place.
A second approach to achieving physician acceptance is to identify a physician champion or visionary, at the outset, who serves to set the parameters by which implementation occurs. This person is integral in the sense that they identify the decision making committee, solicit structured feedback and create rules such as the extent of customization. This person serves as the point of contact for the practice and both organizes and evaluates the implementation process. Without a champion, the drive for completion diminishes. Without drive, invested dollars are likely to see little in the way of return.