Teri Kovach on What to Do During an EMR Disruption

A practice must be prepared for any disruption of the electronic medical record (EMR), and have a plan in place, even if it doesn't occur often, saidTeri Kovach, RN, OCN, compliance officer and charge nurse at Salish Cancer Center.
What is the disruption in a practice if the electronic medical record isn’t working or there is a glitch in the system?
The disruption if your EMR is not working, is that you’re going to go to paper and pencil, and that’s going to slow everything down because pharmacy has all of their boxes that they need to tick off before they will take a drug and put it into circulation. And, all of the computer systems speak to each other so when one is not speaking, nobody is speaking, and then it just kind of shuts everything down and everyone runs around like they’re chasing their tail because they can’t figure out “what do we do now? How do we do this?”

It’s old-school, you just go back to: here’s the forms, we have a hold down time policy that I wrote before we ever went live so that we would be ready in the event that that’s happened and we have not had to use it. So, it’s there if we need it but we haven’t had to use it yet.
What’s the best way to ensure a smooth implementation of a new EMR?
Keep the staff very involved the entire time. We had certain people that were involved in the process and they were key people from departments and a lot of the peripheral staff, which should have been involved from day 1 were not involved. So as they’re learning, they’re seeing it for the first time and it didn’t flow very well. So, you really have to have every single person that’s going to be touching that electronic health record to be involved and be working in the practice field. If that means you have to sit down and look over their shoulder and watch them go through the process to see that they can do it, would be perfect.
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