The selection of an electronic health record (EHR) is a very important decision that an organization must complete to keep up with today’s technology. An informatics needs assessment is a critical point in the decision-making process for an EHR. (Hebda & Czar, 2013). The needs assessment helps in the selection of an EHR that best fits the needs of the organization. There are basicly four areas that need to be focused on during the needs assessment phase. They include the organization itself, the people who will be involved and use the HER, the financial resources and the technology. We begin our needs assessment by taking a look at the organization. The stakeholders of the organization need to know the readiness of their group. The best way to assess the needs is to have open communication with the physicians, administration, nursing staff, and heads of departments such as radiology, laboratory, and any other ancillary group that will use the EHR.
The discussion will be whether to improve processes or improve current computer systems. According to the American Medical Association, the purpose for the needs assessment is to understand what the organization needs to maximize the positive impact of an EHR while minimizing the risks of negative effects. The next thing we will address with the needs assessment is the stakeholders. This will begin as a small committee to include nursing administrator, representatives for the physicians, heads of ancillary departments, hospital administrators that know about financial things and the head of technical support. This committee will facilitate feedback from all involved, and it will create a sense of ownership and involvement in the process.
This also helps keep conflict to a minimum and it will also help gather volunteers during the implementation phase. After the initial meeting has set the ground work, each leader will go back to their department and gather information from staff that will need to be included with the new electronic health record. Some of the things needed will be documentation for the physicians and an easy ordering system. The nurses will need proper documentation that talks with the different sections of the chart, so the nurse only has to enter the information into one screen. The record needs to be communicating with the laboratory and radiology departments for orders and results. All the pertinent information about the patient can be entered and stored safely and privately according to HIPAA regulations. As with any system, financial considerations need to be assessed.
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