Question 1: Are you ready for an EHR?

Careful consideration must be given to the question of whether your organization is ready for an EHR. An EHR is not a panacea — on its own it cannot solve problems with workflow, efficiency, staff training, or quality. In fact, if such problems exist, implementing an EHR may just make them worse.

Staff Readiness for EHR Implementation: Three independent orthopedic practices recently implemented the same EHR product. Each practice struggled with their implementation because they were unprepared in many respects to move to an EHR. Each of the practices identified the lack of basic computing skills among staff members as a major challenge.

Before committing to acquisition of an EHR, it is wise to make a careful assessment of your organization's readiness for EHR implementation. If the assessment points to areas where your organization lacks minimum requirements for EHR implementation — such as a lack of basic computer skills among the staff — you can benefit by remedying these deficits before trying to implement an EHR.

Organizational Assessment Tools: The AHRQ National Resource Center for includes a number of tools that can help you assess organization's readiness for EHR implementation. Interested users can search for such tools in AHRQ's . One useful readiness survey is the Primary Care Information Project's

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