EHR Implementation Tips from L.A. County

L.A. County

Electronic Health Record implementation advice from the country’s largest county mental health system (not ranked … all important … from staff at all levels)

  • Choose a strategic partner Even agencies with large IT departments shouldn’t tackle the complexities of an EHR implementation on their own. Choose an EHR provider that understands your organizational needs and the changes going on in the healthcare landscape. Then utilize the best practices and expertise of your provider to make it easier.
    VIDEO: Strategic Partners >>
  • Empower staff/boost morale Change is never easy. Empower your managers to engage staff in playful ways to make the implementation less daunting. Offer stress balls at go-live. Bring in "therapy cookies" or apple cider and enjoy a snack or "We did it!" toast.
  • Engage all aspects of the care team An EHR implementation affects everyone. Be sure that as you decide on workflows, forms and reports that you have clinical, financial and operational around the table.
  • Evaluate trainings Staff with different roles could need different training, depending on their workflow and/or data capture requirements. Consider creating separate training manuals and modules to meet these unique needs.
  • Organize a go-live support team Don’t rely solely on pre-training. Enlist a group of "super users" to ensure a smooth transition. These folks can be on site before, during and after an implementation to answer questions and inspire success.
    VIDEO: The Go-Live >>
  • Plan your rollouts strategically If you have more than one agency that needs to go-live on your new solution, roll out strategically so the support team stays strong and you have a chance to reflect and optimize as you go.
  • Re-think workflows The digitization of healthcare is more than just the displacement of the paper record to the computer screen. During EHR implementation, much attention is placed on inputting the same required data as in the paper world to support transactions, communication, compliance and reporting. How tasks and activities were accomplished in the world of paper-based processes can -- and must -- evolve in the electronic world.
  • Stay one step ahead If your EHR provider offers conferences or webinars about industry trends or user tips, be sure to participate. You can bring those ideas back to your agency and implement them in a way that makes sense for you.
  • Take the plunge Even if your back has become accustomed to lugging around boxes of paper charts … stop! Immediately start bringing your laptop into the field and typing notes into your electronic assessments and forms. The quicker you make the shift, the easier it will be.
  • Train well and often Requiring (rather than suggesting) pre-implementation training will arm your staff with the basics before go-live. Having staff work together during the training process gives them the support they need and peer support for questions and issues as they arise.

Learn more about the L.A. County Department of Mental Health at

Download a printable PDF of this tip sheet >>

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