Implementing an electronic medical record (EMR) system is a project that senior healthcare executives may attempt once or maybe twice in their careers. The success or failure of projects can have a profound effect on both healthcare organisations and their senior leaders. And nothing is more important to the likelihood of success than good governance.
Seeking to promote broader understanding of EMR project governance, InterSystems facilitated a discussion, ‘The role of senior leaders in IT governance’, at the 2017 Australian Healthcare Week. Based on that discussion and presentations by other EMR project leaders, a wide variation in governance models was apparent.
It is common for healthcare organisations to put forward a business case to secure funding for an EMR implementation, however long-term governance models that ensure business cases are actually tracked and realised are far less common.
Australia is a relatively advanced market for EMR systems and tends to reflect global trends. It would be fair to say that the global healthcare industry is on a journey in which EMR governance models are still evolving.
This does not mean that most aspects of EMR projects are not subject to proper governance. The governance of activities around EMR design and implementation are nearly always a priority, including project governance, risk management, clinical engagement, and clinical governance.
Longer-term governance associated with the sustainability of EMR projects, however, appears to be less common. This includes the development of the EMR business case, benchmarking performance, and benefits realisation.
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EMR Governance: Building a Business Case Is Just the Beginning