TheNeeds Assessment Process in the Implementation of EHR System
Aneeds assessment process can be defined within the contexts of threeuses, including setting appropriate objectives through thedetermination of priorities, facilitating organizational improvement,and allocating resources in a way that can efficiently drive theattainment of goals and objectives (Grant, 2002). It includes theprocess of determining organizational gaps that exist between itscurrent state and future aspirations. Following the identification ofthe difference, an organization can generate its needs and develop aplan of action which would move the organization towards achievingits long-term plans. This paper seeks to develop a process for needsassessment in nursing.
Aneeds assessment can help a leader to gain feedback necessary forfacilitating change. Since the primary obligation of an effectiveleader is to create a vision for the future and inspire people towork towards achieving it, the process can provide a practicalframework where leaders can seamlessly transition into managers.After envisioning the future, they engage the process in determiningwhat their organizations require in order to achieve it efficiently.For instance, changing from a manual document system to a newelectronic health record (EHR) system may be the vision. The processwould help a leader to understand that not only does such atransition involve purchasing digital equipment, but includesengaging employees in a way that would facilitate their acceptance ofthe related change and be able to use the new system efficiently(Grant, 2002).
Aneeds assessment process is a prerequisite for a successful selectionand implementation of an EHR system because it helps the managementto define the relevance of EHR system clearly to the organization(Lorenzi et al., 2009). There are scenarios where organizations havepursued a given change, whereas they did not need it in the firstplace. In such a case, a group is likely to waste its resources inmeaningless change. Similarly, other organizations have made themistake of reforming the system in place rather than adopting a newone to facilitate the delivery of desired results. Secondly, theassessment is also crucial because it provides a platform where allthe stakeholders of an organization can collaborate with the aim ofimproving the related outcomes (Lorenzi et al., 2009). Through thisplatform, the leader can get appropriate feedbacks from all thesections of the organization. Thirdly, it also reduces resistancefrom employees by ensuring that they participate in the decisionmaking process. At the same time, it enhances the sense of ownershipin employees, thus encouraging them to work hard to achieveorganizational objectives.
Asuccessful completion of needs assessment requires all theparticipating individuals to consider various factors. Firstly, it isimportant to determine and understand who should spearhead theexercise because they are capable of influencing the process indifferent ways (Grant, 2002). In this case, implementing a new EHRsystem can be an objective which may have been initiated by nursesbecause they felt that it would improve their work processes. At thesame time, it may be a target which was developed by the managementin their attempt at improving the related organizational proceduresto enhance health outcomes. Lastly, it may be a part of a leader’svision of changing the scope and efficiency of the organization. Thesecond factor of consideration is the period it would take tocomplete the process. This factor would determine the duration thatan organization should take to update various aspects of theexercise. Thirdly, it is important to understand who the processtargets because it is essential for achieving the balance betweenvalue creation and efficient management of resources. Lastly, it isessential to consider the kind of information that is needed tofacilitate effective priority setting and resource allocation.
Afterestablishing that the organization requires a new EHR system, it isimportant to determine the needs of the healthcare professionals whowould use it to conduct their duties efficiently. Therefore, the kindof data that should be collected should include the perception ofemployees regarding the importance of the system. They should be ableto demonstrate that they understand how the change will affect theirprocesses. The process of information gathering should also assessthe employee’s ability to use the system effectively. Through thisassessment, the management can determine the type of training theyrequire to be able to use it appropriately. These pieces of data canbe accessed from employees through mini surveys or structuredinterviews (Rouda, Kusy & Mitchell, 2005). They can also beassessed through a brainstorming process which includes all therelevant stakeholders.
Thechange process would be initiated and spearheaded by the managementof the organization, comprising the chief nursing officer. The chiefnursing officer is the right person to consult because he acts as thelink between the executives and the employees of the organization.Therefore, he is capable of assessing whether the expertise of thehealthcare givers regarding EHR usage aligns with the expectations ofthe management. In general, the chief nursing officer performs therole of ensuring that the needs of employees are adequatelyaddressed.
Thispaper has established that conducting a needs assessment process isessential because it determines whether changing from a manualdocument system to EHR is necessary. It also helps leaders to gatherappropriate and adequate information regarding the development ofneeds. Processes such as brainstorming, surveys, and interviews helpleaders to understand the perceptions of other people as well as whatthey expect from the organization. These needs become priorities whendesigning the appropriate plan of action.
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Lorenzi,N. M., Kouroubali, A., Detmer, D. E., & Bloomrosen, M. (2009).How to successfully select and implement electronic health records(EHR) in small ambulatory practice settings. BMCmedical informatics and decision making,9(1),15.
Rouda,R. H., Kusy, M. E., & Mitchell, E. (2005). Needs assessment: Thefirst step. TappiJournal,78(6),255.