EHR Optimization Producing Real Results

This is one in a series of blog posts discussing Divurgent’s 2014 IT Organization Best Practice Study.  To view earlier blogs from this series, click here.

EHR optimization is the major focus for many of the organizations we talked to, and all of them felt it was a never-ending process. We at Divurgent have stressed that optimization is the best way to obtain real value from an EHR; this was apparent during our study.

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CIOs were aggressively optimizing their systems, ranging from workflows to predictive algorithms. As the following table shows, the majority of the organizations we spoke with were in the optimization phase.

The CIOs felt the Epic standard model does not produce an optimized clinical process, and they had immediate pressure to optimize the application.  They also identified EHR optimization as the best way to see a return on their investment and a continuation of the Epic product. Organizations that took a traditional view of the Epic/EHR implementation, a project with a beginning and a hard stop date, experienced difficulty keeping their IT staffing and funding. Those who viewed the EHR implementation as a continuous effort, moving from implementation and immediately into optimization, found it easier to maintain funding and resources.

The optimization process requires constant attention, funding, and staffing. There are many strategies that organizations are utilizing to optimize their EHR, but those organizations with a strong governance process in place to identify, prioritize, and maintain focus on optimization efforts were having greater success.

We also identified that when organizations reduced IT staff, they extended the time needed to obtain a return for their EHR investment. EHR optimization will continue to be the largest driving force for IT resources in the coming years, but as we have recognized, this is the best way to gain value back from the pricy EHR product.


“There is the misperception that the staff added for the Epic implementation go away at the conclusion of the project. That’s not the case. 60% to 70% of the added staff stay on for optimization, upgrades, new functionality and ongoing support.”

“EHR evolves in phases. Phase 1 establishes the EMR architecture through implementation of the application. Phase 2 is continued support and targeted optimization. Phase 3 is a transformational phase with increased use of data analytics and the use of a population management model to coordinate care.”

“We have an optimization governance committee consisting of 12 very knowledgeable members that select the items for implementation. It’s a very structured process.”

“We have a lot of good ideas that should stay good ideas and not be implemented.”

The topic of the next blog entry will be Informatics, the Clinical Transformation Engine-Pt1

To hear more about our study, please contact Divurgent at

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