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Health Care Implementation Specialist: Role & Growth

Instructor: Courtney Webb

Courtney is a High school Health Information Management teacher with a diverse background in the healthcare field. She also holds a MBA from Cleveland State University.

This lesson will discuss the role of health care implementation specialists and give an overview of their education requirements, position duties, responsibilities, and salary/career outlook.

Who Are Health Care Implementation Specialists?

Technology has created a new industry within healthcare. When new technology is rolled out, like in the transition from paper to electronic health records, healthcare providers and their staff must be trained. Health care implementation specialists are the people who are responsible for training, integrating, and supporting the implementation of this new technology, specifically electronic health record (EHR) systems, into healthcare facilities and individual healthcare providers' offices. (Electronic health records (EHR) systems maintain an electronic version of the patient's medical chart.) Health implementation specialists may also be referred to as health information technology (HIT) specialists or trainers.

Education, Experience, & Knowledge

Typical job requirements for health care implementation specialists include having experience with EHR systems and/or other practice management software, the ability to learn new systems and applications quickly, excellent customer service skills, effective written and verbal communication skills (including writing documentation), the ability to work well with a team, and the ability to travel 75% of the time to support clients onsite.

Most employers also require five years of experience in the healthcare field or a bachelor's degree in education, information technology (IT), or a healthcare related field.

Role & Responsibilities

Health care implementation specialists are responsible for the implementation and continued support of EHR systems within healthcare facilities and offices. Implementation generally includes the following duties.

Workflow Creation & Analysis

Workflow creation and analysis begins with analyzing the healthcare organization's business needs, and then identifying the tasks that are to be performed by each medical professional and staff member in the organization, as well as the specific order in which the tasks should be performed. During implementation, the specialist will also review the workflow process to ensure that it's effective for that office and make adjustments accordingly. It is also important to ensure that system functions are executed in proper order to reduce system and documentation errors.

Office Equipment Set-up

The specialist will identify necessary office equipment required to perform EHR functions, such as computers, wireless devices, and scanners. Additionally, the specialist will perform testing prior to go-live, or the beginning of the use of the EHR system, in order to ensure that all equipment is functional.

Participating in Meetings Pre & Post Go-Live

The specialist will participate in meetings prior to go-live to discuss the implementation status of those duties that need to be performed before the organization's go-live date. Post go-live meetings will focus on things like lessons learned, issues that occurred during go-live, changes that might be needed in workflow, and how the healthcare provider can best use and adapt the system.

Training

The specialist provides classroom support prior to implementation and onsite support for healthcare providers and office staff. Additionally, the specialist will create and edit training and job aide manuals as needed.

Ongoing Support

The specialist will circle back to ensure implementation went well and answer any questions healthcare providers or office staff may have about the system. EHR systems perform system updates to optimize system efficiency and add enhancements; the specialist will provide support for regularly scheduled system upgrades.

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