EHR Implementation Project Team — Roles and Responsibilities in 2024

Igor Izraylevych

7 min read

EHR Implementation Project Team — Roles and Responsibilities in 2024

When adopting a new EHR system, it’s important to create an EHR implementation team with a cross-section of skills and knowledge.

After companies have made the strategic decision to purchase an EHR system, they often believe that all the major work has been done by simply investing in technology.

But, creating a good team is an important job that still needs attention. Regardless of the size of the EHR implementation, it requires a careful consideration of the different EHR Implementation team roles.

This article will describe the slots that need to be filled to create a successful team. The article will cover: 

  • Attributes of a good team 
  • Project leadership team 
  • Analysis and Development – the team within a team 
  • Other key roles 

Attributes of a Good Team 

Like any successful unit, an EHR implementation team needs the right combination of leadership and operational skills.

When deciding who should be included, you should set goals for your team and forge a unified vision of EHR implementation.

This steering committee, as it is normally known, can make or break the implementation process.

Your leadership team needs the following attributes:

  • Diverse range of backgrounds 
  • Clear experience in previous implementations 
  • The willingness to devote time to team catch ups 
  • A consistently positive attitude towards the process 
  • A clear team lead who can make final decisions 

Project Leadership Team 

Sometimes, a big project needs a Project Lead who oversees a Project Manager. But, when the budget is smaller, you can find a Project Manager who performs the lead role and the project management role together. 

Here, we will discuss the Project Lead as one of the key stakeholders in an EHR project.

Project Lead 

Roles 

  • Team manager
  • Motivator
  • Performance manager
  • Organizer
  • Problem solver

Responsibilities 

  • Making final decisions regarding the EHR implementation project plan
  • Coordinating with stakeholders
  • Resource management
  • Risk management

Required Skills 

  • Adaptability
  • Communication
  • Vision
  • Decisiveness 
  • Time management
  • Approachability
  • Familiarity with healthcare IT
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving

Ideally, this person should be technically minded and have previous experience in implementing EHR.

EHR Team Lead responsibilities include handling the project’s overall success, including hitting requirements and meeting deadlines for the roll out of the new EHR system.

The EHR Team Lead makes the final decisions regarding the implementation plan and is a key stakeholder in the overall process.

This person will oversee the entire process and will work closely with the Project Manager and other department heads. 

Project Manager 

Roles 

  • Coordinator
  • Problem solver
  • Timeline manager

Responsibilities 

  • Coming up with a timeline for delivery
  • Documenting requirements and deliberating timeline items
  • Mapping out expectations and dependencies
  • Obtaining estimates from vendors and developers
  • Vendor coordination
  • Task delegation
  • Ensuring compliance with healthcare regulations

Required Skills  

  • The ability to coordinate teams across skills and companies
  • Strategic planning
  • High attention to detail
  • Communications
  • Familiarity with healthcare IT 
  • Accountability 
  • Patience
  • Conflict resolution

The Project Manager is responsible for making sure the wheels keep turning. Their job is to monitor the deliverables and ensure that the project stays on schedule and within scope.

The strategy, design, development, implementation, and testing phases must all come together to be successful and it is the Project Manager’s job to facilitate these processes.

This could mean the Project Manager is responsible for scheduling implementation-related milestones, such as hardware installations and software go-live dates. They must be hands-on, yet at the same time good at delegating tasks when necessary.

Analysis and Development – the team within the team 

The Analysis and Development team is truly a team within a team. They are highly technical, and they understand that their work is vital to the overall project. 

Often, they will set internal technical deadlines that run parallel with team deadlines, but are not part of the visible project plan.

Application Analyst 

Roles 

  • Data analyst
  • Advisor
  • Decision-maker 
  • Issue resolver

Responsibilities 

  • Planning the development process
  • Studying EHR system development
  • Assisting in developing and implementing an EHR application
  • Monitoring information quality and compliance
  • Data gathering and analysis
  • Implementing upgrades
  • Collaborating with medical service providers and administrators to make decisions and solve problems
  • Reporting on the status, progress, and outcomes of the project

Required Skills

  • Problem-solving 
  • Communication
  • Medical coding
  • Information system development 
  • Attention to detail

It is the Application Analyst’s job to align the ideas and concepts that the hospital wants with the Application Development team to see what is possible.

Only by collecting EHR requirements from different departments, team members, and end users, can the Application Analyst use these findings to convert them into a technical format for developers to use in the design stage.

It is preferred that the Application Analyst has some clinical experience, as this will be helpful for them to fully grasp the day-to-day needs of the hospital staff. 

Application Developer 

Roles 

  • Technical expert
  • Data manager

Responsibilities 

  • Creating intuitive EHR systems
  • Optimizing workflow management platforms
  • Establishing interoperability standards to enable seamless data exchange between systems
  • Enhancing patient data management and privacy
  • Integrating emerging innovations and technologies into healthcare systems

Required Skills  

  • Programming languages
  • Database management 
  • API integration
  • System architecture design
  • Security and Compliance
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Attention to detail

The Application Developer’s job is to design and implement applications for the clinical needs of the hospital, as described by the Application Analyst. 

Some use cases for application development might involve the different needs of a casualty unit, operating theater, radiology, ICU, and many more.

It’s really about making sure the developer is in tune with the needs of each department so they can create more useful interfaces as laid out by the Application Analyst. 

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Other Key Roles 

Quality Assurance Test Engineer 

Roles 

  • Reviewer
  • Bug reporter 
  • Bug facilitator 

Responsibilities 

  • Software evaluation
  • Identifying, avoiding, and fixing bugs
  • Test progress documentation
  • Test strategy development
  • Test case planning
  • Quality standard setups
  • Testing tool selection
  • Performance testing
  • Security testing

Required Skills 

  • Technical background
  • Understanding the specifics of medical applications
  • Programming languages
  • Test management and bug tracking
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Attention to detail

Testing is a key part of any EHR implementation. Once the Application Developer has kitted out the various departments with the EHR system interfaces they need, testing is the next stage.

Successful EHR implementations need a Quality Assurance Test Engineer who has been exposed to the requirements of a health deployment, so they can test the system from various viewpoints.

It would also be helpful if the QA Test Engineer has a clinical background. If they have been exposed to the workings of the clinical space, they are likely to understand the reality of daily hospital settings.

Information Technology Lead 

Roles 

  • Supervisor
  • Quality reviewer
  • Workflow manager

Responsibilities 

  • Workflow planning
  • Onboarding 
  • Removing technical blockers
  • Establishing project specifications and technical direction 
  • Creating a framework of procedures and technical standards
  • Analyzing existing operations and software quality
  • Technology evaluation and integration

Required Skills

  • Coding
  • Leadership
  • Technical mentoring
  • System testing
  • Analytical thinking
  • Project management
  • Communication
  • Change management

It is the IT Lead’s job to ensure that matters related to the deployment of the software and hardware, including computers, printers, and scanners are taken care of.

The IT lead is the person that end users contact when they need a question answered regarding the implementation process, or how the software and hardware works.

Many IT leads find that during these implementations, they need to spend a lot of time on training and educating staff on how new systems work. They typically need to be very patient in their interactions with people, especially on new technology.

Super User 

Roles 

  • Effective communicator
  • Change agent
  • Department advocate

Responsibilities 

  • Understanding the system changes 
  • Communicating the changes to end-users
  • Providing end-user support regarding system changes
  • Exploring potential system issues
  • Creating workarounds
  • Troubleshooting issues to prevent workflow pauses

Required Skills 

  • Communication
  • Attention to detail
  • Clinical competence
  • Technical expertise
  • Teaching skills
  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Change management
  • Problem-solving

This person is typically an internal staff member. Super Users receive specialized training on how to use the EHR system before it is implemented. 

The idea is to position them as someone who learns about the areas covered by the IT lead, such as hardware. They will also learn about the areas covered by the Analysis and Development team, such as the best way to use a new interface to improve old processes. 

Depending on the size of the project, the Super User can sometimes be asked to help to recruit and train other Super Users.

Super Users are usually ambitious staff members who have their own jobs to do, but who want to take ownership of a project while upskilling themselves. 

Physician Champion 

Roles 

  • Liaison between the physicians in the group and the EHR implementation team
  • Point of reference for the way things are done from a clinical perspective and how physicians want the app to work

Responsibilities 

  • Keeping the physicians up-to-date on the current progress of EHR implementation
  • Maintaining physician “buy-in” to the EHR project
  • Promoting and implementing changes that benefit physicians and their patients
  • Gathering feedback and addressing concerns
  • Monitoring and reporting on system usage and issues
  • Facilitating training and education

Required Skills 

  • Project management
  • Change management
  • Technical expertise
  • Leadership and organization skills
  • Communication
  • Administrative skills

This is an important role which is often most visible in large EHR implementations. Highly skilled physicians can sometimes distance themselves from the rest of the workforce as they are more senior. 

This is why it requires an individual who can concentrate on keeping specialist physicians in the loop about the progress of the project.

This way, the Physician Champion becomes someone who acts as a knowledge store of how the project is going, but also how the physicians would like things done.

Nurse Lead and MA Leads 

Roles 

  • The Nurse Lead has a central role in the team of fellow nurses, a thought leader
  • The Medical Assistant Lead plays a central role in the team of medical assistants

Responsibilities 

  • The Nurse Lead needs to understand clinical workflows, inspire the nursing staff to embrace change and drive consensus among them
  • MA Lead has to understand medical assistant workflows, inspire and motivate medical assistant staff, and encourage consensus among medical assistants

Required Skills 

  • For a Nurse Lead: empathy, respectfulness, clear vision and strategic focus, approachability, coaching, developing staff
  • For an MA Lead: knowledge of basic clinical procedures, attention to detail, active listening, problem-solving, medical records management, communication, flexibility

Similarly, the nurses normally prefer their own liaison between the nursing staff and the implementation team. Ideally, this is a leader in the nursing unit who is held in high regard by other members. 

The Nursing Lead must be able to inspire change. Nurses are some of the busiest people in a hospital. Getting them to adopt new systems can be a challenge. 

How to Effectively Manage an EHR Implementation Project Team

A successful EHR implementation project requires effective management to ensure high-quality results. Below, we’ve gathered some tips on managing an EHR project team properly.

1. Identify a Strong Project Manager

A Project Manager ensures your EHR implementation team delivers projects on time, doesn’t exceed the estimated budget, and follows the outlined scope. They are among the main project stakeholders and the key point of contact for project structures, timelines, plans, and budgets. 

2. Create a Project Structure

A project structure should be the organization chart developed explicitly for your EHR project. It clarifies decision-making, escalation procedures, and the main lines of communication. The project structure also explains your team’s relation to the rest of the company as well as the role of vendors and consultants. 

A clear project structure helps you see whom to involve in decision-making, how to escalate issues, prevent confusion about the decision-making authority, and ensure coordination across team members.

3. Develop a Project Plan

A project plan should identify key milestones, i.e., project deadlines with other interdependencies. Your Project Manager will monitor the progress toward these key milestones, and your project plan should identify risks and mitigation plans in case your team doesn’t meet these milestones.

4. Establish Proper Communication 

Consistent communication is critical to successful project management. Everyone on your team, as well as stakeholders and vendors, needs to know when and how to communicate with each other. Complex projects like EHR implementation require transparent communication channels that encourage reporting successes and failures. 

Here are some of the approaches you should consider implementing:

  • Regular meetings to ease collaboration
  • Status reports, dashboards, or updates to make sure everyone’s aware of the current progress
  • Regular updates to the project plan to help the team stay on track and quickly adapt
  • Clear lines of hierarchy and communication with consultants and vendors

5. Set Realistic Timelines

Agreeing on realistic timelines at the beginning will increase your chance of successful project completion. Setting and meeting realistic timelines can also save your company’s budget and improve the level of satisfaction with your EHR system.

Conclusion 

When implementing a new EHR system, it’s vital to go through all the steps in the planning phase. This includes sticking closely to the implementation project plan and choosing the best team. 

Finding the right attributes of the team is always key. Essential traits like positivity, an appetite for change, and existing experience is vitally important.

Find out more about the S-PRO EHR development service, and contact us if you want to discuss your project idea with healthcare development experts.

Igor Izraylevych