Implementing Epic represents a significant investment for provider organizations. To realize the expected benefits, such as improved patient care, enhanced operational efficiency, streamlined revenue cycle operations, and cost savings, a robust mechanism for tracking and accountability is essential. This is where a Value Realization Office (VRO) becomes invaluable. A VRO for a health system acts as the central nervous system of the EHR implementation, overseeing the realization of value and ensuring the organization achieves its desired outcomes.

A VRO establishes a structured framework for accountability. By identifying potential clinical and revenue cycle benefits and defining clear metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) aligned with the organization’s strategic goals, the VRO ensures all stakeholders know their roles and responsibilities in the EHR implementation process. This alignment fosters a culture of accountability where progress is regularly tracked, and deviations from the plan are promptly addressed. Oversight provided by the VRO keeps the project on track by assigning accountability amongst service line leaders to ensure the EHR delivers the intended benefits.

Continuous Measurement and Improvement

One of the primary functions of a VRO is to continuously measure the outcomes of the EHR implementation. This involves regular collection and analysis of clinical and revenue cycle data to assess whether the EHR system is meeting its defined objectives. By leveraging analytics, the VRO provides insights into areas where the EHR and associated workflows perform well and where improvements are needed. This is ultimately tied back to the defined accountability made at the commencement of the implementation. This continuous feedback loop is crucial for making iterative enhancements to the system governance and operational structure, maximizing clinical and financial performance, and ensuring the original business case objectives are met. 

Realizing Financial and Operational Benefits

The financial investment in an EHR system is substantial, and the VRO helps ensure a return on this investment by tracking cost savings and efficiency gains that result from enhanced clinical and revenue cycle workflows. For instance, the VRO monitors reductions in adverse clinical conditions, administrative overhead, clinical documentation and billing accuracy improvements, patient engagement, and enhanced resource utilization. 

Supporting Patient Care and Safety Outcome Improvement

One of the most significant benefits of an EHR implementation is the potential to enhance patient care and safety. The VRO plays a pivotal role in realizing these clinical benefits. By integrating with clinical operations, quality, and performance improvement, the VRO tracks metrics such as patient outcomes, medication errors, and adherence to clinical guidelines to assess the impact of the EHR on patient care. This data-driven approach enables healthcare organizations to make informed decisions that enhance patient safety and overall care quality.

Facilitating Stakeholder Engagement and Buy-In

The success of an EHR implementation depends heavily on the engagement and buy-in of various stakeholders, including physicians, clinicians, administrative staff, and executives. Maintaining transparent communication about the progress and benefits of the EHR system is critical to facilitating change and garnering buy-in. Regular reports and updates from the VRO keep stakeholders informed and engaged, fostering a sense of ownership and commitment to the project’s success.

Our development of VROs with health provider organizations has proven to be a critical asset for those about to implement a new EHR. By providing a structured approach to tracking accountability and measuring benefits, the VRO ensures the anticipated clinical and revenue cycle advantages of the EHR are realized. This justifies the investment and drives continuous improvement in patient care, operational efficiency, and financial performance. The VRO’s role in fostering accountability, transparency, and strategic alignment is indispensable for successfully realizing value from EHR implementations.

Zahid Rathore is the senior vice president of Healthlink Advisors, a healthcare consulting firm committed to improving clinical innovation, business systems, and healthcare IT strategy, delivery, and operations. To learn about how we can assist your organization or discuss the topic further, contact us at (888) 412-8686 or info@healthlinkadvisors.com.