Day in the Life: EHR Analyst

An EHR (Electronic Health Record) Analyst role is usually an entry-level role in the world of Nursing Informatics.  It may or may not require previous experience in the clinical area.  People from different backgrounds who have a desire and aptitude for working with clinical systems can work as Analysts for different types of healthcare projects.  However, clinicians who become Analysts bring a unique and very valuable set of skills, knowledge, attitude, mind-set, and perspective into the role.

Analysts can also be involved in different phases of a project.  Some are involved before the project is even officially started – they help evaluate whether there is a need that has to be met or an improvement that has to be done.  They may also help assess the different tools in the market that can best meet the need or assist with the improvement.

Other types of Analysts come in when the project has begun.  These Analysts may get specialty training on how to help tweak an out-of-the-box software to customize it for the organizations’ requirements.

Other Analysts can also be involved in testing software, reviewing lesson plans for training, providing support during the first few weeks of a new system’s launch, providing on-going support for a system that is already in place, or improving on a system during the stabilization period.

In this post, I will attempt to give you a peek at an Analyst’s day in an EHR implementation, during the phase when the clinical tools that are part of the health record are being customized for the end-users’ needs.  This phase is sometimes called the clinical content build and validation phase.

SAMPLE DAY FOR AN EHR ANALYST – CLINICAL CONTENT BUILD AND VALIDATION PHASE

(Depending on the organization’s timelines and number of resources, this phase can run from a few weeks to several months.)

8:00     Checks email for messages from teammates and updates from other teams involved in the project.

8:30     Does a final review of the Powerpoint presentation to be used for this morning’s clinical content validation session.  By 8:40, makes way to the meeting room where the validation session will be held, in order to set the room up before the clinical subject matter experts (SMEs) arrive.

9:00 – 12:00    Facilitates or assists in the clinical content validation session.

The Analyst facilitating the meeting usually sets the agenda and the goals, guides the whole session, and makes sure that the goals are met.  For example, during this session, the SMEs may need to decide what items need to be included in their Daily Assessment documentation tool, depending on the standards of care practices and policies in their department.  The Facilitator may start out by describing the system’s functionality and limitations, as well as the organization’s over-arching policies regarding documentation.  Then, throughout the session, he or she guides the SMEs and encourages their feedback in making decisions regarding the specific items that need to go into the documentation tool.

The Analyst who is assisting in the meeting oftentimes help with the presentation by doing the demonstration while the facilitator talks.  He or she may also be responsible for taking down notes.  If a change requested can easily be done, he or she may even make the change on the spot so that the SMEs can evaluate it on the fly.

Because these sessions may take a half day or even an entire day, the facilitating and the assisting Analysts may switch roles at one point.

12:00     Takes a lunch break.  If it is a working lunch, the Analysts might take this time to assess the session that just ended.

1:00     Checks and answers email.  Emails can come from other team members, Analysts from other teams involved in the project, subject matter experts, or project managers and technical support staff  from the software’s vendor.

2:00     Reviews and updates the notes from this morning’s session.  Once the notes are completed, emails the document to the SMEs for review and confirmation.

3:00 – 4:30     Works on tweaking the software (some programming may be involved at this point) based on the feedback from this morning’s session.

4:30     Checks and answers email once more time before leaving for the day.

5:00     The day is done, and it is time to head home.