What you will discover in the article
In the modern-day healthcare landscape, efficient electronic health record (EHR) software simplifies everything from workflows to medical billing. However, not every EHR software performs to a standard that is most effective for every practice.
Some of the latest changes in how care providers tend to patient needs and handle workflow in times of a pandemic highlighted the shortcomings of some EHRs. When you spot an EHR is not as efficient as it should be, making a transition becomes a top priority. Selecting an EHR, however, can be a little intimidating. The data migration process is time-consuming and so much depends on choosing an EHR that melds well with your practice.
Nevertheless, with the proper prior consideration when choosing an EHR, you will have ample support for the transition and the investment will be worth the effort. Key factors for selecting an EHR make all the difference.
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing an EHR
If your current EHR system causes workflow disruptions, your EHR vendor does not offer enough support, or is not user-friendly, choosing an EHR vendor and software that fits better comes down to thorough prior consideration. Take a closer look at key factors to consider when selecting an EHR.
Assess Your Current EHR Solution and Set Clear Goals
Consider where your existing EHR did not meet the needs of your practice and employees. Build your own list of features offered by an EHR that would alleviate those issues. Think about which functions and features would serve your practice best, such as:
- An intuitive user interface
- Simple patient scheduling processes
- Meaningful use reporting with clinical data
- Flexibility from one device to another
- Pre-built templates for treating patients with similar needs
- Intelligent patient workflows
All EHRs can have their own sets of pros and cons for each type of practice. For example, the EHR Report Card published by Medical Economics published by Medical Economics in 2017 found that 57 percent of providers reported dissatisfaction with an EHR because it disrupted practice workflow. This is often related to an interface that is not flexible enough to cater to the unique demands of the practice. If this has been an issue with your current EHR, a clear goal would be to find a solution that offers enough flexibility.
Consider Total Cost Compared to Budget
An Electronic Health Record system is a considerable investment, and the cost of this software can vary wildly from one vendor to the next. Research indicates that cost is the largest barrier when it comes to implementing an EHR system, and if you are opting for a replacement, this may not be the first time you have made an investment. With that in mind, choosing an EHR that works with your budget becomes especially important.
Keep in mind, the best vendors disclose their pricing openly to prospective customers. This allows you to get a look at different pricing models from different vendors and gather an idea of which vendor and system are most aligned with what you are prepared to spend. Make use of the Vendor Pricing Template, which offers guidance on EHR pricing.
Consider How Many Patients the EHR Should be Equipped to Handle
The size of your practice has a lot to do with selecting an EHR that is most efficient for your operation. Keep in mind, some EHR systems are totally scalable; they can be custom-built to specifically meet the needs of a practice or organization, whether that entity has a handful of patients and one doctor or thousands of patients and multiple medical care providers.
Consider the Potential EHR Vendors
The vendor that provides an EHR system is just as important, if not more important, than the EHR itself. A few aspects to assess about a vendor are provided below.
What is the level and quality of vendor support?
Does the vendor offer training plans after EHR implementation? Look at how easy the vendor is to contact and what levels of support they offer, such as whether they have a help desk available with live support or whether they can offer guidance over the phone. It’s also important to consider the times support will be available.
What do colleagues say about vendor experiences?
Colleagues offer a wealth of insight into the most efficient EHRs when you are faced with the task of choosing an EHR system yourself. Reach out to a few colleagues and start a conversation about the EHR they use. Ask them about their satisfaction with the system, as well as their satisfaction with support from the EHR vendor.
How does the vendor handle updates and add-ons?
Updates and add-on features are a constant with a well-designed EHR, but you do want to know how these necessary tasks are handled by the vendor. Find out how long updates normally take, what levels of support are available when a feature must be implemented, and the anticipated frequency of updates.
Consider the Most Important EHR Evaluation Criteria
Write a Request for Proposal (RFP) when selecting an EHR and assessing different vendors. The RFP clarifies what your practice needs, and the vendor supplies a proposal that is suited to your practice needs. Once you receive proposals and get a look at product demos, you can examine each vendor to determine the best fit for your practice. Evaluate the following attributes of all prospects:
- Implementation process – Consider the ease of implementation and how training handled
- Customizability – Look at how customizable or flexible the system is and what configurations are modifiable to suit your needs.
- Customer service availability – Look at the level of customer service, communication methods and times, and time to problem resolution.
- Productivity – Test drive the system, work through a virtual visit, and see how difficult it is to access data.
- Financials – Assess beyond the purchase and maintenance costs; Look at how the system could also enhance profitability, such as supporting telehealth appointments
Is It Time for a Change for Your Practice?
When it comes to choosing the most efficient EHR solution, the Harris Ambulatory Group offers multiple EHR options to suit the needs of your independent practice. From easy-to-use systems to specialty-focused solutions, we can help your practice find the right fit. If you’re ready for a more efficient EHR replacement, contact us.