May 25, 2022
Change, a constant of life, is not always embraced. The fear of the unknown can often keep people back. The global pandemic has brought that to an even greater level with daily life, including work, being impacted regularly with little to no notice.
One sector, in particular, that has had to evolve, adapt, and pivot with little to no notice is the medical industry. Considering the current strains on the medical system and the overwhelming need for patient care, it’s no wonder that medical practices are hesitant to re-evaluate their existing EHR platforms and consider changing vendors to implement new software solutions.
However, is the hesitancy to go through the process of evaluating current systems and the possibility of switching worth the long-term cost of sticking with the status quo? In today’s medical environment, streamlining operations, improving patient outcomes, and maximizing investments are of paramount importance. Every practice has specific needs and not all EHR platforms are designed to meet these needs.
Asking the following five questions will give physicians and office staff the information they need to decide if they should move forward with evaluating alternatives to their existing systems.
The first step to understanding if an EHR solution is a good fit for your practice is whether or not it was created with your specialty in mind. Different healthcare settings and specialties require different EHR solutions. When it comes to EHR software – one size definitely does not fit all.
It seems obvious that a dental practice needs different software than a mental health facility, or that an outpatient surgical center has different needs than a pain management practice, but many facilities continue to use a generic EHR platform that increases the amount of work necessary to meet a practice’s needs.
Working with a vendor that has experience within your specialty is critical to maximizing your investment, optimizing practice operations, and supporting office personnel in getting work done.
Next on your EHR checklist is to evaluate how easily your system is customizable. Is your staff able to update fields and data points or does it have to be done through the solution provider? Templates should be easily configured to meet individual needs and preferences and they should have some form of standardization to ensure required data is captured.
For more complicated tasks, your EHR provider should be able to create any template needed or design and implement practice-specific workflows. If your practice is constantly trying to work around inflexible workflows while utilizing generic templates designed to be a one-size-fits-all solution, then it’s time to start looking for a better fit.
EHR solutions should be designed with the end user in mind as they are created for non-IT-oriented individuals who specialize in running practices and caring for patients. You and your staff should not have to spend hours upon hours learning the ins and outs of your EHR software. Updates should be easy to install, and templates should be intuitive to your practice needs.
From registration to billing and record-keeping to communications, the best solution is one that is easy to use. This includes the software’s ability to integrate with other technologies in a practice and support a positive patient experience from treatment to sending prescriptions to your patient’s preferred pharmacy.
Question four on your EHR checklist focuses on the platform’s flexibility and “extra features.” These may not seem very important considering the overall purpose of EHR software. Scheduling features allow a practice to keep information in a single location for easy access by all members of a practice – physicians and staff alike.
Messaging provides an easy way to communicate by utilizing SMS features and advanced note-taking features to simplify documenting patient care. Voice dictation features can enhance every one of these “extras” when using the right solution. For example, with advanced software solutions, your voice can not only document notes but can also navigate through the system.
The final question to consider when completing your initial EHR evaluation is the support that is offered by your vendor. Is the support offered during the hours needed? What about nights and weekends when staff may be working to complete tasks such as billing or prescription refills.
Is the support based in the U.S.? What about response times? When support is contacted are they able to help you quickly or do you spend large amounts of time on hold when you should be attending to your patients? The best solution is 24/7 support that is able to help you manage your practice efficiently and effectively when needed.
At the end of the day, healthcare practices of any specialty and any size need effective EHR software to maximize business operations and provide the highest level of patient care. Taking the time to evaluate your current systems and finding out about alternatives may be exactly what you need to meet evolving healthcare requirements while increasing profitability and improving patient outcomes.
Don’t’ know where to start, contact ChartLogic today to set up a consultation and discover if you’d benefit from changing EHR vendors.