In today’s world of healthcare information technology, there are many thing to consider before selecting an EHR. There are hundreds of vendors offering stand-alone modules to full blown EHR and Practice/Revenue Cycle Management Systems. Often the selection is not made with the due diligence it deserves, ultimately leading to failure of implementation and end-user dissatisfaction. Below are things to consider when making your decision:
- Expectations – Probably the most crucial aspect is to keep expectations reasonable. There is no silver bullet. Some systems do things better than others; but no system does everything the best. Keep in mind that paper will still be generated so rather than being paperless, your practice might fall into the ‘less paper’ category.
- Research – Spend time in researching what companies are offering. Depending on the size and specialty of your practice, there may be one vendor who can take care of all or most your needs versus another. Speak to your colleagues about what they are using. Word-of-mouth references go a long way in this industry.
- Certifications – These days, MU Certified systems are a must. The older CCHIT Certification has now gone by the wayside. However, CCHIT Certification can still play an important part in EHR selection as it is a better indicator of usability.
- Cloud Based vs. Client Server – Client server models which were prevalent in the past have given way to cloud based systems. This allows for easier and faster support and version upgrades which can be done remotely. It also takes away the headache of having to maintain security and backups.
- Integrations – How simple is it for the vendor to integrate with Labs and Imaging Centers? Does it take days, or weeks, or months? Does the vendor integrate with medical devices and which ones?
- Clearinghouse Mix – These days most billing is done through a handful of clearinghouses. Vendors that support multiple clearinghouses allow your practice the flexibility to choose rather than being roped into only one.
- Onsite vs. Online Training – One of the most important factors to ensure a successful implementation is the training method. Onsite is always the better option for initial training with the option of online training for follow-up or subsequent trainings. Being with a trainer provides that up close and personal one-to-one interaction that speaking over a phone does not.
- Super Users – Prior to training, it is best to designate one or more Super Users within the practice who will be fully trained on all aspects of the system. This way, most questions can be answered quickly and those really needing vendor support can be passed along.
- Support – Does the vendor charge for support calls? Do calls from your practice need to originate from a specified point of contact or can any user call? Do you have to go through a dedicated support specialist on the vendor side or can anyone get you a timely response?
- Practice Mindset – While successfully implementing an EHR is the goal from day one, the practice should also be open, ready and willing to make changes within their workflow which can make the transition as smooth and painless as possible.
Implementing an EHR can be painful but it doesn’t have to be. While the above guidelines are not the only things to consider, they are major factors in ensuring that you implement your EHR as painlessly as possible.
This article was originally published on OmniMD and is republished here with permission.