Five Tips When Transitioning to EHRs
By Alex Tate
The benefits of switching to Electronic Health Records System are clear: less paperwork, more accuracy, reducing environmental footprint and an overall increase in productivity. In some cases you can even qualify for incentive from Medicaid and Medicare when you implement an EHR technology. But making a transition from paper to EHR isn’t as easy as expected. Here are few tips to help you simplify the transition as possible.
- Know all the applicable laws
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) states that all records need to comply with state and federal laws and regulations published put by CMS. Make sure your new system has taken all these standards into account but failing to comply with these can cause you penalties.
- Plan the implementation in advance
It is not the vendor’s main goal to develop a strategy for implementing the software across your organization. For this reason you need to develop a comprehensive and clear implementation plan before your vendor starts the installation process. Otherwise the process can be longer and expensive than expected.
- Think about logistics
You also need to consider the physical aspects of the transition and you should consider the following issues before you implement the EHR system:
- Networking – Before you begin your transition to EHR make sure all the Ethernet and connectors are installed at the appropriate places within your practice.
- Power supply- If your staff is using the laptops and tablets to access the EHR software then you will need a charging place.
- Equipment- To use your new system you will need computers that staff members can use to record the patient information. Depending on your preferences you can either purchase desktop computers for each room or you can allow your members to carry laptops or tablets to access the EHR.
- Integrating your EHR with other systems
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommended installing EHR software that can handle the primary function of your practice consisting of billing, practice management and recordkeeping.
- Stay ready for obstacles
No matter how careful you plan your transition to EHR there will be some setbacks and challenges along the way. Even though your practice is keeping electronic records but there will be other groups that will still be using paper records. In cases like this you need to be ready to upload the paperwork into the new system by scanning. In the beginning you will feel decrease in your productivity as you will require lots of time to train your employees while they grow and get more comfortable with the new workflows.
About the author: Alex Tate is a journalist, author, editor, and novelist who frequently writes about EHR adoption, practice management, and health IT. He currently manages ehrsoftware.info website a company that helps practices and physicians select the right EHR.