Choosing your EHR

Points to Consider While Choosing an Electronic Health Records (EHR)

Selecting the Right EHR is Crucial

Statistics indicate that just over a half of the total number of providers are using EHRs that are fully functional. Nearly over a third of the total users consider switching their systems. Choosing the right EHR Software helps save time and improves patient outcomes while increasing revenues for practices. The catch is in selecting the EHR that suits your specific needs. How can practices achieve this?

Get started with getting to know the experience of present users and understanding their views about EHR. Physicians' rating of the top EHRs prevailing in the market is available from official surveys. Nearly 20,000 physicians have participated in a survey conducted during the year 2015; this survey ranked EHRs according to certain criteria such as customer care and support, implementation, training, and reliability. It is possible to first create a list of the potential EHRs after which you may get in touch with vendors for scheduling a demo and then discern the facts and figures.

Facts to be Assured Before Choosing Your EHR System

Does the EHR offer smooth transition?

Quick and easy implementation and getting the practice staff to get accustomed easily is crucial for ensuring smooth and effortless transition for the medical practice. You may avoid the burden of having to invest on new hardware and other system installation by opting a cloud-based EHR. Yet, you need to select an EHR that renders itself easy for training the staff and for using it quickly and efficiently. Getting a clear idea about the implementation process as well as timeline from the vendor is important.

It is essential to put forward questions such as whether training will be provided, how long it takes to get started, whether assistance for transferring digital files and scanning paper files is available, and what length of time is required by practices for getting up and running the system.

Are all your current and future needs met by the EHR efficiently?

It is important to assure that the new EHR you select fulfills the current and probable future needs; you have to check how the vendor addresses your specific needs.

Questions-such as whether the EHR is easy to use, does it help in meeting PQRS standards, HIPAA compliance is accomplished, is it possible to integrate users' ideas, is ICD-10 fully supported, whether it is certified for Stage 2 and Meaningful Use, and whether it integrates with other medical information technologies such as billing systems and practice management systems-need to be raised.

Is the EHR System affordable?

While some of the EHRs prove economical but involve high charges for upgrading and maintenance, others may be expensive initially. Yet others may come, but may not be having the essential features that you need. EHRs might cost more in future, so it is better to have details about the current as well as projected costs beforehand.

Practices need to put forth the following questions in this regard:

  • How much would be the start-up price of the EHR?
  • Is there any fee on specific functionality?
  • Is any fee required toward interfacing with labs and imaging facilities?
  • Does upgrade involve fee or is it free?
  • Does existing hardware need upgrading?
  • Does customizing templates add cost?

Is the EHR you choose is certified?

It is necessary to have an EHR System that is capable of storing patient information in a structured. Convenient format for capturing and sharing such information efficiently is key in achieving this. Governing bodies such as CMS have established standards and criteria for structured data which must be used by EHRs for qualifying for incentive programs sponsored by government. Certified EHR is essential for getting incentive payments.

Questions to be asked in this regard are whether the chosen EHR is certified for Meaningful Use, which programs will the practice be able to participate in by using the EHR, and whether all necessary standards and compliance needs are met by the EHR.

What type of support is offered?

Apart from being easy to use, available and helpful service to clients proves crucial for getting the most out of EHRs. It may turn out that a few of the practice staff need additional support and help during occasions such as while getting started, understanding things like the Meaningful Use, and learning newer features. The EHR features and support provided must fulfill these needs.

It is prudent at this stage to ask questions such as whether support offered and unlimited, does the vendor offer manual support, how will issues be resolved, and what will be the support provided during as well as after implementation.

It is necessary to check whether the EHR will help in improving the overall efficiency of the practice. Moreover, practices must ensure that they have the resources and support needed by them to accomplish the intended success.