Electronic Health Records: 5 Things You Should Know
Healthcare reforms, government incentives and Meaningful Use are just a subset of the driving factors nudging healthcare providers to adopt electronic health records at astounding rates.
Here are 5 things you should know while researching, vetting and considering a new EHR or a migration to a new EHR platform.
1. Sustainability. The most important factor to consider when selecting an EHR for your practice is the viability of the platform provider. Stage 2 Meaningful Use Certification requirements are far more sophisticated and the documentation required more tedious than that of Stage 1. Confirm that your vendor is in the EHR business for the long-haul and inquire about on-going development plans to meet new government standards.
2. Specialty. The 2013 survey of the EHR market by Black Book Rankings found that of the Physicians planning to change their EHRs, 77% reported that their current EHR was not well suited to their practice. There exists a WIDE array of choice in EHR platforms – do you need one highly specialized to your discipline? At first glance, it may seem appealing to have an EHR specific to your specialty – but will the functionality ever limit your practice as your business continues to grow and potentially transform? A happy medium is to choose an EHR with flexible customization capabilities and open architecture, one with configurable macros or templates and one that will evolve with your practice.
3. Voice Dictation. The biggest fear, apprehension and overall concern heard from providers is a resounding – “An EHR is going to slow me down!” Choose an EHR that will mitigate some of this fear by having the ability to incorporate voice dictation. After a month, a Tennessee practice implemented voice recognition software and the practice manager estimates using the dictation capabilities in conjunction with the EHR reduced the time related to clinical documentation by 75%! It CAN be done!
4. Interoperability. A lack of interoperability among EHR is second only to implementations as providers’ top tech concerns. Confirm that your EHR platform has the ability to interface and exchange information with other software platforms. The Stage 2 Meaningful Use movement focuses on coordinated care – necessitating data exchange – an inability to share information between systems will have negative consequences.
5. Implementations / Training. Practices must establish a POSITIVE Change Management Team and fight anxiety from rising in both staff and providers. Whether migrating from an existing EHR or implementing an EHR for the very first time attitude is everything – with a fabulous, hands-on trainer, of course! The old adage that “you get what you pay for” is certainly applicable in this instance. EHRs are complex platforms that (should) require more training and set up than what is attainable via an on-line self-lead tutorial. Assuming your team already has the right attitude for EHR adoption, confirm that your chosen platform implementations team will be on-site to ensure success together! Navigating EHR setup, configuration and nuances of the platform, based on your specialty, is critical to your success – especially for Meaningful Use attestation.
The Brave New World of healthcare, data sharing, coordinated care and pay for performance are just around the corner. One thing is for certain: healthcare will only continue progression with increased complexities. Invest in your practice. Invest the time and energy now to find the best suited EHR for your practice – not just the “best priced” right now.
EHR Scope, LLC, “Why specialists don’t like their EHRs”
http://www.ehrscope.com/blog/specialists-dont-like-ehrs/, Accessed 19 August 2014
Physicians Practice, “2014 Technology Survey Results”
http://www.physicianspractice.com/technology-survey/2014-technology-survey-results, Accessed 19 August 2014
Courtney is a Sr. Account Executive on the IMAGINE Sales team where she thrives at identifying new opportunities for the IMAGINEehr and IMAGINE Practice Manager solutions.