Whether your practice is big or small, studies support using EHR to improve efficiency, reduce errors, and improve patient experiences at your chiro practice.
Depending on the size of your practice, however, you may have different needs. Not all EHR users are the same. Your practice deserves to have a customized solution that fits your practice and your patients.
Find out how you can implement a system that works for you. Generally, practice size can be determined by the number of clinicians, but even if your clinic is somewhere in the middle between small and large, you will likely find advice here that helps you understand your needs.
Small-to-medium-sized practices can be solo practices all the way to bigger practices with just a couple doctors. With fewer staff members and clinicians to train, small practices can likely pick up the skills and do the planning necessary to successfully implement EHR in 12 to 18 months. EHR mastery does take time to develop, and bigger practices would likely take longer. Smaller clinics typically need plenty of support and training from their vendors in order to benefit the most from EHR software.
Without an on-site IT support person that very large clinics often have, small practices often have individual staff members in many different roles and little time to dedicate to intensive EHR training and support. Finding a very helpful vendor to fulfill this need can be key.¹
Cloud-based EHR is often a smart choice for small practices because cloud systems are typically very easy to maintain. The vendor hosts your system on their own servers, handles security of your EHR, and does the upgrading and updating for you. The more your vendor does to take care of your EHR system, the easier it typically is for busy, small practices with limited staff.¹
If you know of other small practices similar to yours that are currently using EHR or shopping for software, you can partner with them to get ideas for choosing a system. This can give you all greater bargaining power when shopping for a new vendor, also, if the vendor representative has the opportunity to demonstrate their product to more than one practice shopping for EHR.¹
Large practice considerations
If you are part of or own a large practice with multiple clinicians and a large number of patients, you should consider how your current workflow will change, how you will train your staff members, and how you will equip and connect your entire practice. Whichever vendor you choose, you will need to find a company that has successfully assisted with implementation at a similar practice.
Asking for references can help you choose a vendor that is knowledgeable about practices like yours. With a large practice, organization is really important. You will need to plan very carefully and advice from an experienced vendor can make a difference.¹
Your implementation will likely significantly change your workflow, which may be more complicated with multiple staff members and clinicians trying to learn a new system at the same time. Planning your transition can help you alleviate some of the problems you may encounter, so do take time to understand what your current workflow looks like and how the EHR would change it.¹
It may be just fine for you to purchase and self-host as a larger practice. Doing so will require that you handle all hosting equipment and service expenses yourself and you will likely also have to do your own updates, upgrades, and security. This way, you may save on subscription fees by avoiding a cloud system.¹
Find out what you need in an EHR system by having conversations with every staff member in your office, other providers you partner with and with your clinician peers. After you write your wish list, begin looking for vendors.
By comparing features and prices, you can learn more about how your practice can benefit from EHR.
¹Columbus, S. “Small Practice, Big Decision: Selecting an EHR System for Small Physician Practices.” Journal of AHIMA. http://library.ahima.org/doc?oid=64036#.WEnd33Q76hA. Published: May 2006. Accessed: December 2016.