Your new EHR target goals for improved productivity should include a system that provides patients as much value as it provides your practice
Electronic health records (EHRs) are meant to aid in the data collection and recordkeeping process. However, this type of software has even greater implications as it has the capacity to alter the “operation, organization, and cultural process” of your entire practice, depending on your EHR target goals, according to the American Health Information Management Association.
That’s why it is so important to select an EHR that enhances versus hinders your office in these four areas.
If you don’t feel as if your current EHR is adding enough value to your chiropractic practice, or that it is not offering the features you desire, it may be time to make a switch. Here are the top four issues to watch for during this process, ensuring that you’ll move to an EHR that serves both you and your patients better.
Whether your current records meet your long-term EHR target goals
Transitioning to a new EHR is a lengthy process. Even after all of your data is in the new system, your staff will be spending a decent amount of time learning how to use its various features and functions. Altogether, this can take several months, if not longer.
That’s why Medscape says that the process of switching to a new EHR “should be driven by long-term needs and goals.” This prevents you from going through the time-consuming process of changing over only to realize that the new software or program will not suit your future needs.
Try to imagine what your practice will look like five, 10, or 20 years from now. What EHR features could help you run a more profitable business, taking you from where you are now to where you want to be, and meeting your EHR target goals? Which vendors seem to progress with the times, continuing to provide your office with updates that can make your office run more efficiently and smoothly?
Choosing brand over functionality
Healthcare IT News reports that 71% of smaller-level health care providers noticed a drop in interoperability after making an EHR switch. Two issues blamed for unintentionally choosing a system that was unable to effectively exchange and make use of health care data were “brand-name recognition and overeager sales pitches,” both of which are alleged to hide this type of issue.
Avoiding this trap involves doing due diligence when researching your EHR vendor, even if it is a brand name. In addition to collecting information from the vendor itself, look online to see what other health care providers say about the software or company. Read reviews to learn where the vendor excels and where you may encounter issues.
The vendor’s level of data portability assistance
One of the biggest headaches associated with changing EHRs is transitioning your data from the old system to the new. This can take quite a bit of time and effort on your staff’s part. It can also be frustrating if they face any issues during the changeover process.
That’s why the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology says that an EHR vendor’s transition services should be a “significant factor” to consider before signing up with that particular company. Transition services to inquire about include:
- offering adequate support during the transition period, both as an incoming and outgoing EHR (at the beginning and end of the contract)
- optimizing data storage so it can be easily transferred from one system to another
- access to tools that enable you to transfer the data on your own
- access to an archival copy of the software so you have continued access to your information even if you choose to later switch to a different EHR
Your patient’s office accessibility under the new EHR
In its June 2020 issue, the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association published a study showing that the Mayo Clinic suffered “significant drops” in patient satisfaction levels after switching EHRs. The biggest reason cited for this decline was patients’ inability to easily access this health care agency. Access referred to issues with trying to get the clinic on the phone and problems with appointment scheduling.
When switching EHRs, check in with your patients regularly to get feedback about their interactions with your new system. Ask whether they’ve had any troubles so you can quickly identify any problem areas. Asking their input also shows that, while you are focused on creating an effective and efficient office, you want a system that works for them too as you pursue your new EHR target goals for improved productivity. Find a system that provides patients as much value as it provides you.