Finding the right EHR system for your clinic can be challenging.
There are significant mistakes you can make when choosing your system, so you need to be aware of what these costly errors are and how to avoid them. Many doctors learned the hard way and wasted time, had financial losses or suffered productivity costs. You do not need to follow in their footsteps.
Avoiding these mistakes may help you minimize the heartache and improve your experience with EHR.
Mistake #1: Not setting clear targets
Before you begin shopping for a system, create a list of features you know need. Aiming for a new system without a real idea of what you are looking for can result in costly software that is not actually useful for your clinic. Keep in mind, too, that many systems are not really designed for chiropractic care. From the very beginning, plan to find a system that works well with chiropractic clinical needs, terminology, and patients.
Mistake #2: Getting a non-certified system
EHR systems that are not certified by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) are not only incompatible with Meaningful Use measures, they also were not specifically approved and verified to have the features the ONC recommends. The ONC’s certification is more reassurance that your EHR will provide the features and functionality that your clinic needs.
Mistake #3: Choosing a “one-size fits all” system
Rather than choosing a generic system that may not actually reflect the real workflow and systems you use in a chiropractic clinic, you should find software that is designed around the needs of chiropractic care.
Mistake #4: Forgetting about lead time and learning curves
There is a learning curve with any new software, and EHR is no exception. Not only will you need time to train employees on the new system, you are also going to need time to transition your workflows and account for changes in habits and systems.
If you are transitioning from paper, you may need to begin the process sooner so your practice can transition more smoothly.
Mistake #5: Failing to scale
As your practice grows, your software will need to grow along with it. This can be challenging if you implement a system that encounters limitations as you add patients and expand your services. If you are expecting growth, you should plan ahead and have software in place that is ready for change.
Mistake #6: Forgetting the extras
Extra features and bonuses in your EHR do matter. If you are able to replace other software programs with the extras included in your EHR, that can save you time and resources by taking away the need to flip back and forth between platforms or keep multiple tabs open on your workstation. You could even save money if you do not need to buy the other software in the first place.
Mistake #7: Forgetting about security
Compliance with HIPAA and other regulations is ultimately your responsibility. You cannot leave security to chance. Avoid unnecessary risk by finding a vendor that takes security seriously and meets Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) standards.
Mistake #8: Not getting mobile access
If you choose a system without mobile access, you could be tied to your workstation longer to finish up documentation or check patient records. Mobile access can help you find more freedom by allowing you to get more done away from the traditional workstation. While not necessarily an essential feature for every clinic, this is certainly very helpful.
Mistake #9: Overlooking disaster recovery
When the worst happens, you need a vendor that takes back-up plans seriously and is prepared for an outage. When shopping for vendors, be sure to ask about how they manage worst-case scenarios so you can avoid significant downtime.
Mistake #10: Failing the interoperability test
You will probably need a system that is interoperable with other EHR software, particularly if you interact frequently with other clinics or healthcare facilities. Find out what type of EHR they have and whether or not the systems you are considering are able to communicate.
Mistake #11: Not finding the tech support you need
Before you encounter technical problems, you should know how technical support is provided, what tech support services are offered and how you will get the help you need. If a significant problem occurs, you want to be sure that your vendor is ready to offer the help you really need.
Mistake #12: Not planning appropriately
Whenever possible, you also need to know what to expect in the future from your vendor. Can you count on them to update the software? Will they release software patches if there are security issues in the future? Your EHR is a long-term investment, so you need to do your due diligence to find the right system.
Mistake #13: Not researching your options
If you want to avoid these and other EHR mishaps, you should do your own due diligence and do your research to find the right system for you. Rather than just choosing the first EHR you see, take the time to ask your colleagues for recommendations, read reviews and research features. Carefully take notes and ask plenty of questions.