How are you going to improve your practice in the coming year?
Because of how fast technology changes, it is estimated that 30 percent of all current EHR users will be interested in upgrading and replacing their current software as they look for more features, more convenience.
If you fall into that category, where do you begin? After all, everyone has an opinion on what makes EHR software worth the investment.
EHR manufacturers will not have the same opinion as the head of your company. The CIO will not have the same requirements as an office manager. Needs are based on what helps you do your job more effectively, and that runs different from person to person.
Yet purchasing EHR software isn’t the same as downloading the coolest app from iTunes or Google Play. EHR software is expensive. It’s something you may bring into your business and continue using for years to come.
Do you really want to make that selection on a whim?
Instead, the best place to start is with a little guidance. After all, every program can sound amazing when you look at the way marketers write up the sales copy. In the long run, you want the best software for what you do. And that starts by defining your plan of action before you tackle making a decision.
Create a clear plan
Start by clearly defining how the new EHR program will be utilized every day. Make a list of everyone in the office who will access it, what their requirements are, how they will use it, and what would most benefit them. How an office manager uses it will not be the same as how a physician uses it. Make sure you understand the nuances of each.
Include every opinion
Never guess at how people will use a system. Ask them instead. Be sure to include everyone in the decision-making process, verifying all of their user requirements. This means sitting down with each staff member and figuring out what matters most. This can help you avoid the flashy features during the demo phase.
Separate necessities from desires
When you start questioning staff members, it’s easy for them to start dreaming of potential. It’s also easy for some to cover up certain processes that would greatly enhance productivity, yet they are holding back out of fear of the unknown. Be willing to change business processes when better features are available that can aid in both the way the office runs, and also how you communicate with your customers.
Make your essential list early
There are some features that are essential to any EHR software you purchase: HIPAA compliant security, physician and patient scheduling, billing functionality, e-prescribing. There are also non-essential items that can improve productivity: mobile access, patient portals, voice recognition for dictation. Make sure you separate the two and select a program that truly has what the office staff will use most.
Don’t get overwhelmed
Do a quick search and you can easily come up with a dozen or more contenders to add to your list of possibilities. Each highlights something different; each has it’s own way of moving to the top of the list. It’s difficult to stay objective and not become overwhelmed with the bells and whistles. Use simple criteria to eliminate the majority of them as quickly as possible, weeding your list down to a more manageable three or four. Only demo at this level because the features will quickly start blurring together if you look at more.
Also, be sure to have a standardized scorecard for comparing the different products. Look realistically at how each software program handles each individualized task. Don’t get distracted by the flashy features a salesperson may try to sell you on. Instead, put your emphasis on looking for what your staff wants and how you can give them the full package they will use the most.
This can be a difficult process. It’s easy to lose sight of what is truly important. Sometimes having an impartial expert on your side can help you weed through the potentials and help you focus in on the best solution for your office.
That’s what we’re here for; just give us a call.