Choosing an EHR system can be a big investment – of time, money, and the startup training that impacts the entire office. IT news abounds with stories like Fortune’s Death by a Thousand Clicksthat tell sad tales of lost money, frustration, and even lost lives due to clinical errors. Healthcare organizations giants have reported dire quarterly losses – because of a new EHR implementation. So, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Let’s discuss some of the most important points to consider when making this decision for your practice.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has a comprehensive checklist of the entire process, from issuing an RFP, to making the final selection. The part that often gets muddy is determining what is actually needed versus nice-to-have, and what feature you will use, or will need in the future. Partnering with an EHR company that can grow with you, support the implementation process, and provide right-sized solutions that are clean and efficient need not be like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. This is a good EHR evaluation checklist that can provide a good start.
Step 1 – Gather the key players. Each professional in the office – physicians, nurses, manager, and office staff all have a different workflows and requirements for the EMR system. Do some brainstorming together and prepare for Step 2.
Step 2 – Know the clinic needs. What type of work does the practice spend the most time doing? Telehealth? Chronic Care visits? Scheduling? Is billing a pain? List these functions out, along with pain points with the current system. Make notes. Would virtual scheduling be a miracle? A patient portal that cuts down on all the phone calls? Write these down. Gathering all the stakeholders for decision-making will help to make a good decision, but it will also create more buy-in for learning a new system.
Step 3 – Number them in order of importance, then highlight the MUST HAVES. Think of it a little like house-shopping. You know you need three bedrooms, but the pool might be a nice-to-have.
Step 4 – Schedule some demos. Evaluate each product against your list, and then look at these specific categories:
|Functionality: Must haves and nice-to-haves. The product must pass this initial test.|
|Customer Support: Training modules, on-site support at startup, and accessibility afterward. Ask to see training materials, and what an implementation looks like. Call customer service and see what the wait time is like. Ask for a reference and call and talk to that facility.|
|Deployment: On-premises or cloud-based. Cloud-based are usually a lower initial cost but will have an ongoing recurring fee. On premise may be more expensive, but your data is stored locally and is not as accessible.|
|Integrations: The EHR is never stand-alone. Does it connect to peripheral systems such as analytics, remote monitoring devices, and accounting software? The more integrated it is, the less time spent on manual data entry.|
|Pricing: Not as simple as it sounds. Many products have multiple tiers, added options, or licensing fees per user. Make sure you know what each price includes so that you are comparing “apples to apples”.|
Step 5 – Score your demos as you view each one, make sure your questions are answered, and feel free to revisit some to ask more questions. EHR selection may be a bit time-consuming, but it is to be preferred over making the wrong choice that you may regret for years to come.
We at Novomedici are confident enough in our physician-designed product and all the features it offers, that we WANT you to check out our competitors and evaluate the differences. Our clients are positioned for the future of healthcare with all the most-haves, great service, an efficient and integrated solution, and pricing that will surprise you. Add us to your demo list by scheduling here and let us answer your EHR questions.