A recent survey found that nearly 14 percent of medical practices struggle with EHR adoption and implementation. And another 13 percent have difficulties meeting meaningful use (MU) requirements.
To further reinforce just how much physicians are grappling to find the right fit, nearly 40 percent of those surveyed have already purchased two or more EHRs. Given the high cost of implementation and training – estimated between $15,000 and $70,000 per provider – switching EHRs can be a costly endeavor.
So if you find yourself needing to make a switch, how can you make the most of this substantial investment?
Assess Your Needs
Let’s assume you have previously implemented an EHR. Before doing so the first time, you likely performed a readiness assessment to establish where your practice stood as far as technology, workflows, and other daily processes.
Given that any number of these things could have changed since the first implementation, it would be wise to revisit your current needs with questions like:
- Have more providers joined the practice?
- Do the employees need additional training?
- Is your current internet service provider reliable?
Plan…And Then Plan Some More
Healthcare organizations devote significant amounts of time towards getting an EHR up and running – nearly 58 percent of providers claiming six months or longer. To begin the planning phase, HealthIT.gov recommends dividing tasks into three categories:
- What new work tasks/process are we going to start doing?
- What work tasks/process are we going to stop doing?
- What work tasks/process are we going to sustain?
From here, practices should evaluate workflows under the current EHR, and then analyze those same workflows under the replacement EHR. While some may stay the same, many will likely change. Ideally, the new workflows will minimize repetitive or duplicative tasks, allowing the organization to become more efficient.
If there are no efficiencies readily apparent, it might not be necessary to switch EHRs. Perhaps additional training on the current system, or utilizing other technologies like voice recognition, would be a better investment.
Select a Certified EHR
When (or if) you do change to a different EHR, make sure you choose one that is ONC-certified. A certified EHR is mandatory for meaningful use attestation and participation in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.
Once you’ve made the decision to switch EHR platforms and have selected the software, it’s easy to want to rush on through to implementation. But proper, in-depth training will help your practice gain plenty of worthwhile productivity.
Check with your selected EHR vendor for training resources. Additionally, there are a number of independent EHR consultants who can assist with EHR optimization and customization – both of which are vital to gaining all of the technology’s benefits.
Achieve Meaningful Use
The current push for EHR utilization is to achieve meaningful use. So the ultimate goal of switching to another platform is maintaining compliance – hopefully more efficiently than with the prior EHR.
As new incentive programs are introduced, EHRs are expected to remain pivotal to obtaining maximum Medicare reimbursements. Investing in a better-suited EHR system now will position you for those forthcoming changes.
Has your practice made the switch to a new EHR platform? How did it go? Please join the conversation below.