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Finding the Right EHR for Your Practice

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are necessary for the modern medical practice. With the incentives brought about by the HITECH Act of 2009, around 85% of doctors today use some basic form EHR, with most opting for a customized and complex system that can handle the nuances of their practice’s daily operations [1].

But in order to implement the best EHR for your practice, you must navigate the technology shopping process. Sadly, many physicians and practice managers find this process to be challenging, even if they have purchased an EHR before.

Determine Which EHR Features Matter Most

Shopping for your new EHR does not need to make you feel apprehensive. Remember, this is an incredible opportunity to find a tool that will make office workflows, patient satisfaction, quality of care, and even billing better! The most important thing to keep in mind is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to patient record management. Your practice needs to take a careful look at what you need and want, as well as what you do not need to be included with this important purchase.

In order to have an understanding of what you are looking for when you start your search, it is a good idea to evaluate your current system’s features, both positive and negative, and decide what you must have in your next EHR.

Do Not Rush the Shopping Process

You may have a sense of urgency when you start your research – i.e. your current service is sunsetting. Although that is the reason you may have started, do not let it be the main influence. By rushing to a decision, you risk costing your practice time, money and frustration.

Ultimately you need a solid strategy when wading into the EHR pool. No matter how much shopping you may have done in the past, this is a high-pressure business task, with important long-term implications. Plus, there are hundreds of options on the market, and you want to find a quality solution – not just an affordable one – that fits your needs.

Compare EHRs and Their Features

One of the biggest challenges when you start your shopping is being able to compare one product to another in multiple categories like price, specialty, interoperability, quality and more. In a Physicians Practice 2016 Technology Survey, of around 1,500 healthcare workers, 74% of respondents did not report a return on investment with their EHR; and nearly one-third reported that the software was “mediocre.”[2] It is important to note that those figures do not look at all the other related technology in your practice, and many practice management systems should exhibit interoperability with the EHR. Be sure to also review additional offerings from those hundreds of vendors. Many EHR companies – but not all – offer more than just their main EHR software!

Plan for Now and the Future

As we mentioned earlier, make sure that you do a value needs assessment and take a look at your existing workflows and other technology that you are not yet looking to replace – or are, so that you can find a vendor who can supply you with multiple solutions. Plus, be sure to look ahead and plan for any future needs! The vendor and software you choose should be able to grow with you.

For more in-depth information, be sure to download our comprehensive guide.

Shopping for Your New EHR

Don’t miss next month’s topic: “The importance of the EHR vendor to practice relationship when looking to purchase a new EHR, because your choice is more than just software!”

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