EHR is the lifeblood of the modern medical office. It is vital that your EHR not only requests prescriptions and fulfills Meaningful Use and MACRA, but more importantly, an EHR needs to help clinics run effective and efficient.
We've developed seven simple questions that clinics should ask themselves before purchasing a new EHR system.
1). What is wrong with where we are?
The first step to finding a new EHR system is understanding what you need and want from the new system. What is your current system not doing that is driving you to look elsewhere? What do you like about your current system that is making it hard to leave? To understand where you want to go you first have to know where you are.
2). What is the move going to cost?
Look more in-depth than the sticker price. Are there additional costs for implementation, training, or support? Will you need to update any of your current IT structure? The last thing you want is to spend valuable time doing research, watching demos, and gaining buy-in from physicians only to learn you have to start all over because it doesn’t fit the budget.
3). Will the new system make our clinic more effective and efficient?
You know what you need and what you want, but will the new system make you more effective and efficient? When researching and demoing EHRs, it's helpful to grade the functionality of each solution you demo. Come up with grading criteria so you can make sure the system you go with fits your current office workflows.
4). Can this EHR support our clinic?
During implementation or after going live on the system is not a good time to find out that your new vendor does not have the resources or knowledge to support your clinic. Does the new vendor currently support any other clinics your same size or that practice your specialties? Get references to contacts of the clinics the new EHR services and then check with them to see how they feel about the vendor post-implementation.
5). What are our plans for implementation?
Just having a ‘go live’ date is not enough. When will your office receive training? Who needs to be there? Where will the training take place? Make sure you and your new vendor know what to expect during implementation. The last thing you want is the added stress of something going wrong during an already stressful time.
6). Is this the latest and greatest version?
You don’t want to make this large purchase and have an out-of-date system in a year. How and when will you get new updates? Are the updates free or will you need to budget for them?
7). What happens once your live?
You're spending a lot of time and money on a new system, so make sure you like what you get after you sign the contract. What kind of support will you get after you are on the system? Does the vendor have a disaster plan if they experience an unexpected natural disaster? Do they have any forums, knowledge base, or customer training that you can use to help increase your knowledge of the system?
People say that knowledge is power. Using these questions can empower any clinic to find the best system for their clinic.
Did we miss an important question? Leave your comments below and let us know what you have found to work best.