Choosing the Right EHR System for Your Medical Practice

Implementing an EHR system will benefit your practice. But the best EHR system for you may vary depending on your practices’ needs and goals. Here are six tips to help you with choosing the right EHR for your practice that works best for your physicians, nurses, administrators, and patients.

Gather Feedback on Staff Experiences with EHR

When selecting an EHR system, your staff can be a great resource. Both clinical and non-clinical staff may have experiences with EHRs and EMRs from beyond your practice, helping you identify options. Also, your staff members’ experiences with your current EHR may inform key priorities when selecting a new system. For example, if your staff members are experiencing EHR-related physician burnoutEHR usability may be your top priority when selecting a new product.

Prioritize Key EHR System Features

EHR systems can do far more than store your patients’ medical records. Identifying the key EHR features and functions your practice needs will help you choose the right system for you.

The Institute of Medicine has identified eight core functions of EHR systems, including:

  • Health information and data
  • Results management
  • Order entry/management
  • Decision support
  • Electronic communication and connectivity
  • Patient support
  • Administrative processes
  • Reporting and population management

Besides these key functions, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have four additional requirements for EHRs in their programs to promote the use of EHR technology. These include coordination of care through patient engagement; health information exchange; public health reporting; and reporting on quality measures.

You can get started on narrowing your EHR selection by prioritizing among these 12 key EHR features and functions with the key stakeholders at your practice.

Identify Your EHR Goals

What is your practice hoping to gain from implementing a new EHR system? Your goals for your EHR system can help guide you toward the product or vendor best suited to your needs. For example, a practice seeking to increase quality scores may prioritize dashboarding and reporting functions, while a practice seeking to reduce claims denials may prioritize an EHR that integrates well with a strong practice management system.

Setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound) for your EHR system will also help you track your progress. From these SMART goals, you should define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which is what your organization should track within your dashboards. If your practice is falling behind on its goals, you can upgrade or customize your system. You can also research ways to improve your workflows to help break bottlenecks or fix common user errors.

List Your Deal-Breakers

If your practice has any critical limitations or requirements for your purchase, identify those early in the selection process. For example, a small budget may rule out some vendor options. Your budget may also affect whether you store data in-house or on a web-based server (“in the cloud”). Or you may need an EHR system that can easily share information with your local hospital system. Laying out these deal-breakers in advance will help you rule out unsuitable options quickly, saving you time.

Decide Where You Want to Store Your Data

EHRs can store data on a server in your data center, on a vendor’s server, or in the cloud. Many EHR systems offer multiple storage options, and each approach has benefits and drawbacks. Web-based systems often have lower upfront installation costs, benefiting smaller practices. In-office storage can give your practice more flexibility, however, and might only be feasible for larger practices.

Compare Available Certified EHRs

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT maintains a list of certified Health IT (CEHRT) products. You can use this list as a starting point for identifying potential EHR systems. Your practice can also create a Request for Information (RFI) to gather details on the software specifications, the support offered, and the total cost of ownership from different vendors. Issuing an RFI will help you gather all the information you need about your EHR system options. Using this information, you can identify the system that best meets the needs you identified by prioritizing features, setting goals, and listing deal-breakers.

Ask for Demos from Your Top Vendors

Once you have narrowed down your list of options to just a few EHR systems, you can reach out to vendors and ask for demonstrations. A demonstration will let you test drive possible EHR or EMR software and determine which might best meet your needs. Involve key clinical and non-clinical stakeholders in these demonstrations to gather their feedback on the usability and features of each EHR system.

Compile Stakeholder Feedback

After you have met with the various EHR vendors for the demos, create a matrix that contains the following:

  • EHR software
  • Cost
  • Deal-breakers
  • Ratings on key features and functionality of each product
  • Ratings from stakeholder committees
  • Feedback from the demos

Meet With Selection Committee

Meet with the selection committee to review the matrix together to help determine what is the best EHR for your practice based upon your needs. Take each area that will be affected by the migration into account including physicians, nurses, medical assistants, medical records, and administrators. If any of these areas are negatively impacted by the choice, it will not be a successful EHR implementation.

How TempDev Can Help You Choose the Right EHR System for Your Practice

TempDev’s expert consultants can help you identify business requirements and key features you need in an EHR. They can guide you in bets determining what system can best meet your needs so your physician community is not unhappy with the choice. TempDev specializes in implementation, development, and customization to help your practice get more out of your EHR.

Call us at 888.TEMP.DEV or contact us here to get started finding the right EHR system for your practice.

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