What to Consider Before Switching EHR Systems
Feb 15, 2022

What to Consider Before Switching EHR Systems

Electronic health record (ERH) software is critical for a modern healthcare practice. Using an EHR, providers are able to securely manage patient information in a way that supports efficient patient care. The right EHR software offers a variety of benefits, but they can only be realized if the software is carefully selected and implemented. If your organization believes they have the wrong EHR, here is what to consider before switching EHR systems.

Most businesses blame the software when an EHR system doesn't work as intended, but it's often caused by a lack of planning during implementation, training, or even issues with existing software. To keep operations moving smoothly, consider these key aspects before switching to a new EHR software. 

Problems With Your Current Solution

Very few health providers in the United States still use paper-based records. With the advent of secure, digital patient records, healthcare businesses have realized improved consistency, faster access, efficient information sharing, and more informed patient care. Yet, not all EHR systems function equally. You may consider replacing your existing EHR system if any of the following apply.

Your Software is Outdated

These days, it doesn't take long for software to become outdated if it's not being properly maintained by both the EHR vendor and IT administrators. With enterprise-level EHR systems, some software vendors have not maintained the level of innovation needed to keep up with healthcare. You may be many versions behind or your software vendor just isn't releasing what is needed to maintain a secure, compliant, and inventive system. In either case, failing to keep your system up-to-date can disrupt operations and, eventually, the quality of the care you provide your patients.

Modern EHR systems are designed to improve productivity and they tend to be faster, more secure, and easier to use compared to legacy software. If you are currently using an outdated EHR system, consider updating it to a modern version or, if updates aren't available, replacing it altogether with an innovative alternative. 

Lack of Governance

Aside from choosing and maintaining the right EHR system from the technology side of things, another common issue is failing to appoint internal owners who can oversee data governance and help the system and its implementation go smoothly. Without proper ownership and accountability, users may not use the software properly, features may go ignored, and it's unlikely to line up with long-term goals. It also leads to

Internal ownership is paramount to implementing standard procedures, checking on quality, training users on how to get the most out of the system, and making sure the system and practices align with the needs of the organizations. Having a routine change control process with defined points of contact is key to having a successful EHR system implementation. Replacing your software won't fix a lack of ownership, but it's an important consideration if you're thinking about a new EHR system. 

Poor User Experience

If you've seen an uptick in unsatisfied nurses and physicians with user experience complaints over the past couple years, replacing your EHR system might be the right solution. As an EHR system begin to fall behind in the clinical requirements your team needs, you may find that it takes more time away from caring for your patients, Not only are these issues frustrating, but they hinder productivity and, when bad enough, can even cause users to resort to paper-based processes. 

Important Considerations When Switching EHR Systems

If you've identified any of the problems above, you may need to switch to a new EHR system. However, to avoid repeating the same problems, it's essential that you consider all of the following aspects to help you choose the right replacement. 

Assess Your Current Solution

The best way to identify gaps in functionality is to evaluate your current solution. Even if you're extremely unhappy with the EHR software you currently use, sit down and think about where features are lacking. For instance, you may not be able to effectively manage patient demographics or it might be hard to record new health data. Security, workflows, task management, patient reminders, and prescriptions are other areas to assess. 

Define Your Requirements

Determine what are the most important features you will need in a new EHR and define those in your EHR RFP (request for proposal). Not every EHR will have all the features your organization is looking for so it is important to prioritize and categorize by must vs nice to have. You should also decide if you're looking for a single or multi-specialty EHR enterprise system and what your growth and scale will be in 5-10 years.

Identify Risks

Aside from staying in compliance with HIPAA laws, it's essential that your EHR system does the most to protect your health providers and patients from security risks. These include financial risk, data breaches, and even issues with your staff intentionally or accidentally modifying records. All stakeholders need to understand that EHR security comes with up-front costs, and this isn't a place to cut corners. 

Consider Your Processes

Just because your existing EHR software isn't working as intended, it doesn't mean the software is at fault. Sometimes, the issues might arise entirely from improper processes or employee training, which is why it's essential to review the implementation process and check on how employees use the system on a day-to-day basis. Consider hiring a consultant if you need help tracing problems back to the real cause with an action plan of how to fix them.

Is It Time for Switching EHR Systems? 

Over the past decade, EHR technology has come a long way, now offering semi-automated workflows, integrated reminders, and a myriad of capabilities that will make it easier for your end-users to work efficiently. Whether you're looking to upgrade to a feature-rich cloud-based EHR software or something that you can install on-premises, the most important thing is that you choose a solution to align with your needs and goals.

While it's easy to get blinded by the bells and whistles of modern software solutions, don't let anything stand in your way of implementing the best software for your business. If you want to avoid wasted time and money, it's important to bring in an experienced consulting firm that can guide your software choice and help you implement it properly so you can avoid repeat issues. 

Are you ready to consider switching EHR systems? Schedule a consultation with TempDev by contacting us here or calling 888.TEMP.DEV for additional information.

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