Eight Reasons it's Time Your Practice Look for a New Electronic Medical Records System
As with any industry, there are a handful of companies that dominate the market among EHRs. In fact, the top ten EHR companies have between 80 and 90 percent of the market share. If your company is using one of these EHRs, you may have made the decision without even thinking about it, because you had heard of the EHR company and knew that many of your friends and colleagues in the industry were using it.
However, is your current EHR correct for your company? Just because it is one of the top companies does not mean it is the best. How do you know when it is time for your company to change EHRs? The first step is taking a look at your company’s short and long-term objectives. This will give you an idea of if and when you should change EHRs, and which one to switch to if you do. With these things in mind, you will not be too overly concerned with which EHRs are popular on the market, and will only consider which ones are best for your company.
Reason 1: Your Current EHR is "Sunsetting"
This is considered an urgent reason to change EHRs. When your current EHR is sunsetting, that means it has announced that it will no longer develop enhancements for its current product. You want your EHR to be continually updated and improved, because it keeps your company moving smoothly, and also keeps it secure. If sunsetting is going to be occurring with your current EHR, it is time to change to a new one.
Reason 2: Your EHR is Undergoing a Merger
If your EHR is merging with a company that will result in that company having more than one EHR, there are potential issues with inoperability with your current EHR. There may also be interoperability issues with the new EHRs and your current one.
Reason 3: Lack of Certification
If your EHR does not have certification for federally mandated programs such as PAMA and Meaningful Use, you should change your EHR to a new one right away. Having the proper certification is essential to making sure your EHR does what you need it to do, in the way you need it to do it.
Reason 4: Efficiency Issues with Your EHR
While the first three reasons are considered “big” ones that should prompt you to switch EHRs right away, there are other reasons that are not so urgent, but should make you seriously consider changing. The good news is that you do not have to change right away, and can take your time in considering what type of new EHR you want to adopt. Efficiency issues with your current EHR is one of these less pressing, but still important reasons for changing EHRs. EHRs are expensive and take a long time to implement at a company, but if your current EHR is not as efficient as you need it to be (or if it used to be fine, but no longer meets efficiency requirements for your current needs), then you need to have a look into the replacement EHR market.
Reason 5: Your Current EHR is Not Suited to the Specialty of Your Practice
Sometimes, your practice has needs that simply cannot be met by a generic EHR. There are plenty of EHRs out there that are just name brand, big box solutions, and those may not be (and likely are not) the correct ones for your practice. If you have rushed to order an EHR without properly researching it, you may find that it does not do what you need it to do when you put it to work at your office. If this is true, you are not alone. About 75 percent of practices report their current EHR is not right for their specialty. With an EHR that does not align well with the daily workflow of a practice, the job of the physician becomes much more challenging. It is time to replace EMR and begin using a new one that does what your individual practice needs it to do.
Reason 6: There is No Customer Support
Even if your EHR is terrific in practice, you will likely be unhappy with your experience with it if there is no customer support. Lack of customer support can mean anything from responses that are not timely in nature, not professional or helpful, or even getting no responses from customer service at all. You naturally want to feel like your EHR vendor supports you, not that it has abandoned you. Around 44 percent of users of EHRs report that their vendors are not appropriately responsive to their issues and inquiries. When this is true, physicians tend to want to make a change in their EHR, and they should. Besides being annoying and disrespectful, a lack of customer support can actually hinder a practice’s operations and bottom line, sometimes in a significant way. No matter how good it is, an EHR without good customer support should be replaced.
Reason 7: Poor Training
Learning how to use any EHR is not easy or simple. If your practice does not receive the correct amount of training on how to use yours, it will only be natural for you to become frustrated. Most practices receive less than three days of training on their new EHRs, and some receive no training at all, especially if their EHR is an out of the box, generic one that is supposed to be (but in reality is not) a one size fits all EHR. When office members are given little training, or completely left on their own to figure out an EHR, it results in long periods of inefficiency at your practice, which will negatively impact your patient experiences and care. If you have an EHR with little or no training, and your personnel is still learning how to use it, it is time to seriously consider getting a new one that comes with the proper training your people need to use it effectively and efficiently from the get-go.
Reason 8: Complex Navigation
It is crucial for an EHR to be easy to use. If it is not, then the personnel at your practice is almost certainly not going to be happy with it. Sadly, around 58 percent of EHRs are known for being complex to use, with click-heavy navigation and other user unfriendly features. When an EHR is difficult to use, it takes longer to use it, and this results in less efficiency for the office. Not only will the personnel not have enough time to devote to their other duties at work, physicians will have less time to focus on their patients, because they will be busy focusing on navigating their EHR. An EHR is meant to enhance patient care. If your EHR is not allowing your practice to do this, then it is time to change it. Do not waste time trying to learn or get around a complex navigation on your EHR. Invest in a new one that is more user friendly.
Some Thoughts on EHRs and Changing Yours
If your current EHR is not meeting your needs in any way, it is time to move on to a new one. Your partnership with your EHR is supposed to be a mutually beneficial one. It is up to you to recognize any issues that you may be having with it, and then examine other EHR solutions that will do the things you need them to do. When you choose an EHR wisely, the benefits to you as well as the vendor can be abundant. However, the most important thing is that your patents will benefit, which is why the EHRs were invented in the first place.
Regardless of your experience with an EHR, remember that what is right for your practice may not be right for another one, and vice versa. Just because one particular EHR did not work out for your practice does not mean it will not be the perfect solution for a different practice. Most EHRs on the market today are doing their best to provide the best service and experience for both practices and patients. You must examine your experience with your current EHR through the lens of what it is or is not doing for you, your personnel, and your patients, and make a decision on switching it (or not) based on all of those factors. When you choose your EHR well, everyone involved with it should be happy.