September 14, 2023
Critical Factors to Consider When Selecting an EHR System | How Do You Choose?
Choosing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system is a critical decision for healthcare providers and organizations, as it can significantly impact patient care, efficiency, and compliance. Here is a simple checklist of steps to help you choose the right EHR and EMR system in your private practice:
1. Assess your organization’s needs:
Start by assessing your organization’s specific requirements and goals. Specifically, consider factors such as the size of your practice, specialty-specific needs, budget, and any unique workflow requirements. A successful EHR implementation should improve patient care, streamline operations, and assist in meeting regulatory requirements.
2. Identify key features and functionalities:
Make a list of essential features and functionalities you need in an EHR/EMR system. Some common features to consider include patient scheduling, charting and documentation, e-prescribing, lab integration, billing and coding, interoperability, and reporting capabilities. Many new EMR/EHR systems integrate automation and predictive systems to aid in both revenue cycle management and overall business operations.
3. Consider integration and interoperability:
Ensure that the EHR/EMR system can integrate with other systems and share data seamlessly and in real time. It should be capable of exchanging information with laboratories, pharmacies, and other healthcare providers to promote efficient communication and continuity of care. The EHR/EMR should also promote interaction between the practice and payers, assisting with the appropriate documentation requirements based on specific CPT codes and ICD-10 requirements.
4. Research available EHR/EMR vendors:
Conduct thorough research on the different EHR/EMR vendors in the market. Look for vendors with a good reputation, experience in your industry, and positive customer reviews. Consider factors such as their track record, support and training offerings, and their commitment to data security and compliance with regulatory standards.
5. Request demonstrations and trials:
Narrow down your list of potential vendors and request demonstrations or trials of their EHR/EMR systems. This will help you evaluate the user interface, ease of use, and overall suitability for your organization’s workflow. Pay attention to customization options and the availability of ongoing technical support.
6. Check for regulatory compliance:
Ensure that the EHR/EMR system complies with relevant healthcare regulations and standards, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States. It should prioritize the security of patient data, and privacy of patient information, and provide audit trails for compliance purposes.
7. Evaluate scalability and flexibility:
Consider the scalability and flexibility of the EHR/EMR system. Determine if it can accommodate your organization’s future growth and evolving needs. It should be able to adapt to changing regulations and technological advancements.
8. Seek feedback and references:
Reach out to other healthcare organizations or professionals who are already using the EHR/EMR systems you are considering. Ask for their feedback, insights, and recommendations to gain a better understanding of the pros and cons. In addition, seek internal feedback from those staff members who will utilize the system – physicians, clinical and office staff, practice administrators, billers, and coders.
9. Review costs and return on investment (ROI):
Evaluate the total cost of ownership, including upfront costs, initial pricing, ongoing maintenance fees, and any additional expenses such as training and support. Consider the potential return on investment in terms of increased efficiency, reduced paperwork, improved patient outcomes, and revenue cycle management.
10. Make an informed decision:
Based on your assessments, vendor research, demonstrations, and feedback, select the EHR/EMR system that best aligns with your organization’s needs, goals, and budget.
If you would like guidance on these areas or other matters related to the healthcare industry, our executive contacts are available to assist. Contact Trevor McElhaney via email at tmc[email protected], call 800-635-4040, or visit our website at www.doctorsmanagement.com to learn more.
Trevor McElhaney, JD, Director of Consulting
About DoctorsManagement | Founded in 1956, DoctorsManagement, a full-service healthcare consulting firm, helps practices of all sizes reduce compliance risks, increase practice profits, improve patient satisfaction and employee morale while also reducing stress for physicians, managers, and staff. The firm uses strategies that have been proven over five decades of experience and gives clients access to a team of nationally recognized industry experts in practically every area of medical practice management, including compliance, healthcare analytics, coding, auditing, financial services, patient retention, human resources, and more.