By now, you’re probably using an EHR in your practice. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re happy about it, though. Finding the right EHR for your practice is tough but successfully implementing an EHR can be even more difficult to achieve. EHR dissatisfaction could stem from a number of areas so how do you know if your EHR frustrations are the result of individual users, a poor implementation, or EHR functionality?
According to a 2007 report by the Legislative Analyst’s Office of California, one large hospital “generated about $8.6 million in annual savings by replacing paper medical charts with EHRs for outpatients and about $2.8 million annually by establishing electronic access to laboratory results and reports.”
Of course, the report only mentioned hospitals which had successfully implemented HIT.
If you’re experiencing headaches and frustration from trying to make your EHR work for you, it may not be you — you may have a terrible EHR.
There are lots of choices to make, and it’s possible that your practice may have ended up with a solution that doesn’t match your needs.
Here are seven signs to watch for that indicate that your EHR isn’t working for your practice:
1) Poor Support Service
Support is one of the key deliverables that sets apart the best EHRs from those that cause hours of frustration. If your EHR doesn’t offer on-site training and conversion to their system to ensure that no data is lost, you may very well be frustrated by your experience.
And you wouldn’t be alone. In fact, 26% of doctors reported decreased productivity after adopting an EHR.
But on top of these basics, a top EHR system will also include great customer service, with trained staff available to answer questions as you integrate their system.
2) Not Working Consistently/Poor User Experience
If the EHR system you chose isn’t working properly, don’t blame yourself. In 2016, if the system isn’t intuitive and easy to use, it’s not you that needs to change; it’s your system. A well-built EHR solution shouldn’t go down very often (if at all) and the end user (you) should be able to understand and use the system after training (assuming you invested in the recommended training).
If that is not the case for you, don’t feel like you should try harder or spend still more hours learning how to use the system. It may be time for a change.
3) No or Few Integrations
Again, filed under “not acceptable” is a system with few (or no!) integrations. These are essential for a properly working EHR system. If you are not able to integrate with other providers and services, your hands are tied and your practice suffers.
4) EHR and PM System Not Unified
A solid EHR system includes a practice management (PM) system integrated into the package. If you cannot seamlessly connect your practice's revenue cycle management to your EMR, your practice is going to slow down and become less efficient, not more efficient.
Having a unified EHR software helps tremendously when it comes to things like:
5) No Specialty Specific Functionality
Some practices opt to use an EHR system that fits perfectly into their practice specialty. This can be beneficial but also limiting.
A better solution is to choose a system that offers specialty specific functionality with the addition of being general enough to handle new specialties as your practices grows and changes.
6) Not Customizable
The EHR system you choose should work with you, not against you. Your practice shouldn’t need to change to accommodate the system. The EHR should be customizable to fit your needs.
Certainly, there are limitations to what can be customized, but in today’s competitive marketplace, your system should work for you.
7) You’re Paying for Upgrades You Don’t Need
This last one might strike a cord. If your EHR system asks you to pay for upgrades (or has in the past) that you don’t fully understand or agree with, you may have an EHR system that is not a good fit.
An upgraded version of your EHR should deliver features and benefits that you can use and that you need in today's changing healthcare landscape. If you find that you're paying for unnecessary upgrades that are doing more harm than good, you may have partnered with the wrong EHR vendor.
There are many options for EHR systems today and the landscape can seem overwhelming. But by thinking carefully about what your needs are as a practice and looking at the available solutions, you should be able to find an EHR system that works for you.