The 2015 Jackson Healthcare report on Physician Trends found that 85% of physicians have adopted electronic health records (EHR) systems. Furthermore, 61% of physicians said their overhead costs for their EHR have increased because of requirements under the ACA. At the same time, physician satisfaction with EHR systems has been declining - significantly in some cases. With the average physician seeing 22 patients per day, an EHR can make or break a practice's efficiency.
In 2016, more physicians are likely to identify and replace underperforming EHRs in order to be able to better comply with regulations and better manage their revenue cycle. The right EHR helps a practice increase revenues and focus more closely on patient care.
Here are 5 reasons you might consider replacing your EHR in 2016.
1. You're Juggling Multiple Systems to Gather Information You Need
If your staff has to log into an EMR to access patient information and then has to log into a separate practice management system to get to patient billing data, the amount of time wasted switching between systems adds up significantly over the course of a year.
Many of the complaints we hear today about physicians using multiple systems is the lack of visibility into a patients billing information. They have to go through a number of steps and clicks just to see if the patient owes a balance which shouldn't be the case.
The demands of clinicians and office staff are only going to increase in coming years, and providing a unified system for everything is the only solution that makes sense for long-term growth.
2. The EHR Doesn't Fit Your Specialty
Specialty clinics that decide to use a popular EHR system are often let down by the lack of customization and features that come with it. Documentation can take up a significant amount of time that would be otherwise saved if the software was more customizable and less "clicky".
If your EHR isn't as customizable as you would like for your specialty don't eliminate every "customizable" EHR from your search. Many times OBGYN or Pediatric clinics will leave a generic EHR for a specialty specific EHR. While this might be a good fit for some practices it can come with a few consequences.
EHR systems built solely for one specialty pose problems down the road if you are wanting to add another specialist to your practice. They also come with the risk of being bought out by larger EHR vendors as the EHR landscape becomes more competitive each year.
The EHR with customizable templates is becoming the standard, so practices can grow comfortably while still having the functionality that's tailored to their specific workflows. If you are concerned about the EHR not working with your specialty ask the EHR vendor for references that are the same specialty as your practice. Also do your homework and read online reviews. Hearing what other clinics like and dislike can help you make a better decision for your practice.
3. Your System Has Chronic Hardware and/or Software Problems
IT problems are more than just annoyances. They can seriously affect your practice productivity and your patient satisfaction. As EHR systems mature, physicians simply won't put up with glitchy EHR systems going forward.
Hardware and software problems can derail an entire day's productivity, forcing personnel to play catch-up, which isn't fair to office staff, doctors, or patients. Today's physician has no time for an EHR that's prone to breakdown.
4. It Isn't Compatible With Other EHRs
Many smaller practices are being bought up by larger healthcare systems and hospitals, and when this happens, excellent interoperability between the two entities' EHR systems is imperative. When systems aren't interoperable, often the physician that has been bought up will transition to either a compatible system with the parent healthcare company, or the identical system the parent healthcare company uses.
5. It Doesn't Have the Up-to-Date Features You Need
Don't think of features like iPad apps, automated patient reminders, and patient portals as "nice extras." These features can make a significant difference in your day-to-day operations.
Automated text or phone reminders for appointments can reduce no-shows and save office staff time, while patient portals allow patients to access test results without playing phone tag with your staff all day. Today's EHR systems are feature-rich, and you should embrace that.
Today's EHR systems are approaching maturity technologically, and are becoming indispensable for practices that want to tighten their revenue cycle and ensure compliance with all applicable regulations. Most practices today are using an EHR but many EHR vendors fall behind when it comes to keeping up with customer demands or enhancement requests.
Incompatibility with associated hospital systems, software and hardware problems, and lack of features that can greatly increase convenience for the practice and for patients are prime reasons why physicians replace old, clunky EHRs with new ones.
As the ACA continues to gain influence, and as payers like Medicare and Medicaid make the transition toward value based reimbursement, yesterday's EHRs can't always keep up.
EHR suites like eClinicalWorks offer the flexibility, interoperability, ease of use, and feature-richness that more practices appreciate as the business side of operating a medical practice continues to become more complex. GroupOne Health Source invites you to contact us at any time to set up a free demo of eClinicalWorks. The right EHR can be the perfect start to a successful 2016.