5 Things to Consider Before Switching Your EHR System
Technology is evolving by the day, and your EHR system needs to keep up with it. Maybe you’ve been working in the same EHR system for a while now, and although you’re comfortable, you are still not satisfied. An outdated system may often crash or lock up, or simply doesn’t have all the features you need anymore. Additionally, you need to pay someone to sit around and make sure nothing goes wrong. If technology is everything for your business nowadays, why torture yourself with an outdated system?
Innovation within the healthcare industry is constantly propelling change. Everyone is looking for something that makes life easier, increases efficiency and productivity, includes better support, and allows you to practice medicine the way you want it to be. However, there are several things you will want to consider before switching systems.
Assess your needs
The first thing you should consider are your practice’s needs. How many years has it been since you first adopted your current electronic health record system? Are you still the same practice you were when you adopted it? Chances are your practice has outgrown the system you are using, and you haven’t even noticed. Be sure to research systems and new features that can help you automate your practice and be more efficient.
Think about your data
One of the first things you should consider is your data and how to transfer data to a new EHR system. Think of your software as a home, and your data is like all your valuable belongings inside that home. If you’re moving to a new home, you need to plan for how to pack and transfer your belongings there. You may think that moving all your data is the best course of action, but it is usually not the most cost-effective option. You may choose to do some data clean-up to get rid of items that you haven’t used in years. Look for a vendor that can help you navigate this hurdle.You will need to decide what information you need to carry over and what information you may want to get rid of. The way your data fits in the system may be different than in your old system. For example, you may have your lab information in a section called “Lab Results” in one system while another software may have the lab results stored under a section called “Attachments.” Once you have migrated all your data and configured the system to your requirements, you will need to figure out how to get around, just like in a new home.
Think about your staff
Think back to how the implementation of your current system went. How open was your staff to change? How long was the training period? Does your EHR vendor provide training, or will you have to pay extra? Finding a vendor that offers several training options is ideal and will prove to be valuable during your implementation process.Does your practice have a practice manager or administrator with strong leadership skills who can help decide what pace for change is good for the practice and staff?
Think about what you expect from your vendor
The implementation process of transferring to a new system can take some time. When you’re considering switching to a new EHR system, you also need to consider the support you’ll be getting from your software vendor.Consider your current relationship with your support company, are you satisfied with the support they provide? Do they answer in a timely manner and have a good understanding of your EHR system? A triage support member who can take down your issue and have someone call you and resolve your issue on the spot will make a great difference in your software experience.
Think about your costs
Your EHR system is an integral part of your practice, and it’s important to consider how much you’re willing to spend. Although there may be cheap options out there, you get what you pay for and picking the “cheapest” option can cost you more in the long run. Realize that technology in any business is an investment, and you want a return on your investment via efficiency, productivity, and overall financial health.
Switching systems for your EHR is a big decision, there are lots of options and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and not know where to start. It’s crucial to take your time with your decision, assess your options, and weigh them against your needs. Keep in mind that this EHR switch could interrupt your business’ workflow.
Most practices will find themselves in one of two situations: either they are looking to switch to a new EHR system, or they are considering how to upgrade their existing one. Whichever situation you find yourself in, it’s important to do your due diligence and ensure that the systems you choose are the best fit for both your practice and your patients.