6 Ways to Optimize Your EHR

Tag Archives: EHR Vendors

6 Ways to Optimize Your EHR

optimize for EHR success with your EHR vendor

Whether you are moving from paper, a hybrid system or an existing EHR, now is the time to think about how to optimize your EHR. It’s not an easy task. It has a lot of moving parts. But, putting this effort in before you search for an EHR vendor and implement a system is key to your success.

1. Make it a Collaborative Effort

EHR optimization is a collaborative effort. All of your key stakeholders should be involved. This includes personnel from billing, program management, practice administration and clinical. However, don’t forget to include your EHR vendor in this list. They will help you work through this process and help provide insight and best practices.

2. Re-imagine your Operations

Begin by re-imagining your day-to-day operations with technology in mind. For instance, if you used to pull and file charts, how would you do that differently with electronic files? What are your patient-centric activities? Then, think about how these activities can be streamlined so you can provide more effective patient care. This is where you begin developing your workflows. Believe it or not, your EHR can be optimized to follow your organization’s processes.

3. Go beyond the Basics with Documentation

Go beyond the basics. What works and what doesn’t work for your organization? What information do you need for every client? Are there things that can be templatized to make your process more streamlined? Do you need check boxes or free text? Also, think about how your current documentation processes can be improved and work those changes into how your EHR functions.

4. Really Think about your EHR Workflow

Just because you’ve always done it a certain way doesn’t mean you should continue with it. People moving from paper often try to recreate their workflow in their EHR. But, if you are trying to leverage the value of an electronic system, you should consider how your organization can capitalize on that functionality. Think about the possibilities of how your clinic can function now that information is available for any authorized staff member.

5. Keep your Eye on the Bottomline

Cash flow and revenue cycle management can be a real business issue. Create goals or benchmarks for your key financial performance metrics, and use your integrated EHR system to monitor critical reports on a regular basis. In addition, you can share results with the entire team around daily collections, insurance claims outstanding, and your insurance Aging Report. When practice management, electronic health records and billing systems are integrated, you will see a direct impact on your revenue. You’ll begin seeing increase cash collections, a decrease in aging and better reporting for earning government funding.

6. Personalize. Configure. Customize.

Think about how your solution can be tailored for your organization. For example, how can your EHR be personalized for your users so they only see the information that’s relevant to their role? Similarly, how can it be configured with your programs, templates and forms? And, as often is necessary, how can your EHR be customized to meet your unique needs?

As you’re on your journey to implement an EHR that is optimized for your organization, ensure you select a vendor that will truly be a partner for you. One who will help you implement best practices for clinical workflows that meet the needs of your care setting. Optimizing your EHR will help you improve quality of care while also improving your team’s productivity. It’s a win-win.

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Is Your EHR Vendor Legit? The Top 4 things to Find Out

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Today’s EHR market offers numerous options and tremendous variety in electronic health records software that it can be cumbersome to decide which vendor to choose.  Uncertainty can be due to any number of reasons, so this must be a big part of the discussion among your staff, prior to buying a new EHR.

First, the software’s features, usability, and affordability are all critical factors and usually pretty easy to find out through in-depth demos.  The system must have an ease-of-use that will be easily implemented and adopted, your staff has to be prepared for the challenge ahead, and the software solution should mirror your needs, e.g. public health departments should consider only public health-focused EHRs, while behavioral health agencies should look for one with specific behavioral health templates and forms.

Unfortunately, the integrity of the vendor (its people) itself often carries less weight in the deciding factors of which EHR system is best for your health agency.  The vendor’s character attributes are usually harder to judge pre-sale.  Outlined below are 4 key vendor attributes that all health agencies should strongly consider.

Vendor Honesty: You should be aware, there are vendors that claim to be more than they really are.  Some claim incorrect status of classification, saying they are certified as “Complete” when in fact they are certified as “Modular EHR.”  So, never take the vendors word.  Always check the Certified Health IT’s listing for an official confirmation of Classification Type.  It is important to have a certified “Complete EHR” to qualify for Meaningful Use benefits. EHRs certified as “Modular EHR” will only satisfy some federal requirements and not all.

Vendor Integrity: This seems like it should go without saying, but it is near impossible to know how you’ll be treated after the sale.  The vendor will promise the moon of course, but again, don’t take their word for it.  Always check their references in detail.  Of course you want to ask about how the system performs, but you should also ask about hidden costs, traps and pitfalls, convenience and ease of doing business with the vendor, and the overall quality of service that supports the software long term.

Vendor Actions: When it comes to interoperability you need a vendor that will support your needs for data exchange.  There are more and more reports about EHR vendors blocking information.  Check that your vendor is not one of those reported.  Again, ask references if they have ever experienced information blocking or other poor behavior with their EHR vendor.

Company Stability: Uncertainty of the company’s stability, due to mergers and acquisitions, sun setting a product or even closing altogether, must be a strong topic of conversation during the selection process.  There are enough challenges throughout the implementation of a new EHR; the security that your new vendor is here to stay and is committed to your success is a huge plus!

There are so many options available on the market, and you have the right to be selective.  Vendors only have one chance to get it right and prove their principles. Do your due diligence on the EHR software, the people behind the sale, and the company itself. Take responsibility for what you don’t understand, and ask lots of questions.  The answers will tell a truth you may not have expected.