Whether your health agency currently uses paper records or an Electronic Health Records (EHR) software, prepare yourself ahead of shopping for a new EHR. By determining the following, you will have a better understanding of your needs and will be able to communicate those needs as well as evaluate vendors more effectively. Here are the things you need to know to find the solution that is right for you:
1- Current System Likes and dislikes
Find out what is working or not working in your current system, whether it be paper or an electronic system. Interview staff members from across your organization to ensure you get a full understanding.
2- Required Functionality
Prioritize which functionality is required or would be nice to have before shopping for a new EHR system so it will meet your current and future needs and improve your workflow.
3- User Access Requirements
Find out how many and which staff members will need user access; define their specific roles including clinical, administrative, billing, scheduling, etc.
4- Required Programs and Interfaces
Find out which forms, reports, billing requirements, etc. you need in your system. Also determine what interfaces you require to be functional with other systems you use or would like to connect such as immunization registries, HIEs, laboratory/radiology, medical devices, etc.
5- Certification Requirements
If you are expecting to qualify for grant funding, you will require an ONC Certified solution. Meeting that standard will ensure that your solution adheres to privacy and security HIPAA laws and can work with other systems to share patient information securely.
6- Complete vs. Modular Solution
Find out whether you want a complete or modular solution. A complete EHR solution supports the continuum of care from prior to the patient visit to the coordination of care in the community after the visit. A modular solution combines various vendor products working with your EHR to support that continuum of care.
7- Data Needs
Determine what data you want to populate into your new EHR system, and if it needs discreet handling versus what can be scanned and uploaded into your new system. Knowing what format your data is in or needs to be can make the data migration into your new EHR much easier. Some vendors offer bulk uploading of data in specific formats, which would save you a lot of time.
Find out your total budget before shopping for a new EHR solution. When you consider vendor products you will want to watch out for any additional fees for training, services or vendor add-ons besides their base product price so you can find a solution that gives you the best value in your price range.