Electronic Health Record – 8 Things you need to know before you select your EHR
One of the most challenging tasks in a medical practice is selecting an electronic health record system (EHR). The purchase and installation of an EHR require meticulous research and a lot of time. For an accurate and a detailed medical charting, it is important for the practitioner to choose reliable EHR software that complements the workflow and increases the efficiency of the medical practice.
The most important step before making the purchase of the right EHR is creating a list of features it should have to complement the workflow. This list may include features like automatic billing, lab integration, e-prescribing, scheduling etc. Participation of all the physicians and staff in the preparation of this list is necessary as it would ensure that every aspect of the medical practice has been taken into consideration. The decision maker, however, should be the physician and not the backend or IT staff as the decision requires leadership and an in-depth knowledge of the medical needs.
How to Select an EHR System
Here’s a list of 8 Things you need to know before you select your EHR:
- A Good UX: The EHR should be an easy-to-use system that saves the clinician’s time. It should be accurate at patient charting too, enhancing the quality of the treatment and the efficiency of the workflow.
- Choose an EHR that suits your needs: A customized EHR system that is designed to suit the unique needs of your specialization is crucial for the success of your medical practice. A software that includes specialty-specific features would not only save your time, but also increase the efficiency of your workflow considerably.
- Patient Education: An EHR can perform the task of educating patients across numerous modules. For example, the e-prescribing module can be used to advise the patient how to take medications correctly.
- Data Security: For enhanced data privacy it is necessary that all the information handled by the EHR is encrypted. This prevents hacking and misuse of data. The EHR system should prompt the users to change their passwords regularly and lock them out after a set number of incorrect password entries.
- Ease of access: Due to time constraints it becomes difficult for the clinicians to complete the documentation of patient’s information during visits. Therefore, it is important for the clinicians to be able to access the EHR system remotely so as to have a better knowledge of the medical history of the patient whenever necessary.
- Automated transfer of demographic data and vital medical history: A good EHR module should be able to transfer demographic data to the charting module so that the users do not have to input the patient’s information over and over again. In addition to this, the EHR system should be able to transfer vital medical statistics of the patient to the charting module so that the clinicians have the patient’s height, weight, heart-rate, and blood pressure history readily available whenever required.
- Built-in reference guide for best medical practice: A reliable EHR system must have a built-in informative source that can serve as a reference guide providing weight or blood pressure parameters and other necessary guidelines to the clinicians when they enter patient’s key medical information.
- Electronic Billing: A good EHR system’s billing module should be able process all payments electronically. The billing module should also be able to submit insurance claims to various health insurance companies. For patients who use cash as a mode of payment, the billing module of the EHR should be able to provide an itemized bill for the services rendered.
Selecting an EHR Vendor
Once you have decided the type of EHR you want to purchase, you need to connect with the right vendor. To ensure dependable service and guaranteed support from the vendor it is important to make a list of questions for them and then make a decision. Your questionnaire should have the following important questions:
Q1. Do you offer support during my practice’s usual work hours?
Q2. What is your turnaround time for returning customer calls?
Q3. How long does it take for a senior person to respond to an urgent query?
Q4. Describe the process to get connected with your technical staff directly in case of an emergency.
It is also important to contact references and users of the vendors to collect information about their quality of service. Here are some questions that the references can be asked to have a clearer picture of the vendors’ services:
Q1. How quickly does the vendor respond to your query?
Q2. How long does the vendor take to resolve the query?
Q3. How responsive is the vendor over the telephone?
Q4. Is your staff satisfied with the vendor’s abilities to resolve issues?
Q5. What is the name(s) of your “go-to” support technician?
Q6. Whom do you contact when you can’t get the resolution you need?
In addition to the above parameters, the Certified Health IT Product list maintained by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) at http://onc-chpl.force.com/ehrcert can also be of great help in locating a certified EHR system.