Implementing Electronic Health Records – Tips for Providers

A revolutionary decision was made a decade ago when they decided to implement an electronic health record. Back then, the time and cost to implement the EHR were tremendous but, the results from the EHR altered the practice of medicine to help doctors do what they are best at, save lives!

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act enacted in 2009, promoted the use of health information technology and adoption of electronic health records through meaningful use. Since then, many physicians now have access to comprehensive EHR’s that can provide valuable medical information and takes care of errors even before they occur. The focus of an EHR is to improve patient care quality and outcomes to in turn reduce health care costs.

Although, many EHR vendors struggle every day to make their product as user-friendly as possible even for the “not so tech savvy.” There are some important tips to take into consideration when implementing a new EHR in your business.

Tips for the Implementation of Electronic Health Records

  • Determine your Status

Where does the mindset of your team of medical professionals lie? Are there any current processes that are backlogged? Will your team members be overwhelmed if they have yet another thing to do? Most importantly, does your facility have proper infrastructure and what is the proficiency with computers of the staff? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be important to reassess whether or not you are ready for a prompt implementation of electronic health records or require some time, and prepare your team for it.

  • Get Stakeholders on Board

No one likes change within their work environment. When thinking about stakeholders, it is not just the physicians that require convincing but sometimes the biggest challenge can be the other medical staff or employees that will be using the EHR. Previously, EHRs were used just for coding and billing but, now they have become more integrated, allowing seamless communication between providers. Confidence needs to be gained with stakeholders to help them understand how an EHR can improve their workflow and patient outcomes. Defining clear objectives will aid towards productivity and will further increase acceptance of the product and convince them to provide the required time to learn a new process.

  • Select a Comprehensive and Certified Electronic Health Records

A well-integrated data that allows sharing of information is key. It should have the basic patient data that when presented to any specialist, will allow them to easily understand, make use of the data and identify any gaps. This is where certification of EHR plays a role as well, further enhancing patient care quality, providing a practice management tool, patient communication, and storing data in a structured format to aid in public health. The perks you ask? You can then get incentivized for using a certified EHR.

  • Take Cost into Account

The cost of implementing electronic health records can be anywhere between $15,000 to $70,000 per provider. With the immense competition between EHR vendors, you are now in luck! If you have a small practice, you can take advantage of a few free electronic health record software out there. Just make sure they are easy to implement and Meaningful Use-3 certified. There is no question about the performance of the free EHRs. In fact, their rating lies within the top 10. Have your team try the demo and be sure to make the right choice for your practice.

  • Training and Support

The first question that arises when implementing a new system is always whether training will be provided and to what extent will they be supported. If you plan on going for the cost-heavy EHR, make sure their reviews in terms of providing support are outstanding. Free EHRs, on the other hand, do usually provide initial support but will most likely not be on board every step of the way. The advantage though is that these free electronic health records are relatively easier to use and provide guidance in every section. If you have some baby boomers within your practice, have a team member take the lead, get acquainted and help others. EHR vendors are usually quick in providing customer care support. Take advantage of that!

The advancements in Healthcare Technology have given us this profound advantage to practice and provide the best medical care. With the incorporation of preventive medicine, population health, and artificial intelligence, EHRs have become a game-changer in the industry. The future lies in machine learning and providing universal access to patient data. These tips will hopefully facilitate a smooth cost-effective transition for the health of our community.