If you manage a health practice, you know firsthand the importance of electronic health records (EHR) systems. But the next step, just as important, is figuring out how to select an EHR software that both safeguards patient data and integrates seamlessly with your business.
The EHR selection process is more important than ever: According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, just in January of this year, 38 organizations reported that nearly 2 million people were impacted by data breaches. And with evolving cybersecurity threats and unseen IT infrastructure vulnerabilities, the danger is likely to persist.
In this article, you’ll learn how to select an EHR, what to look for in a vendor, and what questions to ask in your EHR vendor selection process.
How to Select an EHR Vendor and Software
Before we dive right into how to select an EHR, here’s a list of questions you should keep in mind:
- What is your practice’s workflow? Individual needs?
- Should the EHR be easy to use for staff?
- What does your practice’s IT integration look like?
- What is the cost of deploying a new EHR system?
1. Pinpoint What Your Practice Needs From an EHR
When considering your practice management, including data storage and services rendered, you need to choose an EHR that works with the needs of your practice. Is your business a primary care practice or another type of practice? If you offer services like online appointments, be sure to choose an EHR that supports telehealth.
Additionally, if you’re involved with any groups like ACO Group, you should prioritize an EHR system that’s easy to standardize.
2. Focus on EHR Products That Are Easy to Use For Your Staff
You know firsthand just how burned out your staff can get, and you should choose EHR software that’s easy to use to mitigate some of that. (No one enjoys working with technology that makes their jobs more difficult.) Before you choose and implement a new system, survey your staff for information on what’s working and what’s not with your current EHR.
If you and your staff have the time, we also recommend involving your staff in selecting an EHR system. Ask your staff what EHR features are most helpful and can make their jobs easier.
3. Understand the Importance of Full Integration to Get the Most From Your EHR
Just as important as choosing a software that’s easy for your staff to incorporate into their workday, you also need to keep an eye out for the type of EHR that’s just as easy to integrate into your other systems (such as billing and revenue cycle management).
The better both your EHR system and vendor can integrate into your practice, the more you’ll benefit from better outcomes at a reduced cost.
When thinking of how to choose an EHR system, you should also consider accessibility of data—a software (and vendor) that both promote a simplified exchange of data. For this, too, you might most benefit from a cloud-based EHR.
4. Pay Attention to the Cost of Your EHR Implementation Process
When looking at a new EHR, you know you’re going to hit the wall of cost eventually—but proper management can reduce your spending. You should also keep tabs on the costs of new EHR software rollout, including downtime for training and implementation. You should also anticipate the costs of bringing EHR consultants on board to help with training.
Critical Considerations in How to Select an EHR Vendor
When drilling down into selection criteria between EHR vendors, there are some additional questions you should keep in mind:
- What do customers say about the vendor? (Check Google Reviews, for instance.)
- How have you been treated as a potential customer throughout the proposal process?
- Does your potential EHR vendor have long-term customer relationships, or is there high turnover?
- How long has the vendor been in business?
- What is your prospective EHR vendor’s security track record? Are they spending time innovating health information security?
As you consider all of these factors, it’s just as important to remember that the EHR selection process is about more than just software—you’re building a partnership.
Mistakes to Avoid in Your EHR Vendor Selection Process
Though cost can be a deal breaker in the “how to select an EHR system” equation, you can further narrow the field by avoiding these mistakes:
- Cost and quality: Going with the lower cost may save you initial spending, but you’ll pay for it in other ways later, from poor integration to staff frustration. Though there likely won’t be a 100% perfect fit for your practice, don’t let the lower price tag fool you.
- Remote hosting: Even though you might be more familiar with EHR systems installed locally, don’t miss the opportunity cloud-based options offer! Remote options can improve data accessibility, costs, and security, but you may still find a local option is the best for your practice.
How to Select An EHR for Usability? Work With the Pros
Simplify your EHR vendor selection process when you work with ISOwire. As IT veterans specializing in healthcare, we’re ready to provide EHR consultation, hosting, migrations, integrations, and more. Work with a healthcare IT services partner that understands patient flow, and proactively innovates to improve the security of patient data.
Take the stress out of your EHR implementation. Contact us today.