Electronic health records have disrupted the healthcare market with its immense benefits and ability to engage your patients’ in their treatment process. An EHR system enables your practice to take charge of your patients’ health records and move from paper documentation to digital record keeping. Digital health records can be shared in real-time with clinics and specialists involved in your patient’s treatment enabling you to provide quality care and services. An EHR can assist in increasing the efficiency of your staff and help in optimizing internal processes.

When considering an EHR, your practice should look at certain requirements to get the best out of the technology. Here are five things you should consider:

Ensure the EHR is Easy to Use

 When you test drive the system, make sure it fits into YOUR workflow versus changing how you practice to accommodate the software. A great EHR is designed with the user in mind, helping you work the way you want to and reducing the time you spend on routine tasks. Ask questions like:

  • Can I chart by symptom for fast documentation?
  • Can past notes be carried forward to avoid starting from scratch?
  • Will the system learn my preferences over time to make documentation faster and more streamlined?
  • Can data be entered in different ways like dictation, transcription, touch screen, etc.?

EHR Interoperability with Other Systems

One of the main benefits of an EHR is the ability to exchange information across the healthcare ecosystem.  Having a software that can communicate with various channels like Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), ACOs, and national networks will boost the productivity of your practice. But not all systems are created equal. Make sure the EHR you select if focused on interoperability. Ask how the system operates regarding interfaces with labs and hospitals in your area, how well it handles referral management, and does it support newer initiatives for on demand data requests.

Efficient Reporting for Day-to-Day and Quality Programs

An EHR should simplify the reporting process. A good EHR comes with a plethora of report templates to help you manage your day-to-day operations including: schedules, cancellations, no-shows, and basic financial summaries showing charges, payments and adjustments. But each practice is unique, and you may also need to build custom reports. Your EHR system should make it easy to create custom reports on your own or with support from your vendor. Reports should be clear and easy to analyze to allow for faster action based on data.

Beyond your day-to-day reporting needs, it also important to make sure your EHR supports quality reporting efforts. Does the system include a real-time MACRA dashboard so you can track your progress on the fly? Does the dashboard provide drill-down capability into individual chart notes? These types of reports provide what you need to successfully attest to your MIPS or APM participation.

Save Time and Increase Engagement with an Integrated Patient Portal

A lot of time and effort can be spent by your front office team on arranging patient appointments, re-booking cancelled appointments, and communicating lab and test results to patients. An advanced EHR can eliminate these manual tasks by automating systems.  With an integrated patient portal, your practice has access to a secure web-based solution that enhances the physician-patient relationship. Your practice can share lab results directly with patients through their portal. Patients can view and request updates to health history, schedule appointments and request refills and referrals.

Flexibility to Grow is a Key Requirement of a Great EHR

Electronic health record software is a major investment for your practice. As you expand your patient base, you need to know that your EHR vendor will be there to help you seamlessly grow your business. Look for a vendor that has decades of experience and a deep understanding of EHRs, practice management software, and revenue cycle management operations. Choose a company that has a large customer base deployed across a range of specialties and settings. Ensure that the company is current on all industry certifications and has a commitment to keeps certifications current. Finally, choose a vendor that is committed to providing the best customer service and support and views their customers as part of the family – not just another software sale.

Although adding a new EHR system is a major undertaking for your practice, the gains achieved by increased interoperability, more easily sharing patient data and reducing administrative workload can reap long-term benefits. Find the EHR that’s the right fit for your practice and focus on the future.