Your EHR should work the way you do , fine-tuned over many years in response to thoughtful user engagement and feedback. If your EHR doesn’t work that way, it’s time to find one that does—and to put it to work for you. Here are some telltale signs of a standout EHR.
Designed by physicians. This is the closest thing to a guarantee that an EHR is intuitive to a practice’s needs and workflow. Just about every aspect of the EHR should be able to be customized to a specialty, practice, and workflow tasks – through customizable documentation formats, dashboards, clinical reminders and rules, and much more. Redundancies should be eliminated through extensive pre-population of default data, avoiding excessive keying in of information. Prompts should appear at opportune times, helping to drive both patient safety and medical coding to the highest specificity within your workflow.
How can you tell if a vendor has a user-friendly system? They should have customer testimonials demonstrating a quick learning curve. Also, new provider joining the practice, for example, shouldn’t need more than three weeks to get fully comfortable with the system on a full patient appointment schedule. A solid EHR will also have positive KLAS ratings and commentary from key industry influencers on record, as well as other independent third-party industry acknowledgement from major players like SureScripts and Black Book.
Proven Record. There is something to be said for longevity—especially in a crowded market. It’s also almost impossible for a truly intuitive solution to spring from a vendor with a relatively short track record. It takes time and substantial user feedback to shape a user-friendly EHR that speaks to the real-world needs of your practice. Look for a vendor with a long record of providing EHR technology, even before the days when the government paid for it.
Interoperability. We are entering an unprecedented collaborative era in healthcare, from ACO care delivery models to Big Health Data projects with numerous stakeholders. Today, healthcare organizations of all sizes must be able to exchange electronic data. Look for an EHR with proven and successful interfaces with major e-prescribing companies, diagnostic labs, HIEs and other healthcare entities. Compliance. First things first: patient privacy. A solid EHR has security in place that actually goes beyond HIPAA compliance to assure patients’ health records are safe and can’t be hacked. As for Meaningful Use compliance, look into how long it took a vendor to gain ONC certification with each stage. Was it dragged out or did it happen fairly rapidly? Does the EHR vendor have attestation references? ICD-10 readiness should be verified, too. Confirm how the EHR translates patient histories with ICD-9 codes. For integrated billing, also determine if ICD-10 codes align with CPT and HCPCS billing codes.
Customized Integrated Functions. Look for a vendor who can provide as many functionalities and solutions as possible, simplifying what can be a complex process of managing multiple vendors and systems. By contrast, a single core solution seamlessly integrates billing, practice management, population health management and revenue cycle management, all from one vendor.