You've finally decided to switch to another EHR software. You've concluded that your current system simply isn't cutting it anymore and it's time to move on. And because this is no small commitment in time, money, and resources, you want to do it right. So, what should your first steps be?
To-Dos: Prepare a Timeline, budget, and a Conversation
The temptation might be to immediately begin your search for a new EHR software system, but do you have any idea what it'll cost or what you can afford? Or how long it will take to implement? Or which system will best suit your needs and that of your staff?
A little preparation now can spare you a lot of wasted time, expense, and aggravation later. So, before beginning your EHR research, invest a little time to establish parameters and criteria by addressing these three questions:
What Goes Into a Timeline?
Overhauling your practice’s medical records system is not a quick-fix process, and there is a lot to consider in building out a timeline. For example:
How long will it take for providers and other staff members to be trained on the new EHR? (And how will that affect their availability to work?)
Is leadership available to take part in the implementation? Are there appointments that will need to be rescheduled during the build-up to the go-live?
Are you under contract with your current EHR provider in a way that will delay your switch? Verify this before moving ahead.
Having answered these questions, you can now begin creating a tangible timeline to share with your old vendor (which will be involved in data migration), your new vendor, your staff — which should be advised well in advance of training and implementation schedules and start-up dates — and patients, especially if appointments need to be rescheduled or to update them about the new patient portal.
What Goes into the Budget?
From one vendor to the next, EHR software will vary as much in what they offer as they do in price and available payment options. Some require everything to be paid upfront. Others offer financing or subscription plans, so it's important to know your EHR pricing options.
So, to avoid straining your financial resources, Health Data Management makes the following recommendations for preparing a budget:
Estimate the build costs of the EHR, including the cost of building additional modules
Consider compensation — both financially and time-wise — for physicians involved in implementing the new system
Calculate the need for additional production support staff, extended support hours, and additional tools
Research investments required on potential new interfaces
Estimate data-conversion costs
Review the cost of any necessary software licenses
Be aware of pricing for potential hardware items
Allot 10% of the project budget for a backup plan
Regardless of which system you choose, getting a written quote can help your practice avoid hidden fees and surcharges.
Download Our FREE EHR-EMR Buyer's Guide
Who Should Have a Say in EHR Selection?
Because the EHR you select will affect all aspects of your practice, it’s worth soliciting input from team members across all sectors of the organization. This could entail everything from simple one-on-one discussions with representative staff members to fact-finding steering committees.
Regardless of how it’s conducted, the objective is to arm yourself with enough information to make an educated decision when selecting a new EHR system.
As the National Learning Consortium explains: “Team members should bring differing perspectives on how the EHR will be used and provide a wide array of skills and knowledge.”
So, who should be included on your stakeholders' list? Depending on the size of your practice, it could include any or all of the following:
Because they hold the purse strings, it's important to keep the C-suite in the loop during the decision-making process. According to EHR In Practice, an independent EHR software resource for providers, "They should be shown that the new system will be an investment and that the cheapest EHR option is not always the best."
Meanwhile, you might be wondering: Why include the marketing team? EHR In Practice suggests that some EHR systems have excellent patient portal features that "are great marketing opportunities that your team should be aware of and promote extensively."
You might also solicit input from patients or patient advocates who can help identify patient portal features and functionalities that are most important to them. Their contributions may not influence EHR selection but could determine how best to configure the patient portal.
Find an EHR Software Vendor That Supports You
An EHR system is obviously a big investment that requires careful planning, so you'll want to select the system that’s right for everyone in your practice.
Part of the selection process is identifying a vendor that stands behind the product and supports your practice through training, implementation, and beyond.
InSync Healthcare Solutions and its team of experts provide superior EHR software and precisely the kind of continuing support and frequent product enhancements needed to ensure your total satisfaction.
If you're in the market for new EHR software, check out InSync's fully supported, fully integrated, user-friendly system, and schedule a demo to see how our software can improve your EHR experience.
EHR in Practice:
5 key stakeholders in your EHR selection
National Learning Consortium:
Change Management in EHR Implementation
Becker's Health IT:
12 budget considerations for implementing an EHR