Nextech Named 2024 Best in KLAS: Ambulatory Specialty EHR

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How to make your next EHR better than your last

By: Nextech | August 21st, 2014

Blog Feature

As more and more physicians adopt an electronic health record (EHR) system, it would seem that the government’s plan to incentivize EHR use is paying off. The question, though, is for who? According to a recent survey conducted by Medical Economics, more than two thirds of today’s physician-operated practices have implemented an EHR into their daily routine but many of them aren’t so sure of its payoff. With that being said, as the industry works to find a systematic way of documenting and managing healthcare, providers are now making the move to switch systems to find the perfect fit for their style of practice.

Citing pain points such as less-than-desirable functionality and the lack of preparedness for meeting compliance deadlines, the Medical Economics survey says 67 percent of their nearly 1,000 respondents are dissatisfied with their current system, driving their search for a more suitable solution equipped to meet the daily challenges providers face. So, what should physicians look for to make their replacement vendor better than their current? Here are some points to consider before jumping ship:

Intuitive Clinical Content:

Retaining the pre-EHR workflow physicians are accustomed to is, perhaps, the chief complaint when looking to switch solutions. Once you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade to a better system, make sure it’s one that can specifically accommodate your specialty and compliment your workflow. During your search, target EHRs that are built with templates that reflect your specialty’s clinical content and are able to be easily customized to fit each physician’s workflow. Medscape, an internet hub for medical information and educational tools, recently published a survey in which more than 18,500 physicians responded and ranked their top 10 favorite EHRs. According to the survey, 63 percent of respondents said their system helped them improve clinical documentation. Working in your favor for claims submissions and compliance criteria, choosing a system that will allow for easy and intuitive documentation is of paramount importance for a successful practice.

Ease of Use:

Ask any provider and they’ll tell you, getting what they need from an EHR with as few clicks as possible is a complete win for the well-run, efficiency-driven practice. Let’s face it, providers don’t have time to be bogged down with a system that will require a significant amount of training. When switching to your new system, make sure it’s one that can be easily navigated while yielding big results. Functionality is key. One tip for making sure your software is intuitive and easy to use is to ask the sales representative to take you through a demonstration of documenting a patient visit or perform an operational function such as checking inventory. This demonstration will allow you to see how many clicks it takes to get through each task, how accurate the clinical data is and how fast the system is able to produce the results you are looking for. A rule of thumb for EHR functionality: if it compromises your workflow, it isn’t serving its purpose.

Reliable Support:

At the end of the day, physicians have to be mindful that no electronic software is perfect and there will be the occasional hiccup in usability. For these few bumps in the road, it is a good practice to make sure you are able to connect with the vendor’s support team. Although this service often comes at an added cost, its return on investment is far reaching. When scouting your new EHR provider, keep in mind to be aware of the efficiency and reliability of their support team. Get a feel for the effectiveness of the team by asking to speak with a manager or even requesting to be put in contact with another client currently utilizing the service. Often times, connecting with another practice will offer the most insight as to how the team responds to a problem and the level of satisfaction the customer experiences during the trouble shooting and resolving phase.

As providers work to integrate electronic solutions into their practice, it is important to keep in mind that every practice is different and will demand different features and functionality from their system. Taking these points and working them into your search will help you establish which systems will work for your benefit and which ones will give you more of the same headache you’re experiencing with your current vendor. Among the top 10 favorite EHRs cited in Medscape’s survey, Nextech was the highest ranked specialty solution for ambulatory providers.