August 22, 2016
Written by Lynn Carroll
Tips on how to maximize EHR investments
Selecting the right partner when choosing an electronic health record system (EHR) is critical for ensuring a return on your investment. Some practices may be interested in a complete technology overhaul, while others may look for a platform that supports existing IT systems.
Regardless of your specific needs, it is important that a new technology or software brings about positive changes to your daily workflow as well as your practice’s bottom line. Health Affairs reported that providers that have seen the highest ROI are those that have leveraged an EHR system to its full potential.
When selecting the right EHR partner, there are a number of things to keep in mind that can maximize a ROI. By asking the right questions and keeping an eye out for the best partner, you can realize tremendous improvements to your practice.
Here are some of the attributes to maximize your EHR investment:
Help Your Practice Work Smarter
There are many different products available in healthcare IT that promise to bring greater efficiency to a provider’s daily workflow. When it comes to selecting the right EHR system, some vendors can back that claim up with features that are proven to do things like reduce screen time and redundant reporting, as well as improve charting and documentation efforts.
Beyond government legislation that drives EHR adoption, there are inherent benefits associated with a robust and flexible solution. There is an obvious clinical component when considering an EHR, and the ability for physicians to document an entire encounter quickly and easily online can have a tremendous impact on daily workflow and the ability to drive better patient outcomes, but there are also administrative areas where the right EHR partner can help maximize efficiency and increase revenue.
Integrate with Your Current Practice Management System
Selecting an EHR platform that can easily integrate with your existing practice management system is also critical to closing the gap between the clinical and financial aspects of your practice. By selecting a vendor that has prioritized fluid information exchange, daily workflows are greatly improved.
Tasks such as inputting ICD-10 codes or finalizing claims submissions, for example, are more efficient when clinical information can be easily recalled and applied to administrative efforts. An EHR that seamlessly integrates with an existing RCM or PM saves your staff time and energy by bringing the individual components of daily duties into one easy to use platform.
An integrated system is important for making sure administrative tasks are made more comprehensive and handoffs between departments are seamless. The right EHR system will make the entire billing and collections process more streamline with robust clinical, administrative and financial tools and an easy-to-use interface.
Shift to a Cloud-Based Solution
Beyond selecting an EHR platform that can easily integrate into your practice’s existing workflow and other IT solutions, opting to partner with a cloud-based solution is key for improving ROI. Cloud-based systems are minimally expensive to install and carry a lower operational cost than an EHR platform that is housed within a provider’s facility or office.
While a cloud-based system promotes flexibility and round the clock security, traditional in-house servers can be expensive to maintain. There are ongoing maintenance fees associated with client-server systems, including costly upgrades and the hassle of on-site hardware storage. Unlike client-server software, cloud solutions are typically available on a pay-as-you-go basis and don’t require significant capital outlay, making them easier on organizational budgets.
Easily Support Existing Workflows
The flexibility of a cloud-based EHR platform allows your practice to continue using the workflows and process that work best for your practice. Configurable templates, the use of tablet computers or laptops, and the ability to easily communicate with patients and staff, helps practices to work smarter, not harder – reducing documentation times, increasing patient volumes and driving higher revenues.
Tools that can create efficiencies and save time throughout the day for administrators and clinical staff will ultimate result in a ROI because these individuals can be more productive and made available for high-value tasks.
Efficient Implementation for Faster Time to Value
The best EHR partners work with providers to make sure that the implementation process is smooth and effective. As a practice administrator or physician, you will need to take the time to ensure all team members and peers are familiar and comfortable using any new piece of technology or software.
By using the expertise and guidance offered by your EHR partner, this effort can be made more simple and comprehensive. Frequent collaboration and transparency from both parties will lead to a successful implementation. Moving forward, on-going support from your solutions provider even after an initial launch will remove any fears related to issues or confusion down the line.
After an initial training period, be sure to designate one or two “super users” — anyone that feel most comfortable with the system — and use these individuals when training a new team member or supporting someone who may need extra help. By being proactive about the integration process, you can minimize any difficulties associated with changes to daily operations. This will lower the costs associated with implementing a new EHR system and in the long run make achieving a ROI all the easier.
For most medical groups, implementing a new EHR is a significant investment, both in terms of the financial outlay and the potential impact it can have on practice operations. However, selecting the proper EHR partner can result in increase productivity, increased revenues and better patient outcomes.
To maximize the ROI of your EHR investment, it is important to choose the right EHR solution — one that’s highly usable, fits into your current workflows, seamlessly integrates practice management and is based in the cloud.