CureMD

What is EHR / EMR (Complete Guide)

1 WHAT IS ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORD (EMR)?

Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are the digital equivalent of the paper charts in the provider’s office. They contain the medical and treatment history of the patients and is restricted to these two aspects alone. That is, no data beyond the ‘medical’ information of the patient is stored therein.

EMRs were initially developed to address the concerns related to the growing amount of paper records at healthcare organizations. Many organizations had to dedicate entire rooms or storage facilities to keep patient records.

Several inaccuracies involved physical documentation and worries over misplacement, theft, damage, or tampering of sensitive patient data. EMRs help patient information be kept secure, current, and accurate while allowing the providers to spend less time on recording and documentation. At the same time, EHR eliminate errors caused by legibility issues of handwritten records.

EMRs serve several benefits over paper records:

  • They allow the clinicians to track data over time
  • They facilitate identifying which patients are due for preventive screening or checkups
  • They help check how the patients perform along with specific medical parameters such as blood pressure, blood glucose levels, etc.
  • They help in monitoring and improving the overall quality of care within the practice
  • They reduce the chances of errors on medical records
  • They enhance the privacy and security of patient data
  • They enable evidence-based decisions at the point of care
  • They provide follow-up information after a visit, such as reminders for follow-up care
  • They allow the patients to access their records, view medications, and engage in personal health
  • They optimize workflows and increase the number of patients served per day
  • They improve documentation and coding
2 WHAT IS ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORD (EHR)?

These are electronic, patient-centered records captured in real-time and make information available instantly and securely to authorized users. It encompasses a wide range of data, including medical and treatment histories of the patients, their current and previous medications, previous procedures conducted, immunization date, allergies, radiology images, lab test reports, and other vital personal information.

curemd ehr system

EHRs are designed to go beyond storing the standard clinical data collected in a provider’s office. They are a crucial part of health IT at any given medical practice since they allow access to evidence-based tools that the providers can use to make effective patient care decisions. Moreover, they automate the entire work processes and streamline the workflows to increase the practice's overall efficiency and productivity.

One of the most critical features of an EHR is that vital information can be created, stored, and managed by authorized providers in a digital format. This information is capable of being shared with other providers across more than one healthcare organization.

Hence, EHRs are built to facilitate seamless data exchange with other providers and organizations, including specialists, laboratories, pharmacies, emergency facilities, medical imaging facilities, and so forth. Hence, all clinicians involved in the care delivery process have access to this crucial information to aid in better decision-making.

practice workflow with ehr system

Technical features of an EHR include the following:

  • Digital formatting allows information to be stored in a standardized format and readily shared over secure networks
  • Tracking care and health outcomes is made easier
  • Automated trigger warnings and reminders aid in improving outcomes
  • Orders, reports, and results can be automatically sent and received
  • Billing processing time is reduced
  • Seamless flow of information is facilitated electronically between multiple healthcare organizations
curemd ehr system

EHRs also play an integral role in the rollout of Meaningful Use. This is a Medicare/Medicaid program that mandates the use of EHR to improve and enhance patient outcomes and, subsequently, performance-based compensation. Similarly, EHRs are also MACRA friendly. MACRA is the latest regulation that continues the progression of performance monitoring to impose penalties or grant bonuses to providers. EHRs enjoy a preferential stance from both CMS and ONC.

3 EHR AND EMR – WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?
emr vs ehr what is the difference

People often use EHR and EMR interchangeably. However, there is quite some difference between the two terms. EMRs came along first and were restricted to ‘medical’ records as early EMRs were substantially only medical. The clinicians essentially used them for diagnosis and treatment. In contrast, EHRs relate to ‘health’ which is a broader term and comprises the ‘condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit’. The word health relates to a much greater domain than the word medical, and EHRs, therefore, go a lot further than EMRs. They go beyond storing the standard clinical data relevant to the patients to capture a broader view of patient care.

Additionally, the most noticeable point of an EMR systems is that information stored within the EMR does not travel easily out of practice. If needed, the patients’ records might have to be physically printed and delivered by mail to the specialists and other care team members. EHRs, on the contrary, allow easy flow and exchange of information.

They are designed to reach out beyond the healthcare organization that originally collects and stores the patient data. They are built on sharing information with other healthcare providers, hospitals, specialists, laboratories, medical imaging facilities, etc. Hence, EHRs are fundamentally designed to be accessed by a range of authorized people involved in the entire care continuum, including the patients themselves.

That is what makes the difference. EHR is all about securely sharing information. And since healthcare is essentially a team effort, EHR plays a lead role in delivering value-based healthcare. So, while there is only a one-word difference between the two terms, in that one word lies a world of difference:

  • An EHR goes wherever the patient goes and gets shared by healthcare providers.
  • An EHR allows the clinicians a holistic, long-term view of the patient’s health, enabling the clinicians to access a broader range of patient data as compared to an EMR.
  • An EHR meets the meaningful use standards for incentive programs administered by CMS.

The bottom line is that both EMRs and EHRs are a digital version of the patient’s paper records and make healthcare more efficient and cost-effective. But EHRs go beyond the primary clinical data to focus on the total health of each patient.

4 DEBUNKING COMMON MYTHS ABOUT EHR?

The electronic health records (EHR) have revolutionized the healthcare industry by making it easier to document and share patient information. Now more than ever, physicians are embracing their use in order meet clinical needs as well administrative ones while maximizing revenue from practices that were previously paper-based before EHRs existed.

The Cloud may be a revolutionary leap forward for healthcare, but not everyone is on board. Many doctors are still hesitant to adapt their practices and embrace this new technology that offers many benefits over traditional methods of recording data.

There are many myths surrounding the use of EHRs that may be preventing you from successfully implementing and using one in your practice. We address 5 common misconceptions here.

Less Efficient as Compared to Paper Based System

Paper-based healthcare is becoming a thing of the past. With new technologies like electronic records, practices can streamline their workflows and have access to patient information at any time with just one click on an app or website.

Less Face to Face Interaction

Paperwork from the hospital takes up a lot of time and when medical records can be digitally accessed, there's more time for patients to talk with their doctor.

Security Risk

A cloud-based EHR is more secure than a system that doesn't use the Cloud because it's better protected under HIPAA.

EHR systems are all the same

There are various kinds of EHRs with tons of features and benefits. EHR can be customized according to specialty, size, requirements, and job roles.

EHR systems are expensive

The health care industry is always changing and so are the electronic medical records (EHR) systems that keep track of our treatments. A decade ago, most were designed specifically for hospitals or doctors' offices with extensive training needed to use them. However, now there's a wide variety available which can be easier on laypersons because they're not as complicated.

5 SERVER BASED EHR V/S CLOUD-BASED EHR

There are two options available at your disposal when it comes to EHR software. You can either deploy the EHR system for use on a local server or go for a cloud-based EHR.

In case you chose the former option, you might face challenges in determining the server space your organization needs for patient records. This can be potentially problematic as your practice expands in size and scope. Similarly, you might also have concerns about protecting your data in the event of a disaster or a cyber-attack.

server vs cloud based ehr

To counter these concerns, you are advised to set up a cloud-based EHR instead. Storing all patient records on a cloud significantly enhances data security, offering you more control over the records. At the same time, your IT team will be in charge of adding more server space and bandwidth to meet your practice's changing demands.

6 WHAT KIND OF DATA DOES EHR CONTAIN?

An EHR is fundamentally a sophisticated digital data repository of vital patient information. It is more than a computerized version of the paper charts. It is a comprehensive digital record that can provide a comprehensive overview of the patients’ health.

These systems are built on sharing information with other healthcare providers and healthcare organizations, such as specialties, medical imaging facilities, pharmacies, labs, etc. hence, they comprise ‘all’ clinical information relevant to each patient.

what kind of data ehr contains
  • Patient demographics
  • Medical histories
  • Medications
  • Diagnoses
  • Immunization Dates
  • Allergies
  • Radiology Images
  • Vital Signs
  • Lab test results
  • Progress notes
  • Administrative and billing information
7 FEATURES OF EHR

Since patient records contain highly confidential patient information, they are a primary target of cybercriminals. Hence, security remains a top priority when deploying EHRs. EHR systems offer robust security measures and are protected with strong encryption. They are HIPAA-compliant in terms of privacy and security requirements.

features of electronic health record software
7.1 SECURITY

Since patient records contain highly confidential patient information, they are a primary target of cybercriminals. Hence, security remains a top priority when deploying EHRs. EHR systems offer robust security measures and are protected with strong encryption. They are HIPAA-compliant in terms of privacy and security requirements.

7.2 TRANSCRIPTION

EHRs also offers speech recognition features. This can be incredibly helpful if you routinely send out your staff's recordings for transcription by third parties. This feature essentially allows the physicians to speak and see their words generated in real-time on the screen to fill out patient records automatically.

7.3 PATIENT PORTAL

An EHR-integrated patient portal offers a great deal of freedom and convenience to the patients. The patients can fill their forms electronically, access their medical records at ease and convenience, and interact with their providers in real-time. They can also file for medication refill requests. Also, they can pose any queries and concerns to their providers to receive a prompt reply.

7.4 REPORTING

EHRs allow streamlining your practice workflows. They help generate automated reports for several activities such as tracking patient outcomes, checking on no-shows, and so forth. These reporting capabilities are easily configurable to your practice’s workflows and requirements.

7.5 ELECTRONIC PRESCRIPTIONS

EHRs allow submitting electronic prescriptions for your patients even before they exit the building. By the time they reach the pharmacy, the medication is already ready. This reduces their lead time in waiting at the pharmacies while also alleviating physicians' messy handwriting and any potential errors in hand-written prescriptions.

8 HOW DOES EHR FACILITATE DATA SHARING?

Patient records stored in EHR are essentially shared through network-connected, organization-wide information systems. EHRs are integrated with other systems in place at the medical practice, which allows a seamless flow of information across various functions within the practice.

For instance, an EHR-integrated medical billing software allows an automated billing process, which then aids in reimbursements. These systems are connected through an enterprise-wide network.

how does ehr facilitate data sharing

EHRs connect with other providers through established information networks and exchanges. These providers include outside caregivers such as pharmacies, laboratories, medical imaging specialties, etc.

Authorized users can access these data repositories with relevant security protocols and thereby retrieved the required patient information anywhere, anytime.

EHR-integrated patient portals allow the patients to access their health records too. This offers them a great deal of freedom and convenience in multiple respects. For instance, they can fill out their intake forms electronically. They can view their medical records, lab results, diagnosis and treatment plans, etc., from the privacy and comfort of their homes.

They can also interact with the providers in real-time over patient portals to engage n self-care. Further, patient portals allow the patients to file for medication refill requests electronically. Providers can promptly respond to these requests at a mere click of a button, saving up on a lot of time and effort.

9 HOW DOES EHR WORKFLOW LOOK LIKE

The EHR system is designed to improve the workflow of a clinic. It provides connectivity for all members in charge, so it helps them work more efficiently together while providing better patient care at every step.

how does ehr workflow look like
Patient

The patient visits the doctor's office and fills out an intake form. First, they need to register at check-in either by using a self-service kiosk or going straight up in person where you can also get your account set with all of this information already entered onto it. So that there are no errors on behalf of either party during their visit.

Front office

The centralized scheduling module makes it easy to book appointments with doctors. Patients can be seen immediately and easily by checking their online schedule. The system automatically accommodates each physician's workflow and distributes patient queues considering multiple sources: online appointments or check-in counters depending on their preference.

Physician

When a patient's doctor sends them an appointment request, they can access information about their medical history and symptoms. After consulting with the individual in person or through video chat, doctors enter notes from these consultations into EHR systems so that nurses, another physician can look up the note to carry out the necessary procedures.

Pharmacy

When a prescription is transmitted to the pharmacy, it takes only minutes for them to prepare and dispense drugs. This means that patients can pick up their prescriptions immediately after ordering without having any unnecessary wait time.

Finance department

Based on the patient's treatment, the billing department uses the billing module to create a bill receipt for the patient.

Insurance company

When the EHR is billing, it first checks for errors at the clearinghouse and reformats to insurer's standards. Then they send over all expenses covered by this claim so that you can get paid.

Labs

This means that EHRs will be able to integrate with laboratories and provide physicians access not only their medical history but also lab results. This is a great innovation for patients who want quick answers from specialists without having them come into the office or wait on hold.

10 BENEFITS OF EHRS FOR PROVIDERS

EHRs are accredited for radically transforming the healthcare industry through digital technology. Since medicine is an information-rich enterprise, EHRs thrive on this information's seamless flow within the digital healthcare infrastructure. They encompass and leverage digital processes to transform the way care is delivered. EHRs offer several benefits, including the following:

benefits of ehrs for providers
10.1 COMPREHENSIVE VIEW OF THE PATIENT’S HEALTH

Providers always strive to have dynamic patient-centered records that can help track the care continuum over the patient’s lifetime. EHRs typically aid in providing a comprehensive and holistic view of the patient’s overall health. Having a single, continuous, and complete records of the patient’s health then provides a holistic view of overall health for better diagnosis and lifetime treatment.

10.2 IMPROVED PATIENT CARE

EHRs play a lead role in improving patient care by enhancing the overall convenience for providers and patients. The providers can reap the following benefits by deploying EHRs to strengthen the quality of healthcare:

  • They can have quick access to patient records from both inpatient and remote locations to deliver more coordinated and efficient care
  • They enjoy improved decision support, clinical alerts, and reminders to make better patient-related decisions
  • They have access to performance improvement tools that facilitate real-time reporting
  • Documentation is significantly facilitated through accurate coding and billing
  • They can prescribe medications more safely and reliably, through electronic prescriptions
  • They can use interfaced with labs, registries, and other EHRS for improved, coordinated care

Similarly, patients also enjoy better quality care using EHRs:

  • They don’t have to fill out the same paper-based forms at every visit. Information once stored into the EHR is readily available at subsequent visits and does not need to be re-entered
  • Automated reminders from EHRs keep the patients informed about their health, which helps them take better care of themselves
10.3 INCREASED PATIENT ENGAGEMENT AND EMPOWERMENT

Using EHRs, patients are empowered enough to engage in self-care. EHR-integrated patient portals provide important personal health-related information to the patients to take better care of themselves.

  • EHRs offer reliable point-of-care information. Reminders about essential health interventions, such as medication dosages and refills, empower the patients to engage in self-care
  • They can enjoy the convenience of electronic prescriptions that are sent directly to the pharmacy
  • Patient portals allow online interaction with the providers in real-time
  • Electronic referrals allow easier access to follow-up care with specialties
  • Medication refill requests can be filled electronically without much hassle
10.4 ENHANCED CARE COORDINATION

As medical practices and digital health technologies have advanced, the delivery of superior-quality, sophisticated medical care has evolved. This requires a team of dedicated healthcare providers, including primary care physicians, specialties, nurses, technicians, and other clinicians.

Each of these team members brings along their specific expertise to enhance the care delivery process. They work on improving patient interactions to facilitate better diagnosis and care delivery.

EHRs play an integral role in decreasing the fragmentation of care by substantially improving care coordination. They have the potential to integrate and organize vital patient health information to facilitate instant access to all authorized providers involved in the care delivery process.

For instance, EHRs can inform the providers when a patient has visited the hospital, thereby allowing them to follow up with the patient proactively. Similarly, the patients can see multiple specialists in one sitting to achieve the best diagnosis for their symptoms.

With accurate and up-to-date information readily available to numerous specialties, healthcare providers can better identify the best treatment plan for the patient. The transition between care settings is typically smooth and seamless, thanks to EHRs for a reliable digital platform.

10.5 IMPROVED DIAGNOSIS AND PATIENT OUTCOMES

EHRs improve information availability, which eventually leads to practice efficiencies. All patient-related health information is available in one place, easily accessible at a single click. Providers have access to this information anywhere, anytime, which significantly facilitates their decision-making process. They can make a better diagnosis, which ultimately enhances patient outcomes.

EHRs help providers make the most optimal decisions through:

  • Improved aggregation, analysis, and communication of patient information
  • Clinical reminders and alerts
  • Support for diagnostic and therapeutic decisions
10.6 STREAMLINED WORKFLOWS

EHRs substantially cut down on paperwork and thereby increase the practice productivity and efficiency. When patients and staff have fewer forms to fill, the providers have a lot more time to see more patients. Prescriptions and referrals can be sent promptly, cutting wait times for appointments and pickups.

Similarly, automated reminders to the patients before their appointments can significantly reduce no-shows. Billing and insurance claims can be filed promptly with integrated patient tracking and billing systems. Hence, EHRs radically transform and streamline the practice workflows to enhance overall practice productivity.

10.7 PRACTICE EFFICIENCIES, QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS, AND COST SAVINGS

Reliable access to complete patient health information is also pivotal for quality improvements. The timely availability of accurate and complete information can help the providers deliver the best possible care, leading to better patient experience and better patient outcomes. The overall result is considerable quality improvements through efficient tracking of patient information and utilizing it for better decision making.

11 BENEFITS OF EHRS FOR PATIENTS

Not only do EHRs serve benefits to the providers, but they also offer several advantages to the patients.

benefits of ehr for patients
11.1 ELIMINATE UNNECESSARY PAPERWORK

Filling out lengthy forms at their visit to the doctor’s office has always been a hassle for the patients. The sheer amount of paperwork is a significant demotivator, but it remains an essential component of their in-person visits.

With an established EHR system, the patients only need to provide the information once, freeing them from the burden of typing or writing the same information over and over again.

11.2 AVOID DUPLICATION OF TESTS

EHR systems allow access to all lab test results in a timely fashion. The medical providers can view all results in one integrated platform and hence need no advice repeat tests. Instead of calling up the lab to get the required information, again and again.

The patients can view the results by connecting with data via an EHR solution. This is particularly beneficial when the tests are invasive and uncomfortable or require additional work from the patient, such as fasting for long hours. It is also a financial constrain when the tests are expensive, such as an MRI.

11.3 EASY ACCESS TO HEALTH RECORDS

As in the providers' case, the patients can also view their medical data anywhere, any time. A worried patient may want to double-check his sick child's health information and pursue immediate action with the insurance company. Similarly, patients can view their lab test results online, through a safe and secure system, from the privacy of their homes.

12 HOW MUCH DOES AN EHR COST?

EHR is a costly investment, but certainly a fruitful one. But before you make the case to justify one, there are three critical things you need to do:

  • Run a cost-benefit analysis, focusing on specific elements of your practice. These include factors such as quality of care, customer service, and efficiency.
  • Conduct an ROI forecast that features both long-term and short-term projections of the potential revenues that the EHR is expected to generate.
  • Conduct a thorough analysis that features the total cost of ownership of an EHR, both in the short and long-term.
how much does an ehr cost

Once you have a justification ready, consider the benefits of EHR use. According to Health Affairs, medical practices generally cover the cost of EHR in approximately 2.5 years. Then, they start receiving an average of roughly $23,000 per annum per full-time employee in net returns. Further evidence suggests that an efficient EHR system yields several benefits beyond the financial returns, including:

  • Increased practice productivity and efficiency
  • Increased quality of care
  • Reduced waste
  • Fewer medical errors
  • Better organizational outcomes
  • Better patient health outcomes

The question remains how much does an EMR for small practice cost? And the answer lies in what the practice is buying and how long it intends to use it. Compiling the EHR costs then becomes imperative to proceed with the implementation. Several elements need to be taken into account that can affect the price of an EHR, such as:

  • The features and functionalities required by the practice
  • The add-ons required, such as telemedicine, patient portal, or practice management
  • Cloud or premise deployment
  • The scale of the installation
  • Updating hardware to support the system

An EHR budget should ideally contain, at a minimum, the following components:

  • Hardware costs – servers, computers, printers, scanner, and other peripheral devices required.
  • Assistance – legal support, system maintenance, installation support, IT contractors, data conversion support, etc.
  • Training – initial and ongoing training for clinical and practice staff.
  • Contingencies - potential productivity, revenue, and patient-related gains and losses
  • EHR software – the cost of the EHR software itself, including additions and upgrades
13 HOW TO SWITCH TO EMR

The switch from paper medical records to electronic ones has been a challenging process for many providers. The new way of documenting requires them think about how they will do so without any tangible documentation, but with just clicks on screens in an EMR system.

HOW TO SWITCH TO EMR

Going from a paper-based medical practice to an electronic one can be difficult, but it's important for the transition not only in how things work internally and mentally. The switch itself is as much mental acceptance of change with smoothness coming after focus on improvement upon all aspects including training staff members. So they know what their new routines will look like when switching over completely or partially which helps production efficiency too.

Tips to Transition from Paper to Electronic Records

  • Make sure all staff members are on board and appropriately trained
  • Plan ahead and involve staff from all roles
  • Set a transition period
  • Decide what to do with paper files
  • Adjust EMR workflow as needed
  • Consider moving patient charts to the EHR individually rather than scanning all of them at once
  • Be patient and flexible

There are many ways to help staff members get comfortable with the electronic medical records (EMR) transition. To make sure everyone is on board, be mindful of their individual rates for adaptation and offer training that will suit them best - whether it's online or in person.

14 HOW TO IMPLEMENT EHR?

There are typically four phases of implementing EHR at a medical practice. The best strategic initiatives are devised according to the stage of implementation the practice is in:

how to implement ehr
14.1 PLANNING AND SELECTION

The decision to deploy EHR is a strategic one and requires considerable planning before going live. Before the implementation project is initiated, it is necessary to understand the benefits an EHR brings along, the associated challenges, and the system's limitations.

ehr implementation lifecycle

Common impediments to a successful implementation may include:

  • Difficulty in understanding the organization’s needs and workflows and failure of the EHR to integrate with them
  • Uncertain costs
  • The effort required to identify and implement an EHR system

Cloud-Based or Server-Based?

The most important question while selecting an EHR is to decide between a cloud-based EHR and a server-based EHR. Cloud-based computing platforms are the most plausible option since they offer scalable, on-demand access to IT services. Launching a cloud-based EHR is more time-efficient and requires less management effort and costs than a server-based platform. Other benefits include:

  • Reduced upfront hardware and software costs
  • Fewer maintenance costs
  • Increased levels of IT service availability
  • Reduced run-time failures and errors

Locally Hosted or Outsourced?

Alternatively, you can either have the EHR locally hosted or outsource it to a reliable partner. If you opt for locally hosting the EHR at your location, you won’t have to rely on an external third party or trust them with your patients’ vital data.

On the other hand, outsourcing to an expert will make the process more efficient, and you will save up on time to focus more on revenue-generating activities.

Selecting an EHR Vendor

Readymade EHR systems come in one-size-fits-all solutions. However, an EHR will only reap benefits for your medical practice if customized according to your needs and workflows. While selecting the EHR vendor, the following factors should be taken into account:

A comprehensive list of goals should be developed and communicated to the EHR vendor to assess the goals it can help the practice attain.

Prioritize the features that are a must-have for your EHR:

  • Electronic prescribing
  • Remote access
  • Decision support tools
  • Referral ordering
  • Patient follow-up alerts and reminders
  • Online appointment scheduling
  • Electronic medication administration record (eMAR)
  • Computerized physician order entry (SPOE)

Compose a Request for Proposal (RFP), take price quotes, and request a demo to assess the system's viability for your practice.

Shortlist the potential vendors based on their offerings, demonstrations, references, and industrial credibility.

14.2 ADOPTION AND IMPLEMENTATION

A successful EHR adoption comprises of two steps: pre-implementation and implementation.

During the pre-implementation phase, it is advised to:

  • Define and design workflows
  • Establish a governance process and a proper project plan for implementation
  • Communicate with the staff and involve them in the entire process of implementation
  • Provide education and training to the team for optimization of the solution

During the implementation plan, it is advised to:

  • Customize the system to meet the unique requirements of the practice at hand
  • To establish a well-defined change management process
  • Support the existing system
  • Integrate the EHR with the already established systems
  • Determine how the current patient data will be transitioned into the digital form
14.3 OPTIMIZATION

Once the implementation is complete, it is time to evaluate the implementation process and its impact on medical practice. The most critical issues to consider during this phase are:

  • Was the implementation process smooth and seamless?
  • Did everyone at the practice participate and engage in the process?
  • Did the events go as planned, or were there any setbacks?
  • How did the implementation impact the workflows?
  • Are there any further opportunities for improvement?

Implementing the EHR at your medical practice is a significant milestone in your EHR journey. Planning for ongoing improvements, however, will keep the success running. You should adopt a continuous optimization approach to enhance the system continually. Additionally, you should establish a process to gather feedback on your EHR from all the stakeholders involved, including patients, clinicians, and other EHR users.

14.4 REPLACEMENT AND DATA MIGRATION

Migration from a paper-based documentation system to a digital patient record system calls for careful planning. Similarly, data migration from one electronic environment to another also required mindful planning. This is particularly true when medical practices are planning to replace their existing EHR. There can be several reasons why a provider might want to switch an existing EHR:

  • Outgrow the current EHR’s capabilities
  • Expand the practice
  • Join or collaborate with another practice
  • Lack of data exchange abilities and system functionalities
  • High operation costs
  • Failure to reduce physician workload

It is advised to define data migration priorities when implementing EHR replacements. It would help if you proactively connected with the old and new EHR vendors to talk upfront about data transition and associated costs. You should also anticipate your data mapping needs and thoroughly plan the transfer of all existing records into the new EHR's structured fields. Additionally, make sure you use the continuity of care documentation to facilitate seamless data migration.

15 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE SWITCHING TO EHR
How does implementing an EHR improve my practice?

Implementing a new EHR system can be difficult, but finding the right software with adequate training will lead you through an efficient and smooth transition. Properly trained users are more confident in their abilities to master this technology which ultimately leads them to perform better at the clinic as well as improve patient care.

Will EHR software run on my current computer? Are any Mac-friendly? Can I use a tablet or smartphone instead of a computer?

The type of computer that you use to access/maintain your EHR will depend on the design and features offered by it. Cloud-based healthcare records systems are generally compatible with both Windows computers as well Macs, though there are some exceptions to this rule (like iOS). Some tablets may also work thanks in part due to their thin size; however, most smartphones cannot be used because they don't have enough processing power or storage capacity for large-scale medical applications like these.

Do I have to select an EHR or will vendors customize their product to fit my practice?

Many EHR vendors are willing to modify their systems so that you can integrate screening tools or outcome measures into your template. However, this typically comes at an additional cost and there's no guarantee whether data will be able transfer between settings due different system platforms used by patients' caregivers in other rooms of the hospital (or clinic).

What kind of training do EHR vendors provide when transitioning to their systems?

When bringing their software packages online in your practice, EHR vendors typically offer a variety of training modalities. Some onsite sessions may be ideal for offices where multiple staff members will have access to the system according to specific roles within that particular medical setting while other pre-packaged modular courses exist as well with videos and tutorials available online or live synchronous video callings opportunities provided by certain providers at no cost.

Does the solution enable clinicians to easily monitor and manage care?

In order to provide the best care, it is important that physicians have easy access and ability to their patients. Monitoring progress in your day-to-day workflows can help you better understand how well they're doing on a personal level as well so make sure all parties involved are engaged with one another throughout this process.

Will I have received ongoing support?

The importance of a great support system cannot be ignored. That's why EHR companies should provide personalized 24/7 software maintenance for the providers so they can focus on their clinical operations without worrying about downtimes and emergency repairs.

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