How to Switch Your EHR

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Anyone who has ever spent even a modest amount of time with an EHR (electronic health records) solution can tell you how valuable it can be.  By design, an integrated EHR solution  can act as a “single source of truth” for your patients that can bring a practice together like never before. It becomes easier than ever for care providers to communicate and collaborate with one another. The quality of the patient experience improves dramatically, which helps to increase engagement. The list goes on and on.  However one of the goals of electronic health records software is to allow your organization to grow and evolve in all the ways you need. Of course, this means that the  affordable EMR/EHR software  you’re depending on today may be woefully inadequate tomorrow. As your needs and focus change, your technology needs to change along with it. When that is no longer possible, it’s time to shift your focus towards something new.  Thankfully, switching from one EHR solution to another isn’t necessarily as difficult as many fear. It will, however, depend on your ability to maintain the right perspective going into the process and following a few key steps along the way.  

Recognizing the Signs: Is It Time to Switch Your  EHR Software?

When your current  EHR solution  lacks features and functionality that could legitimately benefit your organization, it’s time to at least consider switching to something new. There was likely a time in the past where these features weren’t necessarily important to you. But if they are now, you’re looking at the number one warning sign that a switch is on the horizon. 

You need your  EHR software  to be able to not only help you meet the demands of today, but to  better prepare yourself for the challenges of tomorrow. If it can no longer do that, you need to find an option that can. Examples of this include: 

  • Your current solution is not cloud-based, so you’re once again battling the types of data silos that electronic health records were supposed to eliminate in the first place. 
  • Your current solution no longer integrates with the labs, pharmacies, and other organizations you need it to, thus making communication needlessly complicated. 
  • You lack customization based on your specialty. 
  • There is no support for integrated telehealth or virtual services. This is especially important as telehealth utilization grew another 7% in January 2023 alone. 
  • You don’t have access to other core features you now need like record sharing, Clinical Decision Support services, e-texting, e-faxing, and more. 

Individually, any one of these warning signs would likely still be something you could deal with – at least for the short-term. If you’re suffering from multiple signs at the same time, switching to a new EHR is no longer a matter of “if” but “when.” 

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Planning to Make the Switch? Explore a Smooth Transition to a New  EHR Solution

By far, the number one way you can guarantee a smooth transition to a new EHR solution involves choosing that solution carefully. Remember that you’re going to be relying on a partner throughout the majority of this process to handle not only data migration but also ongoing user education, support, and more. Therefore, you’re not just picking the platform – you’re also picking the company behind it, too. 

Always choose an EHR provider that has an organized and streamlined transition plan in place from the moment your relationship begins. Every organization is unique unto itself, so no company should try to force you into a “one size fits all” box when it comes to something so critical. They need to work to understand your specific needs and challenges so that they can come up with an organic transition plan to match. 

Beyond that, always make sure you’re picking a solution that includes the features you need today and the ones you might be able to take advantage of tomorrow. Things to be aware of include but are not limited to ones like: 

  • Integrated Billing 
  • Practice Management Tools 
  • e-Prescribing 
  • Patient Engagement Tools 
  • Telemedicine 

Choose the Best  EHR Software  for Medical Practice Efficiency

As stated, there are a number of features that can help enormously when it comes to increasing the overall efficiency of your medical practice. 

Documentation-related functionality, for example, can include things like customizable templates, automated workflows, progress notes, and more – all of which can be tailored to your specialty. Not only does this help to save a huge amount of time during the creation of those documents, but it also makes it easier to share them with patients and providers as well. The time that your employees save can then be focused on other areas of the practice where the biggest impact can be made. 

Practice management tools should also be a priority if streamlining efficiency is your goal. Your new EHR software should include things like: 

  • Appointment Scheduling 
  • Appointment Reminders 
  • Case Management Functionality 
  • Authorization requests 
  • Eligibility Checks 

Not only do these features make the aforementioned processes easier, but they also help to eliminate human error as well. Quality results are achieved faster, which helps to increase efficiency in a way that also improves outcomes for patients across the board. 

Steps to Switching: The Process and the Challenges

Challenges to switching Your EHR

In terms of switching from one EHR platform to another, the most important part of the process also represents the biggest challenge: data migration. 

You need to identify what information you currently have and where it is stored so that you can design a plan to migrate it from one system to the next in the most secure way possible. Patient health records are inherently sensitive so they cannot be compromised during this process, and you cannot afford to lose anything important. 

To mitigate risk from this challenge, talk to your soon-to-be EHR provider in advance. Find out what steps they’re taking to avoid issues and learn about what you can do to help make the process easier on your end. Verify the quality of your data backups and check data consistency to keep things operating smoothly. 

Beyond that, work with your provider to develop a consistent point of contact from start to finish. How much downtime will be expected during the process itself? What type of ongoing user education and technical support will be offered? If you do experience a technical problem, how long will it take to get a resolution? Who do you call or email? These are all questions that you need to answer before the process begins. 

The Benefits of Switching EHR Solutions

The major benefit of switching EHR solutions  is that you improve the quality of the experience you’re offering to patients dramatically. You’re now able to take meaningful steps towards meeting and exceeding the modern patient’s expectations. 

People don’t have to wait for things like eligibility verification because it all happens in real-time. Prescriptions can be sent electronically so that by the time someone gets to their preferred pharmacy, everything is ready for pickup. Payments are posted electronically, making it easier for people to submit necessary payments. Claims are automatically generated to help streamline the time-consuming (and often frustrating) insurance process. 

Remember that the right EHR solution for your practice won’t just improve productivity and efficiency in the short-term. It does so in a way that lets you and your team focus on the most important thing of all: securing better patient outcomes, no matter what. 

  • Data is more accessible than ever, making it easy to collaborate with other specialists on the care someone needs. 
  • Documentation and medication errors are reduced exponentially, avoiding irritating (and potentially dangerous) mistakes. 
  • Patient engagement is increased, meaning that they’re more likely to be proactive about their health and are thus able to address small issues today before they potentially become much bigger ones tomorrow. 
  • Your medical practice will save a large amount of money that can be put to better use elsewhere. 

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How to Switch Your EHR Software

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Don’t Believe the Hype, Switching EHR Is Rather Simple.

Does this sound like a familiar scenario?

Every day at your healthcare practice, you feel the pain of your lagging electronic health record system or EHR. Each task seems to take twice as long as it needs to because your EHR is running poorly or because it is disorganized and you have a hard time finding the information you need.

Table of Contents

You’re frustrated and you know you could be more productive if you switch your EHR. At the same time, you worry that switching EHR systems will take your office out of commission for days or weeks, not to mention putting you at risk of losing valuable medical data. Held hostage by that fear, you keep trudging along with that dinosaur of an EHR.

Today is the day that changes. Here’s how to switch your EHR more seamlessly than you think.

 

There are a Few Questions you Should ask Yourself About your Current Electronic Health Record Software:

Software FAQ

There are a few questions you should ask yourself about your current electronic health record software:

  • Is it cloud-based?
  • Does it integrate with labs, pharmacies?
  • Is it customized for your specialty?
  • Does it have integrated telehealth/virtual support services?
  • Does it have record sharing features?
  • Does it include speech recognition, e-texting, and e-faxing features?
  • Does it provide Clinical Decision Support services?

If you answered “no” to even one of those questions, it’s time to consider a new EHR, where each feature is designed to streamline your office workflow so you can focus on patient care. Modern EHRs include options such as Revenue Cycle Management, MACRA preparation, Patient Engagement tools, etc.

How to Switch EHR Systems Smoothly

The simple truth is that your EHR transition doesn’t need to be as challenging as you think it will be. Use these tips for a smoother process from start to finish.

Choose Your New EHR Wisely

Choosing a new EHR is the most important step of the entire transition because it determines how your transition will play out. The fact is that some EHR providers handle implementation better than others. You will be relying on your provider throughout the process, so make sure they are worthy of your trust.

On top of a trustworthy provider, choose an EHR system that has the capability to grow with you. To be frank, you need the new program to be worth the switch. It should have plenty of capabilities you may not need now but will use in the future as your practice grows.

Get to Know the Data Transfer/Data Migration Process

One of the trickiest aspects of switching your EHR is transferring the data you already have. This is why you want to educate yourself on a seamless data migration process.

Talk to your soon-to-be EHR provider in advance about this issue. Find out what measures they take to prevent issues from occurring. Learn if there is anything you should do to facilitate the process, like backing up data or checking data consistency.

Keep in mind that you won’t always discover data transition problems from the start. Make sure your EHR is available for support after the transition in case any issues arise later.

Find an EHR Dedicated to Easy Transitions

As important as it is to be happy with your EHR after you switch, you want to be happy with it during the switch too. As we noted, a good EHR will play a powerful role in your implementation.

Choose an EHR provider who has an organized and streamlined transition plan in place. The only way to do this is through specialized attention from a knowledgeable professional.

For instance, we provide each of our customers with their own implementation specialist. This expert oversees everything about the transition process, from customizing the program to fit the customer’s needs to working through the implementation itself.

This ensures that you have a consistent point of contact from start to finish who understands what you need.

Consider the Long-Term Maintenance

At this point, your mind is preoccupied with the idea of switching your EHR. You may not be putting much thought into the future after that transition is over.

This is an essential part of choosing your new EHR, though. The whole purpose of switching is to make your life easier. If your new EHR needs constant maintenance that falls on your shoulders, you’ll be disappointed. From the beginning, ask EHR providers about their maintenance and technical support.

Will you have a knowledgeable person to contact when you need help? How much downtime does their system have? How quickly will they be able to resolve technical issues when they happen?

Get these answers in advance so you know what to expect. Better yet, get references from other practices who use that EHR and find out their experiences with its reliability.

Plan for Training in Advance

One unavoidable part of any EHR transition is training your staff in how to use the new system. How do you know where do start and how do you work it into your schedule?

This is another advantage of our implementation managers. We’ll be able to train a member of your team thoroughly on the system so that person can take the information to the rest of the practice. We can give you an idea of how that training will go and how long to allow so you can plan it into your schedule.

the prognocis team

There are a few ways to put your training into action depending on your practice. Chances are that each team on your staff will be using different features within the EHR: nurses and doctors will enter treatment notes, the reception staff will book appointments, and so on. It may be best to have separate training sessions for each team to learn the functions they need to know.

Of course, you can also gather everyone together and perform a singular training session for the full system. It all depends on the way your practice is structured and what works best with your schedule.

Choose the Right Timing

Every practice wants to have plenty of patients to fill their schedules each day, but there are always busy times and slow times. Those slow times are ideal for your EHR transition.

For instance, if you have a pediatric practice, you don’t want to switch your EHR during the flu season.

You may need to review your past records to pinpoint the slowest timeframe to make the switch. Once you’ve made that decision, though, prioritize it in your schedule. If you need to book fewer appointments during that time to allow for training and getting to know the system, you can plan ahead.

Take It Step by Step

Finally, remember that you aren’t in this alone. Switching EHR systems is a team effort, and your implementation manager is on your side. They do this for a living, so sit back and let them guide you through the process. 

Taking the Leap to Switch EHR Systems

We understand why so many medical practices are hesitant to switch EHR systems. After all, everyone has heard a horror story about other practices whose transitions haven’t gone well.

It’s important to put those stresses aside. As long as you choose an EHR provider who understands your needs and has a dedicated team helping you through the process, you can let them take the wheel. The switch will be smooth and complete before you know it. 

To find out more about whether our EHR is the right choice for you, sign up for your EHR software demo or download the PrognoCis EHR PDF  

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