Does your electronic health record (EHR) seem to run at glacial speed? Is it crashing, losing data, or just obviously well beyond its prime?
Whatever the problem, you don’t have to let an outdated EHR get worse.
Before you decide which route to take, use these four key factors to help determine whether to update or replace your system:
1. Count the Costs
EHR technology is expensive. One-off system updates can be costly, and a complete replacement can be even pricier. However, an obsolete system can be expensive and contribute to physician burnout and a dissatisfied staff. In short, what costs — both hard and soft — can your practice afford?
2. EHR Optimization — A Push and Pull
Are you using your EHR to its full capacity? The system should have features and functions that improve with each update. If you aren’t using these new features, ask yourself why. Are these updates useful, and is there accompanying education? Do you receive real-time support? Does your practice culture embrace tech changes? Being honest about all of the factors that contribute to your EHR optimization — both internal and external — will deliver the best results.
3. Assess the Current System
Your EHR should be reliable, robust, and readily accessible. Your relationship with your vendor should be a partnership. Ask yourself: What has our vendor done for us lately? What has it done to remedy glitches or workflow concerns? Does it have a forum for us to express concerns and needs? Is our vendor thriving in the current market? It’s important to develop a complete picture of your satisfaction level with both the EHR product and your vendor before deciding on the next steps.
4. When “Go” Means “Stay”
Although some physicians may be tempted to simply start over, take pause. What would switching EHRs look like for your practice? Most likely, your current vendor is well known to you and your team. If your vendor is promising an upgrade that will solve your problems, it might actually be better to stay. Quantify the pros and cons before you make a move, and closely evaluate any vendors you are considering.
For a more in-depth analysis on switching EHRs and tips on contracting protections and risks, get TMA's publication Switching EHR Systems.
As with most TMA CME programs, the publication is free for TMA members, thanks to a generous sponsorship by the TMA Insurance Trust.
You can also submit a current EHR contract, or outside contract, to Coker Group for a free technology contract review. The evaluation will look for terms and conditions that may be unfavorable and provide suggestions on how to address them.