How to switch EHRs
When the need to switch EHRs presents itself it’s important to go about the process the right way.
- Identify that your practice has a software issue.
- Measure the problem.
- Evaluate EHR software that will solve your financial, workflow, or compliance issue.
- Select the right vendor AND software.
- Move forward with confidence in your new EHR software.
Software issues that manifest the need to switch EHRs
EHR software issues can impact your bottom line, hinder workflow, and negatively affect your regulatory compliance for programs like MACRA/MIPS. The wrong EHR may also cause a loss of revenue by capturing inaccurate billing and coding information, failing to capture charges at all, or, if excessive amounts of time are spent charting, reduction in patient volume.
With news of falsified attestation data1, exposure and liability for the use of non-compliant EHRs is at the forefront. Physicians are concerned and must be vigilant with the compliance and certification of their EHR software2 . Vendor compliance with certifying and regulatory bodies has never been more important.
Practices have never had as much of their Medicare reimbursement at risk. Providers have up to 12%3 of their Medicare reimbursement on the line as part of MACRA / MIPS (Merit-Based Incentive Payment System). Be sure to check your participation status with CMS4.
EHR software issues
As more and more regulation and financial strain5 is placed on physician practices it is critical that EHR software not be a pure cost. Many systems are utilized to “check the box” that a practice is participating in a given regulatory program; first, Meaningful Use, and now MACRA/MIPS. This type of EHR system is often low cost, or sometimes free. Even though they don’t cost much, these systems do not offer any real value.
How to measure the impact of EHR software
Practices are complex operations and a variety of factors influence their success. Because EHRs handle so many processes (charting, patient accounts, billing, etc.) much of the load for staying organized and effective must be placed on the software. To quantify the EHR’s impact, start with stats like patient flow, billing totals, and A/R balances. Whether you’re comparing pre-EHR figures to your now, hopefully, paperless practice or from one EHR to another; measurements must be made in order to improve.
Switch EHR software to solve a problem
When a practice wants to switch EHRs it’s important to know what you need with regard to your practice’s KPIs (key performance indicators.) Primary care offices have markedly different KPIs from surgical specialties. When shopping for a replacement EHR verify that your replacement candidates will help with the achievement of your metrics.
Select the right vendor
Switching EHRs is more than just a software swap you need a vendor that can function as a trusted partner.
- Does the vendor receive 3rd party validation?6
- Do current customer reviews, testimonials, and references check out?
- Does the vendor commit to ongoing education for users and practices?
- Are support staff experienced and helpful?
- Do they have experience rescuing practices from failed or non viable EHRs?
3rd Party Validation and Ongoing Education are important factors in EHR selection
|Frost & Sullivan Product Leadership Award||Aprima 2017 User Conference|
Aprima is the #1 Rated, 2018 Best in KLAS EHR/PM in the Small Practice Ambulatory EMR/PM Category
Aprima earned an overall score of 85.3, a significantly higher score than the vendor average in this category. Some of the key evaluation categories that resulted in the #1 ranking included:
- Sales and Contracting
- Implementation and Training
- Functionality and Upgrades
- Service and Support
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Switch EHRs confidently
Doing the hard work of quantifying the strengths and weaknesses of your current EHR situation simplifies the process of replacing your EHR. With those metrics in hand, ask questions like “what can be improved?” and “what do we like about what we’re doing now?” By approaching the process to switch EHRs with an analytical view point your chance of successful new implementation is greatly improved.
EHRs as a Commodity
We often see that physicians treat EHRs as commodities when the reality is that they are not. EHR software should be selected with an eye towards optimization of clinical and business function and while price is an important factor it is not the only thing to consider.
The reporting and storytelling narrative surrounding EHRs is that they are a burden to physicians7 and that this burden is inevitable. But, we need to reexamine where accountability for the success of a practice lies.
Physicians would do everything possible to help a chronically ill patient regain their health but, if negative lifestyle choices like smoking, fast food, and poor sleep hygiene are continuously being made, how much can any healthcare provider hope to change that patient’s outcome?
In the same way the patient ultimately needs to accept accountability for their choices so too must physicians and their practices for their EHR outcomes. EHRs can either be something a practice has to do or they can be powerful optimization and automation tools8.
How to switch EHRs successfully
When switching EHRs the entire practice needs to engage the process; from physician leadership all the way down.
- Challenge existing workflows: ask questions about current procedures and outcomes. How can you build on strengths and mitigate weaknesses?
- Commit to training and ongoing education
- Empower your users to be accountable in their respective roles
Switch EHRs to reduce the risk of burnout
Switching to the right EHR has more benefits than reducing practice costs, streamlining operations, and increasing reimbursement. By switching EHRs, a physician can reclaim their work/life balance. Over 6,000 physicians responded to the Mayo Clinic9 that the “clerical burden” created by EHRs was a factor of their decline in job satisfaction but that does not have to be the case. Users of Aprima report time to have dinner with their family, take care of their kids, and pursue their passions.
Want to switch EHRs?
1 http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/eclinicalworks-pay-155-million-settle-suit-alleging-it-faked-meaningful-use-certification 2 https://ehrintelligence.com/news/eclinicalworks-sued-for-nearly-1b-due-to-faulty-patient-ehrs 3 https://qpp.cms.gov/mips/overview 4 https://qpp.cms.gov/participation-lookup 5 https://www.hfma.org/Content.aspx?id=55199 6 Aprima has won a variety of awards and recognition https://klasresearch.com/report/2018-best-in-klas-software-and-services/1253 https://www.aprima.com/news/klas-report-recognizes-aprima-top-tier-vendor-ambulatory-rcm-services https://www.aprima.com/news/aprima-medical-software-achieves-record-growth https://www.aprima.com/aprima-wins-rcm-award https://www.aprima.com/news/ncqa-awards-aprima-pcmh-prevalidation-status https://www.aprima.com/news/klas-report-recognizes-aprima-high-performing-provider-rcm-services 7 https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/868421 8 http://www.physicianspractice.com/blog/automating-medical-record-%E2%80%94-can-your-ehr-help 9https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-information-technology/mayo-study-links-ehrs-with-physician-burnout.html