Shopping for a new EHR software for your practice can be an exciting time. But, don't get too carried away with all of the good features and benefits of a system that you forget to consider what could be on the other side of the coin. If you're currently using a practice management and EHR solution, maybe your system isn't quite what it seems? Is it lacking some of the latest technological benefits of new systems?
Does Your EHR Software Love You?
It Loves Me: My EHR is 2011 certified for meaningful use...
Several EHR systems are certified for 2011 certification for meaningful use. And that's great, but when 2014 rolled around the certification on these systems essentially expired, and all systems have to be re-certified for 2014 meaningful use, which isn't a small task. So if you're planning on attesting to any stage of meaningful use in 2014, your system needs to be 2014 certified.
It Loves Me Not: ...But not 2014 certified. It pays to participate in The Meaningful Use Incentive Program, so having a 2014 certified system is something you should really consider! 17,441 eyecare providers received payments for attesting to Stage 1 of meaningful use. And as of August 2013, $155 million was given to Optometrists. And even more importantly, starting in 2015, you will start getting penalties on your Medicare payments if you aren't demonstrating meaningful use by using a certified EHR system. This means you only have this year to hop on the bandwagon if you want to avoid these penalties!
It Loves Me: My practice management and EHR vendor say they are in the cloud...
Some practice management and EHR systems are offered as installed versions on your desktop, and also offered to you in the cloud. Systems that offer both an installed version and a cloud version are most likely cloud-hosted systems. With cloud-hosted systems your vendor is going to host and manage your server for you, which will take the IT burden of server maintenance off of your practice. But your system will still have to be installed on each computer you want to access it from, and updates to the system are going to take time.
It Loves Me Not: ...But they aren't truly cloud-based. If a system is truly cloud-based, you will access your system from a compatible web browser over the Internet. You won't need installed versions of the system on each computer, so you can access it from anywhere - your office, or your home! Updates to your system will happen automatically, and at no extra cost, so you'll always be working off the most recent version of the system.
It Loves Me: I get training and support with my system...
When it comes to implementing and adopting a new system at your practice, it's going to take time for you and your staff to adjust. And just about any system out there is going to come with training and support options to help you with this process. Implementation is a critical time for adjusting to any system. You don't want to start off your experience frustrated with the learning tools or bad customer support.
It Loves Me Not: ...But I have to pay extra for it.
Depending on the vendor, you might have to pay extra for additional support or training resources. This is something to consider when shopping around for a system. If you don't ask these questions, you could be hit with hidden costs along the way!
It Loves Me: My system works great on a desktop computer.
Some systems are built only to be used on desktop computers, and for many practices, this isn't a problem. But as healthcare continues to grow more mobile, having the ability to carry around a tablet from room to room throughout a patient's exam could be a big benefit.
It Loves Me Not: ...But I can't access it from my tablet.
Having the option to access your system from a tablet gives you more flexibility in your office. Instead of logging in and out of your system when hopping from room to room, what if you could stay logged in and carry your system with you? Would this speed up the exam process allowing you to see more customers in a day? This is something to consider when looking for you next practice management and EHR solution.
So does your EHR software love you?