Selecting an EHR
Implementing an Electronic Health Records System can dramatically change a medical practice’s operations. CalHIPSO has put together this list of things to consider to help providers start the process of transforming their practice.
Ask yourself these questions before you get started:
- Are you currently on an EHR system? If so, why are you switching?
- What do you expect the EHR and e-prescribing system to accomplish? (i.e. Meaningful Use, increase productivity, effective charting)
- Are you currently using an e-prescribing system? If so, how will that system interact with the new EHR system you install
- Do you have a practice management (PM) system? If so, how will that system interact with the new EHR system you install? Are you willing to replace your PM system for one that is fully integrated with the EHR that you select?
- Does the practice use any other information technology tools in their practice? i.e. appointment making online, lab test results retrieved online. How will that system interact with the new EHR you install?
- Do you want an EHR system that can interface with medical devices on a regular basis?
- What kind of bandwidth do you have? Do you need to upgrade?
- How much of each patient’s chart should be scanned and added (abstracted) into EHR system? What are the pros and cons to include the data and how can the EHR vendor help with that transition.
- Functionality and ease of use of EHR system
- Functionality and ease of reporting of EHR system
Selecting the Right EHR
Choosing the right certified EHR system is a key step in getting started down the path towards successful implementation and reaching meaningful use. Listed below are general considerations on selecting the right certified EHR system for a practice.
- Basic EHR Criteria
- ONC‐ATCB certification (six certifying bodies)
- HIPAA privacy and security compliant
- Meaningful use reporting
- Ability to generate county, state, and federal reports
- Support HL7 messaging standard
- Support Secure Sockets (SSL) digital certificate
- Audit trail capabilities
Step 1: Inception
- Assess your practice for readiness to adopt information technology
- Engage your leadership, identify key leaders and project management
- Identify your workflow and IT needs
- Identify any policy changes if necessary
Step 2: Decision
- Translate your needs to specific electronic health record functionality
- Explore EHR products (demonstrations)
- Identify ways that EHR software will make your office more efficient
- Determine which EHR system falls within your budget
Step 3: Implementation
- Prepare your providers, staff, and patients for your EHR implementation go-live
- Understand installation and configuration
- Train your staff
Step 4: Realization
- Re-examine your workflow for improved efficiencies
- Increate utilization of clinical decision support
- Software license fees
- Include all modules (ePrescribing, Lab and HIE interface, EDI)
- Hosting fee
- Implementation and training
- Hourly vs. fixed fee
- Templates customization cost
- Include software upgrades
- No charge for after hour upgrades
- Access to date schema
- Interfaces (device, lab, imaging, portal, HIE, PM)
- Third party software
- Claims processing
- Web portal
- Template customization
- Report customization
- Arrange milestone-based payments
- Decide on a start date that works best for your practice
- Mutually agree to a project plan
- 60‐90 days go‐live from signing the contract is a reasonable time frame
- Data must be human readable