Questions to Ask Before Switching EHRs
Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems form the backbone of today’s healthcare clinics and practices. However, as some software providers move faster than others when it comes to accommodating rapidly evolving requirements, many providers find themselves with a tough decision to make.
If you’re considering switching EHR systems, the thought of the implementation and training process in and of itself could be a deterrent, but there are valid reasons to upgrade if your current solution isn’t fully meeting your needs. Here are the questions you should ask to make sure switching EHRs is the right move.
Are You Prepared for Change Management?
Without a doubt, switching EHR systems can be disruptive to your business. It impacts every layer of a practice, from the physician and providers to the back-of-the-office staff and even the patients. For this reason, it’s essential that you sit down with key stakeholders and have an honest conversation about your current capacity for change management.
Failure to properly consider the change management aspect of switching EHRs can put you in a tough position halfway through implementation or adoption. Without good change management, your practice could very well end up dealing with convoluted processes backed by team members who are frustrated and unable to find the information they need. Ultimately, it will result in hours spent on the phone with the software support team and hours spent pointing fingers at who is to blame for the stress. This is why it becomes incredibly important to select an EHR provider with great customer support and change management processes such as ClinicMind.
To ensure the switch goes as smoothly as possible, you need to consider everyone involved and your ability to direct and support them. This means asking:
- How flexible are my internal users when it comes to new technology?
- How much time and money do I have to train my staff?
- Does my selected EHR provider charge for training or support?
- How flexible are patients going to be with using a new portal?
Even if you’ve reached a breaking point with your current EHR system where you feel that you absolutely need to make a switch and everyone will just have to adapt, you can’t forego proper change management. You will either need to make time to handle it yourself or you will need to find a capable team to outsource this responsibility to. Either way, you need to make sure you have the budget to take it on before you pursue a new software.
Do You Have the Time to Redesign Workflows?
A new EHR software means a new EHR interface for your team and patients. No matter how intuitive that interface may be, the change means redesigning and relearning workflows that you may have had in place for years. Truly, the hardest part of EHR implementation comes down to reteaching those habits. Some EHR platforms may be able to accommodate your prior workflow better than others.
Medical offices tend to have very little time. The right EHR software can help reduce how long monotonous processes take, but you will need to get over the learning curve first. This means the first few weeks or months with an EHR software may be painful. After all, most EHRs come with their own workflows that you have to adapt to; very few EHRs offer custom workflows. ClinicMind offers custom workflows and supports you in developing these for your practice.
This means every time your team goes to check a patient in, upload a document, or review history, they’re going to look for a button that’s not where they expect it to be. To reduce the learning curve, someone on your team will need to determine the most efficient way to redesign existing workflows using the new software and train everyone accordingly.
Are Your Patients Ready for a New EHR System?
Patient adoption is just as important as internal adoption, but it’s often far more difficult to achieve since patients are often left on their own when trying to find their way around a new EHR or portal system. For this reason, prioritizing a software that offers an intuitive patient portal is critical.
If your patients are already using an online portal, making the switch to a new EHR system won’t be as disruptive to them, although there will still be a learning curve. On the other hand, if your patients are currently accustomed to coming into the office and filling out paperwork, a new EHR system can lead to new challenges especially if your patients have a hard time with technology.
With a new EHR system that collects a patient’s email address and sends them forms to fill in advance of their visit, the assumption is that everyone saves time. Your team gets the information they need before the appointment and your patient doesn’t have to come in early for paperwork. However, patients might face a myriad of challenges when filling paperwork out online.
Unlike in the office where they can get up and ask your team for help, filling paperwork out at home means they will need to call in and ask for clarification, which is a barrier in itself. Additionally, using an online portal means that certain questions can be left up to interpretation, causing you to collect inaccurate or incomplete information. This is something your team will eventually discover and have to correct, which can be time-consuming itself.
Lastly, some patients may just be reluctant to upload all of their medical information online. They may leave forms incomplete or opt for paper forms, which won’t save your team time. For these patients, you’ll need to campaign to convince them of the security and convenience that comes along with using your EHR portal, which requires additional resources.
Can the Software Handle Complex Intake Forms?
It’s almost guaranteed that some confusion will always arise in the patient portal when asking a patient to fill out their information online. However, this is a place where your EHR software must excel. You’ll find that some EHR software developers have taken far more time designing patient intake forms to accommodate complex histories and questions.
Taking the time to study your patient intake forms as they are now and making notes on how they can be improved is important in choosing the right EHR software. Once you have that information, before you think about switching to a new EHR, you need to thoroughly review the capabilities that allow you to ask patients questions and collect information.
If the patient intake form is confusing, clunky, slow, or simply unclear, it will only produce excess work for your patients and team. You absolutely need to find an EHR software capable of handling complex questions and answers or else your EHR software will fall short no matter how good all of the other features are.
Are You Ready for the Migration Process?
When migrating from one EHR software to another, another time-consuming factor that must be considered is the migration process. Typically, the most challenging part of migrating EHR systems is that your data must be transformed to match the format of the new system.
If this migration process is not handled with care, vital information can end up lost in the shuffle. However, manual migration is time-consuming. Usually, you’ll end up using the software’s built-in migration tools that will allow you to upload files, but you still need to manually confirm that the information is being moved over the way you would like it to be.
Finding the Right EHR Software
With all of these aspects in mind, how do you find the right EHR software and confirm that it’s able to meet all your requirements? It starts with choosing a software backed by a team of industry experts who understand the shortcomings of other systems.
ClinicMind can accommodate complex patient intake forms and custom workflows, all while minimizing the clicks it takes to complete every task. Practices that choose ClinicMind also get robust training and support to ensure the migration and adoption process goes as smoothly as possible. With a real person to call up and ask questions, your team won’t have to spend hours sifting through documentation to figure out simple processes.
Additionally, ClinicMind has a focus group that meets regularly to discuss new improvements and features for the software. As a result, ClinicMind is able to stay ahead of other solutions, which means you won’t have to think about switching in the future in order to unlock the next generation of capabilities.
Interested in learning more about ClinicMind? Reach out to our team to learn more.