Whether you’ve been with the same vendor since the beginning of your EHR journey or your practice has been through a few implementations, it’s important to consider if your current EHR is meeting your needs or not.
CMS is constantly issuing updates, which is why your EHR has to be nimble, said Andrew Bronstein, an orthopedic hand surgeon in Las Vegas. With a cloud-based system, he can log in and have access to the latest software updates as soon as they’re available. His advice? If your EHR isn’t cloud-based, you might want to consider shopping around for a new system.
Here are four more reasons you might want to consider leaving your current EHR vendor:
If your billing system and your EHR — essentially, the lifeblood of your practice — aren’t integrated, then ditch your current EHR vendor, said Derek Kosiorek, principal consultant with the Medical Group Management Association’s Healthcare Consulting Group. “You want as few vendors and interfaces as you can, it just makes it easier.”
What matters is where the data is housed, said Kosiorek. If you have the same vendor for your billing system and EHR, chances are that all of your patients’ information will be stored in one database. This makes the information easy to find and work with. If you’re working with interfaces, you have to get data from one database into another.
What you want is a single point of failure, a single vendor to talk to, said Kosiorek. If you have multiple vendors, each vendor is going to blame the other.
Poor support experience
If your EHR vendor doesn’t provide robust support, you should consider shopping around, according to Bronstein. “There are certain times when you need to get someone from support on the phone,” he said.
This is particularly relevant when a problem with the EHR is having an impact on how you’re charting or coding. “That can have an economic impact on your practice,” he said.
Vendor acquired by another company
Then, of course, there are market dynamics to consider and health IT is hot. Kosiorek said he hadn’t heard of any EHR vendor that’s been acquired whose EHR was properly supported or maintained over the long term.
“Smaller vendors are just ripe for a buyout,” he said. Acquiring companies aren’t looking at a five-year plan for your EHR. In all likelihood, they’re looking to increase their market share and then move physician practices to their platform, he said.
Inflexible EHR and uncooperative vendor
Jeff Hawley, principal at Impact Advisors, concedes that most physicians complain about productivity issues as a result of having to use an EHR. Still, if your vendor isn’t willing to work with you and help meet your practice’s need for a more flexible system, it’s probably a good reason to consider talking to other vendors.