5 EHR Best Practices
Given these challenges, we need to assert a better team-based approach that’s supported by an arsenal of smarter, more effective technology. Does your existing EHR suffice? Here are five best practices to consider when evaluating your existing EHR through the lens of VBC.
1. Ask questions
One of the best ways to begin the technology evaluation process is to simply ask physicians in the practice about their experiences. Are there a lot of EHR-specific complaints? Does the organization’s existing technology solution help the practice streamline workflow, or are providers left wanting more? Answers to these questions can help a practice determine whether it needs to update or revamp its technology solutions.
2. Work with clinical partners
Sometimes it isn’t the EHR that’s slowing down physician workflow at your practice. Case in point: When care partners in a collaborative network aren’t all using interoperable EHRs, coordinating care becomes more time-consuming: Physicians have to make calls to request information, wade through documents or seek answers by querying outside sources.
As your practice enters into collaborative partnerships, ask about the technology your clinical partners are using so you can plan communications accordingly. If your practice knows, say, that a behavioral health provider group still uses fax machines to communicate, it can discuss alternative strategies for streamlining information.
3. Leverage a VBC point person
Keeping up with healthcare regulations, especially in the migration toward value-based care, is overwhelming. A physician champion or administrative leader who understands regulatory trends and/or can track productivity and performance for initiatives such as Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) can ease stress. Small or solo practices may want to explore outsourcing these roles to a third party.
4. Seek support
A technology solution is only as good as its vendor support team. Practices need a vendor that understands their unique needs as they navigate quality initiatives, MIPS reporting requirements and patient care trends. A vendor should not only understand how regulations impact collaborative workflows but also offer guidance on how providers can reach their clinical and financial goals.
5. Do your due diligence
When researching a new EHR system, compare features and functionalities. Ask the vendor for customer references and follow up with them: What has their experience been with the EHR? Was it better or worse than previous technology systems?
Take ownership of the process by involving all stakeholders in reviewing the EHR. And finally, ask that your vendor comes to your office for a “discovery” visit to demonstrate the EHR to your practice. Even if this requires a fee, it is better to experience a new technology system and make sure it supports VBC before investing in it.
Technology that improves efficiencies and streamlines productivity is critical for the next phase of VBC. As practices work more closely with other care partners, they need to ensure that their EHRs and other communication technology solutions are supporting — not detracting from — the care they provide to patients. Only then can they experience meaningful outcomes and advance the industry.
Charlie Hutchinson is the CFO of InSync Healthcare.