Facilitating EHR Adoption

October 16, 2014

If your practice is still dragging its feet when it comes to EHR, consider hiring an expert to help with selection and implementation.

Has your practice adopted an EHR system? Changing over to the world of EHR is an inevitable part of your future; especially since Medicare financial penalties for eligible non-adopters will begin in February 2015. It is time to stop toting around paper charts, hand scribbling on paper superbills, and writing barely legible (you know they are) prescriptions.

Some of the most common excuses I hear from clients are:

• It costs too much. Bottom line here is that you can't afford not to comply. If you are this late to the game, you are already missing out on Medicare and Medicaid incentives. If you wait too much longer, your Medicare reimbursements will be reduced by 1 percent beginning in 2015, increasing in increments to a maximum of 5 percent. It is fiscally irresponsible to wait even longer. There are solutions on the market that will actually save you money.

• I am technologically illiterate. There are systems available for all levels of users, some as simple to use as the remote control to your television. Even if you consider yourself among the technologically illiterate, there is a system out there that is right for you.

• Implementation will be a nightmare. Yes it will. Depending on the EHR system you select, there can be varying degrees of implementation difficulties. I have found that the key for my clients is ultra-organized and systematic training, including real patient interaction training and gradually increased workload. If there isn't someone on your staff that has a gift for this sort of thing, it is best to seek help in that area and avoid headaches down the road.

The easiest way to make sure that these excuses are covered is to hire someone to help; it is not as expensive as you might think. In fact oftentimes experts work with certain companies repeatedly and may be able to help you score a better deal than you could on your own.

Here are some aspects to consider when seeking an expert to help you:

• Look for an expert who offers a single point of contact. You want your practice team members to meet with a single person, a single time, and give him your list of wants, needs, concerns, and special considerations (including budget and hardware). This is essential to prevent miscommunication and wasted time. A single point of contact prevents your staff from being tied up with multiple vendors, who will likely call on you repeatedly.

• Select an expert who will conduct an extensive product review. Ensure that your expert will sort through at least the top-50 EHR companies for your specialty and determine a concise list (three to five) that serves your needs and specialty most appropriately. This systematic approach should include taking care of all of the preliminary software demos and offering a comparison list for your review, and selecting the companies you would like to take a more in-depth look at.

• Choose an expert who is well-versed in negotiation. Ensure your expert is also comfortable in negotiating pricing, warranty, and tech support, and arranging implementation. For example, utilizing an expert meant my client avoided paying a $1,500 provider implementation fee.