Four Wish List Items for EHR Vendors in 2016

December 16, 2015

More physician-friendly, easier access to actionable data, and access to real-time claims adjudication are at the top of the EHR wish list in 2016.

As the year draws to close, it’s a great time for physician practices to consider what they want from their EHR vendors in the year ahead.

We tapped Dan O’Connor, vice president of client relations at Stoltenberg Consulting, and Derek Kosiorek, principal consultant with the Medical Group Management Association’s Healthcare Consulting Group, to come up with a wish list of items small- and medium-sized physician practices will be clamoring for in 2016.

Here are their top four wish list items for EHR vendors:

1. Help physicians get more productive with the EHR. O’Connor said that small- and medium-sized physician practices will be leaning on EHR vendors to teach them how to use the EHR effectively and still get paid. “For providers in the private practice setting, time is money, so being able to use the system effectively and still see the same number of patients is difficult and stressful,” he said.

Providers want to spend more time with patients, but that goal seems to get tougher and tougher to achieve, said O’Connor. “This is a definite stressor and causes a lot of dissatisfaction with providers and EHR vendors.”

2. Provide access to patients’ trending lab results. Most lab results illustrate the result, along with how it compares to the low and high range, said Kosiorek. He says EHR vendors can do better.

“Giving a patient a single number for a lab result is fine, but why not give them a line graph report that shows how the results of that finding have changed over the past five years it was taken?” Think about it, he said: If someone’s LDL is 140, a doctor may be concerned. But if a report shows that 140 is the lowest it has been in five years, you’d say that patient is on the right track.

3. Make it easier to get actionable data out of the EHR. Everyone in healthcare is talking about analytics, but EHR vendors want physician practices to buy add-ons and packages to get the data in a format where they can use it effectively, said O’Connor.

One provider O’Connor works with tells him, “I don’t need to pay extra for the keys to start my car, so why should I have to pay someone to use the information I spent all this time entering into my new system?”

Another complaint from physicians: “Providers are required to use EHRs, but the vendors are not under the same pressure to perform and keep their software current as the providers are to comply with the new regulations. We, on the other hand, can’t just miss dates. If we do, there are penalties.”    

4. Provide access to real-time claims adjudication. Kosiorek said the EHR needs to provide a better link to the insurance company that lets the front desk know how much money to collect from the patient while they’re at the physician’s office.