Key Considerations for Selecting the Right EHR for your Hospital
Most hospitals are adopting EHR systems in anticipation that it will improve quality of patient care and result in efficient practices. Adopting an EHR system is a major investment for hospitals that can pay large dividends in the long-run. But a wrong selection could prove to be disastrous for your hospital.
Today, there are so many EHR solutions in the market that deciding on an EHR to suit your requirements is a difficult choice. Selecting the right EHR system can help you in many ways like improved patient outcomes and saving of time and money for your practice, but how do you choose the right one?
This blog aims at recommending the factors that you must consider while selecting the best EHR solution for your hospital.
Key Factors to Consider
Understand your requirements
The first most important step is to identify your hospital’s clinical and financial goals and requirements – both current and future.
List down the essential requirements and nice-haves and discuss those out with the vendor. While doing this exercise, make sure to involve your hospital’s leadership and staff.
Assess your current practice by considering the following questions:
- What is the size of your organization?
- Are the various administrative processes and clinical workflows efficient and well documented?
- Does your hospital have specialty or multi-specialty departments?
- Is the hospital staff familiar with information technology?
- Are your financial operations outsourced or is it done in-house?
- Does your hospital have the required capital required to set up the EHR system?
After you have identified your requirements, conduct a test drive on the vendor’s solution. Try to include real-life use cases on the vendor’s EHR solution to test its versatility.
Understand the Vendor
In addition to evaluating the EHR solution, take time to study the vendor organization to know more about their staff and working culture because when you decide to purchase the solution, you also enter into a long-term partnership with the vendor organization for installation, maintenance, and upgrade of the solution. Check if the vendor has a presence globally or in a given region and if they can support your hospital 24x 7.
Take references of other hospitals that are using this vendor’s solutions and find out if they are satisfied with the vendor.
Understand the Product
Study the EHR system for its features and capabilities, some of which could be as follows:
Ease of use – Ensure that solution is easy to use and integrates well with other solutions in the stack. Also find out if the EHR solution offers privacy, security, and backup of data.
Certifications – Verify if the EHR system can successfully demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology and analyze the EHR solution for the required guidelines. Find out if the EHR can help meet Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) standards and if it is compliant with HIPAA for security standards
Integration capabilities –
- Does the EHR system integrate well with other solutions, such as Practice Management and other health-related interfaces, and Health Information Exchange?
- Do you require a Practice management module as well that takes care of billing and scheduling?
Deployment model– Does the data reside in the hospital (on-premises) or is it hosted remotely or on the cloud?
It is a good idea to create a detailed spreadsheet to track all the required EHR capabilities.
Consider the Start up Costs and Running Costs
Do a thorough study of the pricing, including software and hardware costs, ongoing support, training, upgrading, and maintenance. Also, consider costs associated with legal counsel for contract reviews. A detailed breakup of the costs that you can clarify with the vendor are:
- The costs associated with procuring hardware, such as servers, computers, laptops, printers, and scanners if the solution is not offered as a cloud-based solution
- The costs associated with EHR application, associated software and interfacing modules, and customizing workflows
- The costs for procuring licenses
Maintenance and upgrading
This could include costs for renewing licenses, software, and hardware upgrading charges.
Training and Support
The EHR you choose must be easy to use by all the staff in your hospital. It must require quick implementation and minimal training so as to get the entire staff up to speed with the new system. Clarify from your vendor the training requirements to ensure a smooth transition for your practice. Also find out the kind of support your staff will receive after implementation and if it is chargeable. Find out if the vendor will assist in scanning paper files and transferring electronic files to the EHR system.
Transitioning to an EHR system has many benefits, such as quicker access to patient records and improved decision-making, which will eventually result in better clinical outcomes, improved patient care, better safety, and cost-effectiveness. To realize the meaningful use of EHRs, it is important to do a thorough evaluation and select the right EHR for your hospital so as to minimize failures and disappointments.