Escaping the lure of the big-name EHR

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Why it pays to choose an EHR that puts physician practices first.

As practice owner and leader you wear many hats. Practice owners are rarely able to simply perform their talent and clock out. They must also take on many administrative tasks, such as scheduling and billing, outsourcing help only when needed.

This is true, especially of independent medical practices.

That’s why the best technology solutions for independent medical practices are tailored to their needs for efficiency and productivity, by effectively streamlining documentation, ensuring regulatory compliance and improving patient engagement. As such, the best technology solutions for practices are made by vendors that understand how their needs can differ from those of a large hospital.

Yet still independent practices find themselves seduced by big-name EHRs designed by large health IT vendors, like hospitals, even when these vendors’ primary market demographic isn’t primary or ambulatory care. It might seem logical the best way to run a practice in is to use a big-name EHR. Many physician practices feel the pressure of healthcare’s shift toward value-based care and believe that migrating to an EHR with backed by hundreds of testimonials from hospital CIOs, will ensure your ongoing needs are met. Are you a hospital?
To make a meaningful impact, practices must seek technology that supports their most vital operations so medical professionals can put their best talents to work. Even more important, medical practices need personalized support from a vendor that is accessible, not elusive. A vendor whose executive team should welcome physician input into the product roadmap and are aligned with the success of the independent practice.

The ideal long-term partner is a vendor that sees a practice as a partner, rather than a noisy needy annoyance.

So what’s a physician to do when blinded by the seductive promise of big-name EHRs? In a nutshell, slow down — and take the time to find the perfect fit.

During the evaluation period of various EHR systems, the guiding point for any technology purchasing decision should be based on the principle that physicians want to spend time with their patients, not with their faces in front of a screen working through EHR documentation.

An EHR’s features are a great starting point: Are they intuitive with templates that are easy to navigate, and can save a physician time during a patient encounter? Or, are there several superfluous screens and prompts that require attention before a physician can move to the screen he/she needs to document patient care? For a specialty medical practice, such as behavioral health, templates should already be configured to their discipline. Primary-care physicians, meanwhile, would benefit from pre-configured templates for common illnesses or diseases so the physician — and the rest of the staff — save significant time throughout the day.

EHRs backed by a vendor that prioritizes medical practices, by offering a high level of personalized support and tools tailored to your practice workflows, are the way to go. If you’re still in doubt, as yourself this: What access will our practice have to the those making the strategic decisions of the product? The answer to this question is all you need to know.

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