You’ve been sent on a quest: Find a way to create a centralized digital database for all patient information.
The assignment sounds simple, but is it? There are so many software options that selecting the right electronic health record (EHR) system for your organization seems impossible.
Today, we will join you on your quest by guiding you through the process of how to select an EHR system that meets the specific needs of your healthcare organization.
How to Select an EHR System
1. Align Stakeholders
We recommend clearly defining your organizational goals so executives and everyone on your project team are on the same page. This ensures that your EHR software decision is based on your overarching organizational strategy.
It also ensures that department managers understand the benefits of the new system and allow their team members to dedicate several months to the EHR vendor selection process.
EHR Selection Case Study
A government entity selected an EHR system that integrated a variety of its functional areas, including Clinic Operations, Pharmacy Operations, Health Plan Administration, and more.
2. Determine Your IT Strategy
Understanding software deployment options (cloud-based, on-premise, etc.) is one of the most important parts of your IT strategy.
Other IT strategy decisions you need to make revolve around software customization and system integration. In terms of system integration, you must determine if you need a healthcare ERP system that connects all your operations or if you need an EHR system that integrates with your other systems.
3. Understand Your Organization’s Needs
Before selecting an EHR system, you must conduct requirements gathering workshops with employees across functional areas. In these workshops, ask questions such as:
- What are our pain points in our current record-keeping system?
- Do we require specific features, such as electronic prescribing or billing functionality?
- Which requirements are mandatory, and which are just “nice to have”?
- Which requirements are unique to our organization?
4. Improve Your Processes
During requirements gathering, you may have captured a significant amount of pain points. The next step is formally documenting them and making process improvements.
Whether you conduct business process reengineering or simply process improvement, be sure to document the impact of each process change. Will employees need to be re-skilled because their processes have been automated? Answering these questions will help you communicate with employees and reduce change resistance.
5. Determine a Data Management Strategy
While you won’t be migrating data until implementation, now is the time to start planning. A data migration strategy defines how you will move your data to the new system and cleanse it to resolve duplicate data and other quality issues.
6. Evaluate EHR System Features and Functionality
As you communicate with vendors and attend software demos, you will get a better idea of which vendors should be on your long list and short list.
In addition to meeting your unique business requirements, vendors should also be able to provide the following features:
- User-friendly interface: Look for a system with a modern and intuitive interface that can be easily customized to meet your needs.
- Interoperability: The ability to share patient data with other healthcare providers is essential for coordinated care.
- Security: Protecting patient data is critical, so look for a system with robust security features. It should comply with HIPAA regulations and use encryption and other security measures to protect patient data.
- Advanced reporting and analytics: The system should be able to help your organization identify trends, track performance, and make data-driven decisions.
7. Evaluate EHR Vendor Support
Look for a vendor that offers:
- Onboarding and implementation support: The vendor should have a team of experts to help you implement the system and ensure a smooth transition.
- Ongoing support: The vendor should offer ongoing support to help you troubleshoot any issues and ensure the system continues to meet your organization’s needs.
8. Understand EHR Implementation Costs
Factors to consider when evaluating the long-term costs of the system include:
- Upfront costs: This includes the cost of purchasing and implementing the system.
- Maintenance and support costs: This includes the ongoing costs of maintaining and supporting the system.
- Upgrade costs: This includes the cost of upgrading the system to new versions or adding new features.
In addition, you will need to consider the costs associated with enterprise systems in general. (Learn about ERP total cost of ownership.)
Remember, you can always negotiate software costs and contract terms, so keep that in mind when comparing statements of work.
The Right Software and the Right Consulting Team Can Help You Improve Patient Outcomes
Selecting the right technology is a significant step in improving healthcare delivery for your organization. With the right system in place, you can optimize patient care, reduce administrative burden, and streamline operations.
Now that you know how to select an EHR system, you can start building a project team and looking for a trusted partner that understands the unique challenges that healthcare organizations face. Contact our enterprise software consultants below to find out how your EHR selection might benefit from unbiased technology expertise.