Three Signs Your ENT Practice Is Ready For An EHR Switch

dr_EHR / February 4, 2016

For ENT practices that have an electronic health record (EHR), they often become used to that system. However, as time goes on, government rules and technology change. Has you EHR kept up? If not, it may turn out that familiarity is trumping functionality. If you recognize any of these three signs taking place in your ENT practice, it may be time for a change.

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Compromised Compliance

Recently, the Affordable Care Act and associated legislation introduced regulations to which all electronic health records systems must adhere. Updating your compliance requires not only meeting federal standards, but also to meeting patients’ needs as patients using Medicaid or Medicare.

Unfortunately, the “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” mentality is rarely a wise byline in the medical field and particularly in the case of records systems, where an oversight now can compound into disaster down the line. If your EHR was implemented a decade ago, it’s definitely time for a thorough and insightful review of what your EHR can do and whether it passes the compliance test. Healthcare offices will benefit greatly from the increased ease of providing patient satisfaction as well as peace of mind from the knowledge that their EHR system is fully compatible.

Service Slip-ups

A sure sign that your otolaryngology practice needs an EHR switch is slow to nonexistent vendor service. Waiting weeks for service or maintenance and consistently experiencing issues that your vendor’s techs seem to have little or no experience with reduces the productivity of the entire practice. Like all complex systems, an EHR is more of a process than a finite install-and-go application; even if we were to advance to the point of enabling a fully automated system, it probably wouldn’t be practical to do so. As such, periodic maintenance is a fact of life. That means a high quality level of service is something you shouldn’t go without — for clinicians’ and patients’ sake. Increasing the availability of service will incite a parallel rise in the capability of office staff as well.

Mismatched Management Levels

Take a moment to consider what category your practice falls into. What’s your practice identity — hospital, subset of a hospital, urgent clinic or small family practice? Your electronic health records system should fit this identity. If your EHR is too technologically advanced for your purposes, requiring excessive training and upkeep or, conversely, not advanced enough for your expectations of automation, it’s time to switch.

Don’t be swayed by a sales team into choosing an EHR that is the polar opposite of your practice’s “personality”; after all, salespersons are just doing their job and will do what it takes to close the sale whether or not they know the ins and outs of your ENT practice. The responsibility of knowledge rests on your shoulders, so take the time to review the current EHR system with your staff and compare it to your expectations.

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