At least 60 percent of physicians who participated in the 2013 Black Book Rankings Survey are dissatisfied enough to strongly consider replacing their current EHR systems. This shouldn’t be too surprising considering that the new ICD-10 coding system will put more demands on existing systems, requiring major upgrades in order to handle the increased code volume and related billing requirements.
Some of the more common reasons for EHR replacement:
- The existing EHR will not meet the latest federal requirements of ICD-10/MU Stage 2
- The practice failed to fully assess their needs before purchasing the original EHR system
- The vendor was unresponsive to needs and requests, especially pertaining to support and technical issues
- The current EHR system doesn’t interface adequately with other EHR systems.
- Other modules of the practice won’t integrate with their current EHR
- System setbacks and related issues disrupt workflow or cause other delays in payment
Breaking up is hard to do:
For many practices, after making the switch from paper to paperless, the prospect of additional expenses, training, downtime and loss of revenue until the staff
When is it time to say
You’d rather “switch than fight” – now what?
Practices which have learned from past mistakes and previous design and functionality shortcomings offer the following criteria that need to be considered when evaluating a potential new EHR system:
- First, know your practice’s needs by documenting workflow, recommends the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Scheduling, patient documentation, treatment and medication management, copayments, coding, billing
andclaims processing are just a few of the areas that may need improvement and which may create challenges for your present and future EHR.
- Dr. Gary Wietecha, a medical informatics
andsoftware development consultant, reports that most replacements or other changes in EHR fail because these key employees and end users aren’t included in the initial evaluation and subsequent implementation.
- George Ellis, MD recommends building up your cash reserves so you have less need of using lines of credit when revenues drop – which will happen during the first days or weeks of implementation.
- The system must be ICD-10-compliant as well as support MU Stage 2 reporting and attestation with an integrated single database solution, streamlining both workflow and reporting, allowing your practice to report and share clerical as well as administrative data. For example, if a patient’s lab report can simply interface with and be dropped into their chart without additional data entry, it speeds up the diagnostic process.
- In its role as a practice’s legal business record, AHIMA adds that your EHR needs to able to comply with professional practice and additional legal standards, including data recovery, authentication
- A patient portal allowing optimum interaction and use by patients for requesting prescription refills, appointments, or making bill payments directly without additional staff involvement is another must-have, adds Dr. Ellis.
Outsourcing: another approach
While making the decision whether to keep or replace, consider the advantages of partnering with an experienced medical billing services company such as M-Scribe, an industry leader since 2003. Call or email us today for a confidential analysis of your practice’s billing, coding