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Should your practice keep or replace your EHR…Again?

November 19, 2015

Replacing Old EHRAt 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 are up to speed are daunting enough to make many practices think twice before taking the leap. However, there comes a time when patches and updates can no longer do the job correctly: codes are missed, claims delayed and everyone knows that the whole system is hopelessly outdated.

EHR Based PQRS Reporting Options

When is it time to say good-bye to your existing system? According to Ron Sterling, President of Sterling Solutions and author of Keys to EMR/EHR Success, that time is “when you have reached the point where it’s more painful to stay with your current EHR than to go through the process of replacing it.”

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 and claims 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 and software 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.

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 and other documentation compliance needs.


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