Technologies such as tablets and mobile devices and their “apps” have changed the face of healthcare delivery as much as they have elsewhere in our daily lives. However, according to data from recent surveys, too many medical practices are giving the thumbs-down sign to their EHR and other technologies. In most cases, the dissatisfaction could have been prevented by taking the time to set up an integration plan, bring experts on board and follow through on their IT and vendor’s advice.
Here are few tips for deciding if proposed technologies stand up to scrutiny and projected return on investment (ROI):
- Preparation and advanced planning
Having a strategy in place, with input from stakeholders and staffers alike, helps move the planning process forward. While a smaller practice may lack the financial resources of larger organizations, it usually has the flexibility to move more quickly in developing an integrated strategy. Without a plan, IT can be disruptive to workflow if practice goals are focused too much on the technology itself rather than its intended use, resulting in practices losing IT’s potential benefits.
- Consider the practice’s specialty and direction
Determine the technological direction the practice needs to go: Darin McCue of Phoenix Systems (a dental technological support company in Washington, D.C.) believes that all types of practices need to determine the specific intent of the proposed technology, such as improving practice efficiency, managing prescriptions, as well as assure patients that the practice is current with the latest technological improvements
- Know the difference between “need vs. wish list”
The question to ask is “Does it add value to the practice?” Be aware of latest technological trends but don’t “chase shiny objects” – only pursue those that will add value to your practice. A technology such as tele-medicine may seem intriguing but is not considered a critical investment unless the practice intendeds to use it to mitigate physician shortages in a rural, under-served area, making it a strategic choice.
- The practice’s budget and projected ROI
Smaller practices have to be more realistic in their expectations and choices of technologies as they have to do more with less than those of larger organizations. It may be tempting to sign up for the latest complex gadgetry and software but practices should avoid running up expenses that will cost more than their anticipated contribution to profitability.
Suggested annual percentage of revenue for allocation for technological implementation is around five to six percent, with return on investment (ROI) calculated as follows:
Additional revenues generated minus technology integration costs divided by the annual cost of equipment and its implementation equals the expected return on investment (ROI).
- Get expert advice and staff input
Involve experts in the planning process such as your CPA, IT advisor and systems/ tech vendor as well as bringing on board administrators and other staffers who will use it. Having someone at the initial planning with broader technical knowledge can provide solutions to questions and issues that many practices are unaware exist. Asking practice administrators and other staff for input will help a practice more clearly define its needs, as well as address any concerns about training and updates.
- Complement a practice’s new or existing technology with that of a medical billing service
Regardless of your technological choices, there remain many billing-related tasks that demand your practice’s staffing time and resources. Because M-Scribe’s technologies are compatible with most EHR systems in use, eliminating communication snags between incompatible billing systems, they are a logical choice in complementing technological implementation. Contact M-Scribe for a free assessment of your practice’s needs and revenue goals at 1-888-727-4234 or by email to learn how to maximize EHR and related technologies.