Healthcare News & Insights

3 mistakes organizations make when choosing EHR systems

A recent survey says many healthcare providers are looking for a replacement EHR system. These are the mistakes they made the first time around. 

A significant chunk of healthcare providers are unhappy with their current EHR system, according to a recent survey from Black Book Rankings. Among 17,000 healthcare organizations that are currently using EHRs, 17% said they are considering switching to a different system by the end of the year.

For providers that do make a switch, it could end up costing them a lot. When providers install EHR systems, it isn’t just the cost of the software they need to worry about. The implementation itself can have a number of added costs, including:

  • The staff time necessary to set up the systems (or payments to a vendor to do the installation)
  • Necessary hardware upgrades if a system has different infrastructure needs
  • Training for doctors, nurses and other staff members, and
  • Lost productivity as the organization get used to the new system.

And organizations often run into additional hidden costs they didn’t plan for, which may threaten to derail a project altogether.

Choosing an EHR: Problems to avoid

The bottom line: It’s always best to choose the right EHR system the first time. Or, if an organization is making a change it’s even more critical to make the right decision.

What problems should organizations work to avoid when shopping around for an EHR? These are some of the most common mistakes organizations make when choosing a system:

  • Not thoroughly determining the organizations’ needs beforehand — Among the healthcare providers that plan to change EHR systems, 80% said their current EHR doesn’t adequately meet the individual needs of their organization. One thing providers can do to avoid that is to make a complete list of all the features that are required before shopping around for vendors. Products that don’t meet the requirements can be easily eliminated.
  • Failing to choose a vendor with experience in the organization’s specialty — More than three quarters (77%) of the organizations looking for a new system said their current EHR is not suited for their provider’s specialty. One step organizations can take is to ask potential vendors for references from similar organizations.
  • Not getting input from clinicians and other employees — When organizations are dissatisfied with an EHR system, the problems often stem from the fact that they aren’t easy for doctors, nurses and others to use. When selecting a system it’s important to pay attention to ease of use — and to ask the people who will actually be using the software what they think.

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