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The goal is not implementation; the goal is not even successful attestation to Meaningful Use. The goal is more effective and safer care for patients, better workflow for staff, and better quality of life for physicians.
The number the EHR rep throws out at first may actually be about one-third of the true overall costs of implementation. In addition to the technology costs, there are other costs to consider, such as training the staff and reduced productivity for the first few weeks of implementation.
Successful implementation means opening up yourself and your staff to changing the way you do things at your practice.
You’ll need to have an honest assessment of your staff and providers’ computer literacy level, workflow issues, clinical needs, budget, and office layout before determining what software and hardware are right for your practice.
Don’t assume that your records are accurate. Test the features, and look for these issues when reviewing or auditing charts.
For instance, if you’re going to use the automatic form completion feature, make sure you have a way to add or override the text
So they reflect what you actually do when you treat patients. You also can avoid using some of the automated tools, such as the coding wizard.
Ask potential vendors about these issues and the ability to modify the EHR software as needed. Also ask vendors if they’ll be able to provide support, such as coming onsite to correct a software problem, should a compliance issue arise.
See it from a user perspective, not a vendor perspective. It’s better to see a practice similar in size and specialty using it in a patient encounter.
Before buying an EHR ask whether it is certified by one of the approved certifying agencies for Meaningful Use. Also, choose a vendor that is financially stable, committed to upgrading its product to meet Meaningful Use requirements, and will be around for years to come