Choosing a cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) system offers many benefits. These include increased accessibility to your data from any location, reduced internal technology requirements, and not needing a large amount of office space to store your important information.
That said, not all service providers are the same. What can you do to find the right one for your chiropractic practice? Here are four fundamental areas to consider before selecting your cloud-based EHR provider.
Technology can change dramatically and quickly. If your cloud EHR doesn’t keep up with these changes, it’s akin to sitting in front of a 25-year-old computer and expecting it to work flawlessly. It isn’t going to happen.
One of the first things to look for in the realm of EHR cloud technology is server response time. This is the amount of time it takes for the cloud server to begin sending information requested by the user. Research indicates that this is “one of the main barriers” when implementing an effective electronic records management system. A response under .25 seconds is best and means less time spent waiting for the data you want.
It’s also beneficial to choose a cloud EHR that utilizes a .Net Core development platform over a .Net. Why? A .Net is now obsolete technology and scheduled to lose Microsoft support in the next 5 years. .Net Core was released in 2016 and will be a central platform for web development for many years. Additionally, .Net only works with Microsoft operating systems, whereas .Net Core is compatible with Mac OS and Linux.
Another technological consideration is whether the EHR is optimized for both tablet and desktop views, offering a responsive layout for each. This benefit provides quick and easy access to all of your data, no matter what type of electronic devices you choose for your practice.
2. User Experience
What would happen if each time you got into your car, you had to wait 20 or 30 seconds before starting it and driving away? It’s likely that, over time, your frustration would increase, and you’d start to feel stressed just thinking about leaving the house. If you don’t choose a cloud EHR that provides a responsive user experience, you risk feeling the same way throughout your workday.
That’s why it’s essential to choose an EHR that offers fast data input and output. A cloud EHR that uses interactive graphics to input data is the most efficient way to manage patient records. When optimized for touch screens on tablets, this Graphic User Interface (GUI) makes patient charting quick and easy.
Check out the EHR’s layout as well. If the chart sections are in tabs, for instance, you’ll have less confusion trying to navigate through multiple pages to find the one or two pieces of information you seek. Tablature designs also reduce click-through rates, which contribute to slower workflows.
All cloud-based EHR are classified as SaaS (software as a service) products. So, would you rather have a 5-star service that makes you feel valued while also making your life easier or are you okay with a 3-star service that is kind of okay (most of the time) but often leaves you shaking your head in disbelief and frustration?
Of course, the former is better, but what does this high level of service entail? The first thing to look for is the ability to migrate data from your current record-keeping system fully. This factor alone can save you and your staff a tremendous amount of time. It also reduces your downtime during the transition.
Also, a high-quality cloud EHR offers records that are readable and searchable. The latter not only makes it easier to find data within a specific patient’s chart, but it’s also helpful when creating officewide reports. These reports can be used if you are ever audited, which is a major area of concern as the Office of Attorney General indicates that chiropractic has historically had the highest improper Medicare Part B payment rates, resulting in the payment of $76 million in questionable costs.
Ideally, the service should offer a free trial, giving you at least 30 days to decide whether it’s the right cloud EHR for you. As complicated as EHR’s are, one-on-one support is essential. You need a person, not a manual when asking any questions you may have as they arise, allowing for a more seamless transition.
Though this fundamental is listed last, let’s face it, if you can’t afford the EHR service, it doesn’t matter how good it is. It isn’t a viable option.
Yet, the cost is one of the benefits of choosing a cloud-based EHR that offers the ability to pick a package based on your practice size. This helps you keep your costs low when first starting out, yet also gives you access to volume discounts as you grow. For example, a product that offers packages that are suitable for one doc and those that best for multiple providers is a substantial financial benefit.
Finally, look out for EHR’s that nickel and dime you for every essential feature or function. More often, these extra costs add up to a monthly fee much higher than you would have expected. This pricing method is similar to a bait and switch tactic where you see a low price first but later realize it’s useless unless paying for the extra add-on costs.
When considering costs, look for a cloud EHR that offers setup at no extra charge and provides additional support plan options. This enables you to keep your expenses as low as possible while still meeting your offices’ record-based wants and needs. It’s the technological equivalent of having your cake and eating it too.