Choosing your EHR isn't an easy decision. Doing it once can be stressful and time-consuming, so coming to the realization that you need to switch EHRs may leave you feeling sick to your stomach. That's alright, though--you aren't alone! According to Healthcare IT News, as many as 23% of EHR users have considered changing systems. Chances are, if you've thought about switching your EHR system, there may be good reason to seriously consider it. If your EHR experience sounds like any of these descriptions, it may be time to take the leap and change for the better.
1. Bugs Don't Get Fixed
If you find yourself explaining to staff "Oh, that's just a glitch--work around it," then it may be time to jump ship. There's no reason for problems in your EHR to go unfixed for a long time. Don't put up with a company that refuses to fix system errors. Your customer service experience is a big part of this, too. If you'd rather work with a glitch than call the company's unhelpful customer service line, or if you feel customer service is rarely available, then it's time to consider making a change.
2. You're Nickel-and-Dimed
After implementation, your EHR still has costs and fees. Do those costs seem to change by the month? Is it hard to tell exactly what you're being billed for? Consider the monthly cost of your EHR, and whether you're getting the best bang for your buck. If your EHR cost seems to fluctuate for no reason, or if new features come with a heavy price tag, take a step back. Though costly at first, switching to a whole new EHR system may be the best financial choice in the long run.
3. It's Simply Inconvenient
Let's put it this way: an electronic health record should be more convenient than a paper one. However, if you'd rather flip through a physical patient file than navigate your EHR's interface, something is wrong. Training periods aside, your EHR should feel intuitive and accessible. If you constantly feel your EHR is an extra burden that doesn't increase productivity for your practice, it's time to reconsider. The benefits of using an EHR should be plentiful and obvious. When your EHR just feels like a hassle, it isn't doing its job.
4. Wrong System for Your Practice
This is the "it's not you, it's me" of EHR breakups. You can't force compatibility. Sometimes, no matter how much you alter your workflow, no matter how well you train your staff, an EHR just won't be right for your needs. That's ok! Before you begin courting other EHR vendors, sit down with your team and make a very clear list of your needs and wants. Go into the search process knowing exactly what your old EHR lacked, and formulate workflow-specific questions so your practice staff isn't surprised down the line. You can always learn from a situation like this, so embrace it, and find your EHR soulmate.
5. Updates? What Updates?
Yikes! Does using your EHR make you feel inexplicably nostalgic for Windows 95? Do even your patients joke about your records system's outdated interface or features? It's time to move on. To keep up with the rest of the health tech industry, your EHR should be updated frequently--and we don't just mean once a year. This goes hand-in-hand with your troubleshooting experience. If your EHR feels rooted firmly in the pre-Internet era or simply doesn't provide updates that help your practice grow, it may be time to say goodbye.
Yes, splitting up with your EHR can be hard to do--but working with unsatisfying tech, in the long run, is far worse. Protect your practice revenues, and your staff's peace of mind, by finally cutting ties and moving on. You'll be happy you did.
Have you broken up with an EHR? Tell us about the experience in the comments!