Are EHRs Falling Short in Mad-Dash Toward Health IT?

ID 10032969Having a reliable EHR solution in place is already important, and in the coming years it will become critical for every organization involved in the healthcare business.  But what constitutes a good Electronic Health Record system is still a hotly debated issue.

Many practices, hospitals, clinics, etc. tend to drag their feet on making the change to a fully integrated EHR system and the reasons they do so are usually twofold: the first is a perceived impediment due to the costs inherent in making the upgrade; the second reason is a reticence to commit to a given technology when it could easily be supplanted by other systems in a short period of time. The perception, and not an entirely inaccurate one, in much of the healthcare community is that today's EHR solutions may not be the same as tomorrow's.

But there is of course a bigger issue than just internal resistance to new system: Using an outdated system may cause interoperability issues between your practice and other parties, which can lead not only to poor communication and partnership (and additionally to lost revenue) but also to violations of established meaningful use requirements. If you don't adapt and develop, you may find yourself both outpaced and eventually out of the business.

So what is the management/operations department of a given healthcare provider to do?

The fact is that every day your practice uses outdated systems, you are not only making more work for yourselves, potentially providing less quality of care to your patients, and likely costing your practice money.

EHR solutions are an investment that will yield a return when implemented carefully, and the best steps to take are to implement a system that is adaptable and scalable.

What does that mean, exactly?

You need to adopt a system that is not only right for your practice today, but one that could easily handle ten times the volume of accounting data, patient records, communication tracking, etc. EHRS need to be able to grow and absorb modification as your practice expands. Never pick a system that works perfectly for the here and now without looking down the road.

And the best way to consider who you turn to for your EHR solutions with that "looking down the road" mentality is to take a look at your potential provider's past, as well as to listen to what they promise for the future.