Choosing the Right EHR System

There are many challenges that keep physicians awake at night, and one of the most current is tackling the emerging world of electronic health records (EHRs). Financial incentives coupled with the rapid acceptance of communication technology have made this conversion essential. For healthcare providers, a key question persists: can EHR adoption be done in a way that achieves fiscal sense and administrative ease? Despite the inherent complexities that are involved with this undertaking, the answer, fortunately, is yes, but it takes proper planning, focused execution, and patience. Getting Started To start, physicians need to find an EHR system at a price point that is acceptable. Until now, that hasn’t been easy as few “single-shingle” doctors were enthusiastic to pay the costs associated with these systems. However, considerable progress has been made, and there are now products on the market that are quite affordable both in initial cost and ongoing commitment. When choosing a system, it’s essential to remember that not all physicians who convert to EHRs will receive the stimulus dollars set forth in the 2009 economic stimulus package. Only those providers who use EHR technology that has been certified to allow providers to achieve “meaningful use” will be eligible for these financial rewards. The term “meaningful use” is categorized as technology that improves care coordination, reduces healthcare disparities, engages patients and their families, improves population and public health, and ensures adequate privacy and security. In other words, providers must choose wisely when selecting their EHR systems. Gaining Support Having the correct EHR system in place is a good place to start, but providers also need to obtain the...