Choosing an EHR system for your facility: 4 key considerations

Choosing an EHR system for your facility: 4 key considerations

As expenses rise and margins tighten, many life plan communities (CCRCs) and long-term and post-acute care (LTPAC) providers are upgrading their electronic health records (EHR) systems to help improve operational efficiencies. By optimizing workflows around resident care and streamlining certain tasks, today’s leading EHR systems are designed to help facilities adapt to today’s most pressing challenges.

But not all EHR systems are created equally, and the impact of making the wrong choice could be serious. With that in mind, here are four things that leaders of senior living communities, LTPAC and skilled nursing facilities should keep in mind when choosing an EHR system.

4 essential factors in choosing an EHR system

#1: A priority on customer support

Many times, implementing and maintaining a successful EHR system often requires the ongoing expertise and assistance of the company that created it. A consideration that’s too readily overlooked, reliable, around-the-clock customer service should always be a top priority when choosing an EHR system.

As someone who’s worked as a registered nurse in post-acute care, I have first-hand understanding of the value of quality customer service in getting the best use out of an EHR system. It’s also important for workers to know that there’s someone to reach out to for urgent or emergency situations, or to assist with certain facility-specific needs. And, realistically speaking, there’s almost always something that needs to be addressed — and usually urgently.

#2: Proper implementation processes

Proper implementation processes are the second thing to look for in an EHR provider. What does the process look like? Is it clearly defined? Is it the product of collaborative work between everyone involved? And are there enough resources and people — i.e., boots on the ground — available to ensure success during every stage of the process?

If a clear, sensible implementation strategy and timeline aren’t specified upfront, organizations should make sure to inquire about them so they clearly understand any associated costs. For instance, is there an extra fee to purchase and maintain the software? Is that fee fixed or variable, and precisely what does it include?

#3: Data integration and interoperability

Integration and interoperability within EHR systems is a key point of concern in healthcare today, and with good reason. By enabling a safe and easy exchange of data across the care continuum, interoperability empowers caregivers to provide better care with timelier access to key resident information. It also improves clinical workflows by helping to ensure that everything works smoothly together.

Interoperability also improves ease of use for clinicians and caregivers, who should enjoy intuitive and continuous access to the info they need to provide the best possible care. And because integration and interoperability are key to ensuring compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), it’s important for organizations to get a clear understanding of their EHR partner’s approach.

For instance, does the EHR system integrate seamlessly with other major tools and vendors? Does it provide real-time visibility into key processes? Does the provider help clients not only monitor and track data, but understand it in a way that helps drive efficiency, improve outcomes and promote resident satisfaction and retention? Do they provide regular reports to help track the key performance indicators (KPIs) that drive those improvements?

#4: An emphasis on engagement

Finally, does the prospective EHR provider encourage involvement and feedback from their customers? Have they established a customer advisory board to solicit that feedback and actively work to implement the requested improvements? In other words, how well do they engage with their clients and end users in a way that improves troubleshooting and anticipates future needs?

Ideally, an EHR provider will maintain a variety of customer advisory boards, including those specific to clinical to financial feedback, as well as a broader customer community. And even better, they’ll demonstrate a commitment to nurturing and improving those communities to help improve the quality of that feedback and ensure it’s put to the best possible use — i.e., best meeting the needs of their clients.

Need help choosing an EHR system for your facility?

From a carefully structured implementation strategy through advanced insights and analytics, MatrixCare offers everything your organization needs from an EHR system.

Request a demo today for a closer look at MatrixCare.

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Robert Moore

Robert Moore, RN, RAC-CT, DNS-CT is a Registered Nurse and the Director, of Strategy & Portfolio Management with MatrixCare LPC (Life Plan Communities). Rob started out in healthcare as a CNA in Post-Acute Care and has been a Registered Nurse for over 15 years. During his time in the nursing profession, he has held the following positions: Telemetry Unit Staff Nurse, Unit Manager, MDS Coordinator, Director of Nursing, Quality Assurance, Business Analysis, and Product Manager. Rob is very passionate about Post-Acute care and the nursing profession as a whole and is always looking for opportunities to serve this profession!

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