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The who, what, when, and how of evaluating EHRs in home health and hospice

Evaluating and deciding on an electronic health record (EHR) is critical for any home health or hospice agency. In this blog, we explore the who, what, when, and how.

The who

The first “who” is who are the influencers in your organization representing the proper influence of this type of decision? Too many people can create over-analyzation, while not enough can be perceived as a mandate.

One of the most significant correlations to a successful rollout is the executive “buy-in” and support of this decision to switch from one vendor partner to another. This can be an emotional time and key executives can positively influence the excitement level of their staff.

Driving the clinical influence is typically a director of nursing, chief medical officer and the end user who is documenting at the point of care. Gaining a perspective of multiple disciplines such as nursing, therapy, social work, aides, etc. can give you a holistic perspective. Ultimately, combining ease of use with compliance to drive better outcomes is key, and in addition to this, strong clinical EHRs can be used as a recruiting tool to protect your biggest asset: your clinicians.

From an operations standpoint, it can be an executive director, administrator, VP of operations, or a COO — anyone who’s responsible for the day-to-day operations, working closely with the CEO or CFO in terms of efficiencies, strategic planning, and business development.

The financial influence typically comes from a controller or CFO who determines what’s impacting the bottom line and everything revenue related.

Technical influence comes from a CIO or IT director, who must consider the shift from one platform to another and how that can be supported moving forward from a field and office perspective.

Keep in mind that not every role should have equal weight of influence. Maybe your organization is clinically focused, where the clinicians will be driving the decision and supported by others. The level of influence on “the who” should be directly linked to what’s driving that decision.

The next “who” is who are the potential vendor partners to consider that align with your business goals, objectives, culture, and desired partnership?

The what

What are the business goals or objectives that your organization is looking to accomplish and what are the barriers to achieving those goals with the current system that’s in place today? This is based on your current workflow and challenges that can be improved by efficiencies, growth, patient outcomes, and regulatory compliance. Determining software requirements and key functionality is the first step in identifying your return on investment (ROI) and key metrics of focus. Many times, the right vendor partner can assist with this practice.

Another “what” to consider is the type of partner you seek to engage. It might be enough that you’re looking to be a satisfied user versus a strategic partner and engaging deeply in a vendor relationship.

The when

The when is driven by a compelling event or anything that is driving your agency to the point of a negative impact of status quo.

Other drivers could be loss of staff, productivity, and referrals. By looking at downward trends that are not sustainable for you — not only to be competitive, but to stay your path — agencies can consider whether it’s more painful to stay on the current system or to make a move.

The how

How are the people involved going to influence this EHR decision and how will you create an evaluation process? Determine what you like and dislike about your current system and how that would compare to your potential vendors or partners. Go deep into a discovery, engage with potential partners, and make sure they understand your challenges and goals. This will help you find vendors that can customize their approach specific to your needs versus throwing a generic presentation together.

Remember, the cheapest solution does not equate to the best solution — the best investment is the largest ROI. In addition, speak to potential references and customers who have shared your similar pain points. What’s worked, what hasn’t worked, and what were some of the barriers? Getting answers to these questions can help you set expectations as you go into this evaluation and potential implementation.

Evaluating EHRs is no easy feat for home health and hospice agencies. Bringing the right people to be a part of that process — with a positive attitude — is a critical part of success. Request a demo today to learn how MatrixCare checks all your EHR boxes and simplifies the implementation process.

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Craig Levy

Craig Levy, Vice President of Sales, Home & Hospice Solutions at MatrixCare (formerly Brightree), has over 20 years of post-acute technology sales experience. He has held positions as VP of Enterprise Sales, VP of Sales, and other leadership roles as a sales executive. Craig’s experience includes EHR/EMR, Telehealth/Remote Patient Monitoring, and care transition solutions. He has a strong passion for home health & hospice along with servicing our customers to improve the outcomes of their patients. He is a graduate of the University of Georgia and currently resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife Hillary, two daughters, and two dogs.

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