Pain Point: Unhappy With Current EHR
by Leigh-Ann Renz, 1.20.16
Oh let me count the ways that you might be unhappy with your current EHR! Every practice is different - and so is every Electronic Health Records (EHR) system.
Striking the perfect balance between your needs and what a system delivers is incredibly challenging and requires a committed investment of research.
Here are some common reasons that you might be ready to break up with your current Practice Management Software:
Not Mental / Behavioral Health Specific
Meaningful Use (MU) flooded the mental health market, causing the EHR giants to turn to niche markets such as behavioral health for new business. This means that, while these systems may be powerful and have a solid general medicine platform, many weren't designed for mental health. They were patched together from another specialty to "work" in mental health.
MU also affected the quality of programs available. Unfortunately, some behavioral health practice management systems were designed simply to take advantage of the grant program and don't adequately address the pain points of the people actually using the product.
Thankfully, there are also a number of products built from the ground up specifically for mental & behavioral health, substance usage and psychiatry. If you're researching or shopping for EMR, be sure to ask if the system was originally designed for our industry - and if not, how they handle mental health-specific challenges like the Axes system (GAF/CGAF/WHODAS), authorization management, group & team notes, narrative format for notes versus check boxes, etc.
Poor Customer Service
Tools are only as powerful as your ability to use them effectively. A tool like a Practice Management System can accomplish amazing goals; it might be capable of helping you overcome powerful challenges - but only if you know how to use it to meet your needs.
Another common frustration of EHR users is poor customer service: they either weren't taught what the system they paid for is capable of - or they weren't trained on how to get the most out of it for their agency.
If you feel like your current system isn't fulfilling your needs:
1) schedule a meeting with your account manager: tell them what your specific challenges are and find out if the program can meet them. It's very possible that your EMR can perfectly resolve your pain points with additional training and/or troubleshooting.
2) Request role-specific training: for example, your agency might receive separate instruction for each department, such as front desk, clinician, prescriber, biller, administrator / compliance officer. This targeted deep dive into the software can help address specific pain points for each role and strengthen individual departments separately to work more efficiently as an integrated whole.
Unfortunately, all of these suggestions depend on a Customer Service Team responding to your requests adequately. Sometimes, you just can't get what was promised or expected from your system: if the vendor is unresponsive, unreliable or just MIA, there's sadly not much you can do except get out of your contract.
Holding Data Hostage
Another unfortunate reason providers stay with a legacy system they've outgrown is that they can't get their data out of the EHR! The daunting task of manually transferring all of the practice and patient records to a new system is simply too overwhelming to tackle; so they stay locked into software that no longer serves them.
If you're using a program you're considering leaving, find out what their exit plan is:
- Do they allow you take your electronic files with you, or is it a hassle?
- What format are the records provided in?
- Do you have to pay to retrieve your data?
- Ask for a sample batch of files so you can truly know what to expect upon contract termination.
As with the matters of Customer Service, there's not much you can do if you're locked into an EHR due to data hostage. You'll either eventually outgrow it to the point where manual data migration - and its correlating duplicate system usage - is worth the effort; or find a way to make the legacy system work.
Break-Up Plan First!
If you're comparing vendors, clarify their contract termination process:
- How long is the contract?
- Can you get out of it if they don't deliver what was promised in the sale?
- Do they make it difficult to leave?
- Ask for a sample batch of exported client termination files to see what your files will look like should you need to part ways.
You may not want to go into using Practice Management Software thinking about the exit strategy, but it can save you a lot of heartache down the road to clarify these terms before you commit.
"What I have appreciated most has been the stellar customer service I have received. We had some interesting billing goals, and the PIMSY Team has worked with us, diligently, to accomplish those. The ease of the PIMSY interface was a great benefit.
Set up was simple, and they were able to transfer data from the prior EHR, so we were able to really hit the ground running. Implementation has had it’s usual stressors, but was significantly easier than others I have worked on in the past." - Angela W., IT/Training
We're happy to show you how PIMSY can save time, reduce costs, and increase practice profitability.