No matter where you are in your digital health journey, it’s always good practice to evaluate your current client management system.
The constant changes in our industry mean your requirements are always evolving, that’s why it’s your responsibility to make sure your current system is capable of efficiently delivering what you need today, and in the future.
So, whether you’re in the market for a new EMR, or just having a look at what’s out there, here are 10 things to consider when evaluating your current EMR software.
The location of your software vendor matters. Having a provider with a head office and support team outside of Australia can cause issues in support resolution and cost of implementation. There’s nothing worse than trying to coordinate time zones just to rectify a support issue.
Make sure that even if they are an international brand, they have local support teams, local user groups, and are paying attention to the local market.
In the modern-day era, innovation gets thrown around quite regularly by tech companies.
So, how do you check who is actually being innovative and who is just updating their marketing message? A good place to start is by checking your providers product roadmap. Are there development plans in place? Are they taking on board customer feedback? If your provider isn’t paying attention to customers and delivering relevant innovation, they aren’t someone you want to be with in the long run.
You not only want your provider to be proactive in their innovation, but you need them to be reliable in delivering updates to meet compliance changes. It might be nice seeing the latest bright and shiny features on the roadmap, but it means little if they are not delivering their compliance changes on time. Are they supporting e-prescribing yet? How long did they take to transition to the new Medicare web service updates?
Companies who are proactive in innovation, reliable in implementing compliance updates, and invested in helping you manage risk are your best bet.
4. Data management
Data management is crucial for the modern-day health provider. Ensuring your data is not only captured consistently, but can also be extracted effectively is non-negotiable.
Start by checking how healthy your current data set is. Are your hours of service consistent across the board? Are there additional minimum data sets and funding models you could be reporting to? Leaving funding on the table is an opportunity cost you don’t want to have.
It’s time to talk about features. This is where most of the evaluation is done, and rightly so. Meeting the basic practice and clinical features is essential for keeping your clinicians and administrators happy, increasing staff productivity, and delivering high quality patient care. Look for solutions that tick off your major requirements and can be customised to your existing workflows. This is the combination for success.
6. Billing and claiming
Cash flow management might not seem overly important to your clinicians or administrators, but it’s very important to your finance team.
Having comprehensive billing, claiming and invoicing features that are easy to use is a must for not only keeping your clients happy, but for keeping the cash coming in the door. A consistent approach will not only save your staff valuable time, but your Chief Financial Officer (CFO) will love you for it!
Another important consideration, and the one most focused on by executive teams, is cost. When evaluating a solution, be sure to consider not only the ability of the solution to meet your requirements, but also the upfront and additional costs. Some solutions might have a low cost per license, but charge higher fees for implementation and data migration.
Development fees from vendors located overseas can also be significantly higher compared to local markets, particularly if Australia is not one of their “core markets” (and this is before the impact of exchange rates). Don’t get caught out paying too much (or too little) for your ideal solution.
8. User experience
How a client management system looks and feels determines its success through implementation. Your EMR system should have a contemporary feel, user friendly colours, fonts and layouts, and most of all, be customisable to suit your organisation. The more your organisation can do to configure your system, the more success you will have. Period.
As the value of data becomes more important, so too does the importance of interoperability.
Be sure to take into account your current vendors interoperability capabilities. Are they making a considered effort to move to the latest HL7 standards? Are they actively integrating with other systems? Or are they choosing to steer clear of interoperability?
Our healthcare system is becoming more connected every year, and having a clear visibility of patient records across your systems will help you and your clinicians make better clinical decisions. Make sure you choose an organisation that champions interoperability if you don’t want to be left behind.
10. Security, privacy, confidentiality
Security, privacy and confidentiality are essential requirements for any EMR. Does your system support password security or two factor authentication?
What does the audit trail look like, can it be accessed quickly? And are there any team-based roles and permissions currently setup?
These are basic features that are vital in ensuring patient information is kept confidential and your organisation is protected.