D'Arcy Gue

Ask the Expert | Should My Hospital Switch EHRs?

September 2, 2018

Meaningful Use / MIPS 3 Minute Read

Recently, much has been made of the dissatisfaction hospitals and providers are expressing with their current EHRs and vendors. Many hospitals are actively discussing the possibility of changing their EHR. This decision is not one to be taken lightly. It’s important to consider the following realities when determining whether or not to make switch EHRs.

switch emr

A replacement EHR installation poses challenges.

  • It will likely cost as much or more than the original implementation.
  • If the replacement occurs during a Meaningful Use / MIPS measurement period, it increases the complexity of MU reporting, as well as places a large provider learning curve inside the measurement windows and increases the possibility of failure.
  • It involves costly and complex data migration.

A new EHR will not fix underlying organizational problems.

It’s common that root problems are not missing capabilities of the EHR products, but rather, larger, organizational issues. Most EHR products have the same basic core-capability set. Those common capabilities are driven by the certification standards for Meaningful Use / MIPS and the common practices required for billing regulations.

That’s not to say that there aren’t times when an EHR replacement makes sense. To determine if the problems you’re experiencing with your EHR are a result of the technology, ask yourself these questions.

Top 3 Questions to Determine if Your Hospital Needs to Switch EHRs

  • Is my EHR too expensive?
  • Is my EHR too difficult to maintain?
  • Does my EHR product fail when it comes to interfacing with my IT environment?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, a replacement is worth considering. In these cases, the true issue is with the system you have chosen. More likely, however, the problem is not the EHR you bought, but your implementation of it.

The root causes of problems with your implementation can likely be fixed, more affordably, by a system optimization effort.

Possible root problems that should be addressed are:

  • Lack of experience on the implementation team. Now that you’ve implemented an EHR, you have experience with your new system, and a new install will throw your team behind the curve.
  • Rushed implementation. Now that the system is installed, you have the time to fix this now and spend a lot less time and money than you would on a full replacement.
  • Poor understanding of clinical workflows and poor clinical involvement. If this remains true, a new install will be no better than the current one.

Frequently, the conversation about EHR replacement comes back to a satisfaction issue. An EHR replacement is not usually a good value-add strategy to deal with end-user complaints about usability. Unless those complaints are truly rooted in the usability of a product that just can’t meet organizational needs, a system optimization strategy is almost always a better value for dealing with EHR woes.

To learn more about the Phoenix Health division of Medsphere and how we are helping hospitals with system implementation, click here to schedule a consultation.

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