Small practices face some tough challenges when it comes to system utilization. The major obstacles they face are sometimes more similar to local businesses than large healthcare systems. How do you get the most out of your EHR with limited time and money to spend? We provide four quick tips to get the most out of your EHR vendor's support in the small practice environment.
Small Practice, Big Challenges
Small practices face obstacles that larger organizations simply don’t have to worry about. Budgetary and time constraints are two major concerns when first adopting an EHR. Furthermore, small practices often have to navigate the maze of tasks to comply with federal regulations on their own. CMS rules and policies change quickly; the complex processes involved in MIPS, APMs and other programs can be tricky for even the most seasoned compliance professional. Keeping up with federal rule changes while keeping costs in time and money down is the primary goal.
Practicality is Top Concern
It’s fitting that small practices’ primary needs from their EHR software are directly related to the more practical concerns of a small business. The 2019 Best in KLAS Small Practice Ambulatory EMR/PM survey sought to discover what small practices need most from their EHR vendors. The survey defined a small practice as consisting of 10 or fewer physicians, including a range of small practice professionals and EHR vendors in its methodology. The practices named product functionality, usability, and vendor support as their top areas of need.
Get The Most Out Of Your Vendor's Support
Great support teams can be critical allies in getting the most out of your system and helping you overcome small business challenges. A competent implementation professional should be able to walk you through the set up process smoothly. Post set-up, support technicians should be able to resolve your concerns quickly and efficiently. Here are 4 tips for small practices to make the most of their support teams while saving time and money:
- A good trainer should ensure you understand all basic functions before implementation is over. With a finite amount of training hours, small practices should block out time well ahead of their first training date for each office member to learn their appropriate roles and tasks. A study published in the Winter 2019 Perspectives in Health Information Management found more experienced users posted significantly faster documentation times. They concluded an increased focus on early training of residents in documentation skills may lead to improvement in efficiency. Investing the training time now will clearly pay off for the practice on a daily basis; additional training hours will almost always cost additional dollars.
- Ask your trainer to show you the built-in features for federal compliance. For example, Exscribe provides a MIPS Dashboard module that’s readily accessible from the main screen, designed to show compliance progress in visual charts. Ask as many questions as you can about functionality now, while your trainer is physically present. You can't be expected to remember everything, so access to the online support website is a must. Ensure you set up access for your staff before your trainer leaves the office; these websites include video, step-by-step instructions and other helpful materials that can reduce your need to book extra training.
- If you have a firm grasp on the basic features, but want to go further to improve overall functionality, consider inquiring about customization. A support technician should be able to route your inquiry to the appropriate party to start the process. Customization can further tailor the EHR to your practice-specific workflows by taking out fields, forms and features that you don't need to see every day. This option has the potential to fully optimize your software, saving you time that previously would have been spent on the phone with the support desk.
- After your system is completely set up and ready to go, make a note of the correct way to submit a support ticket and post it in a visible location for your staff. Exscribe has a dedicated phone line and email address for clients to ask for technical help. Requests submitted to an incorrect email address often result in lost time and frustration when you need assistance. Your vendor should have dedicated methods and staff to address your every day concerns, and be able to clearly and consistently communicate them to you.