For those of you who already own an electronic health record (EHR), ask yourself a few questions. When was the last time you spoke to your EHR vendor? Do you remember when you accepted your vendor into your practice? If you don't think that you've established a close relationship with your vendor, that's probably not a good sign.
For those of you who are shopping for an EHR software, with so many vendors to choose from, it can get pretty overwhelming to figure out which is the perfect fit for your practice. We’ve compiled 4 superstar qualities an EHR vendor should have to make sure your practice is receiving top quality performance!
1. A Good Reputation
Vendors who have been in business for a long time is definitely a good sign. Your EHR vendor should seek to continually improve and understand your needs as an optometrist, while also adjusting to the demands of the ever-changing eyecare industry. So here are a few tips to help narrow down which vendors could be right for your practice!
- Check out the vendor’s online presence. Try visiting their website and social media pages (It is the face of the business after all)
- Speak to colleagues and other optometrists about their EHR experiences
- Research feedback from different sources such as tradeshows and forums to prevent bias
2. Fast and Friendly Customer Service and Technical Support
Once you’ve decided which type of EHR software suits your practice, it’s time to start thinking about the efficiency of their customer service and technical support group. Does your current vendor have a fast and efficient customer support system? EHR providers should have a department that customers are able to reach for extra assistance.
Your vendor's customer support team should be eager to answer all of your questions or concerns with one simple phone call or email. This way you’re not calling multiple people and wasting valuable time being transferred to other departments until the next available assistant can help you. Access to quick customer support will allow you to spend more time with customers and less time trouble-shooting.
3. Security That's Compliant with Government Regulations
Your patient’s information needs to be safe from online threats. Whether you are deciding between a client server or cloud-based solution, security is a main concern. EHR vendors go through a series of rigorous government regulations, and have to be HIPAA compliant. Don’t let the idea of a cloud-based EHR vendor scare you. In fact, reputable cloud solutions are likely to be more secure than most client servers in many aspects. One of which includes hosting the system in facilities with security controls and certification. Providing security on-site at your own practice can rack up a heavy bill.
On top of being HIPAA compliant, is your EHR certified for meaningful use? Most systems will receive 2014 certification, but does that mean you have to pay additional fees for upgrade costs? Be sure to check your contract for future upgrades, new versions, and additional charges so you aren’t over paying for the services.
If your EHR is certified for 2014, it means that you can begin Stage 2 in 2014 if you’ve already attested for Stage 1. If you have not participated in meaningful use, you are still eligible for $29,000 through The Medicare Incentive Program if you begin this year. To learn more about The Medicare Incentive Program, download our free eBook, A Beginner’s Guide to Meaningful Use.
4. A Plan To Prepare You For The Future
Selecting an EHR provider is a long-term decision that can make or break your practice. So make sure you are informed of your vendor’s future business plans. Good questions to consider include:
- Is the EHR already integrated with a practice management system? TIP: Having a practice management system integrated with your EHR increases your practice's efficiency, so you can focus more on your patients.
- When will the next upgrade roll out?
- Is my EHR certified for 2014 meaningful use certification?
- Are there new additional features being promoted?
Deciding which vendor is right for your practice can be a long process, but you will definitely see the important role that the right EHR software plays in your practice. Don’t take a risky gamble and settle for just any provider and hope everything will work out by itself. So now you know what it really takes to have an effective vendor, how well does your current EHR system meet these conditions?
Take a look at Uprise, VisionWeb's Practice Management and EHR Solution, and see where we stack up among the rest!