Tips for selecting an EHR solution that will evolve with the industry

The benefits associated with deploying an electronic health record (EHR) solution are well documented: elimination of costly, error-prone paper documentation, instant access to clinical and financial information, standardized processes, streamlined workflows, improved care and much more. As the ASC industry moves towards value-based care, a new urgency exists for facilities to transition away from paper and one-off clinical systems to robust, scalable EHR solutions.

Like many ASCs, NHSC has been growing and our needs have changed. Our previous software provider had trouble keeping pace. Reports were labor-intensive to create because data had to be compiled by hand from multiple charts, cross-referenced with demographic information, and manually calculated. The output was easily misinterpreted, making it hard to share data with physicians, staff, owners, governing bodies and payors. Furthermore, pulling detailed data and creating reports for case costing was a time-consuming process. Staff time wasn’t optimized because everyone had to share a single paper chart for each patient.

Since implementing SourceMed’s Vision EHR system, the cumbersome part of having a paper chart is gone. Everyone can work on the same patient record at same time which increases productivity and collaboration. Reporting capabilities are significantly improved, processes are more streamlined, and our staff is happier. We’ve even reduced office expenses by close to $800/month simply by eliminating the need to purchase paper.

Deciding which EHR solution is best for your ASC can be an overwhelming task. To help other ASCs with their selection process, here are some points to consider based on our experience.

• One of the most critical functions of an EHR is leveraging the benefits of centralized data for reporting purposes. The ability to drill down into detail and flexibly change reports lets NHSC manage costs more efficiently and keep pace with continuously changing reporting requirements.

• With access to the right data for quality reporting, your center will be able to show payors information like costs, transfer rates, satisfaction, and recurrence. Being able to demonstrate that your ASC is more effective and efficient than a hospital can drive more procedures your way and is key for value-based care models.

• Make sure that your EHR has a fully integrated Analytics module that provides drill-down visibility into billing, payment, collections and tracking. A system that extracts data nightly will provide timely information on reimbursement trends as well as other productivity and financial metrics, aiding in major business decisions and revenue growth.

• Because it is impossible for any single vendor to be an expert in all things, a solution that allows for seamless, secure integration with third party systems is essential. Cloud-enabled technology will allow new functionality to be easily added as you need it.

For example, SourceMed partner Command Health offers a mobile app that makes it easier and faster for physicians to submit and sign post-operative notes using their phone. The two systems integrate seamlessly to offer physicians an electronic option for dictation, review, and signature. As soon as they sign off, it goes right into the EHR system. Expediting op notes signatures and report processing allows NHSC to submit clean claims more quickly so that payment is received sooner.

To engage with patients NHSC uses Simple Admit, another integrated SourceMed partner solution. Instead of having to allocate precious staff time to this process, Simple Admit allows patients or family members to input preadmission information through the NHSC website, and receive alerts about an upcoming procedure and reminders about post-op instructions. Information submitted by patients flow directly into the EHR. Better communication with patients early and throughout the entire process cuts down on missed appointments and cancellations.

• Don’t overlook the importance of strong inventory management and case costing capabilities. Our facility is multi-specialty and surgery times can vary a lot. Vision EHR enables me to look at the case costing module by the minute instead of the case and allocate costs based on surgery time and actual supplies used which is more accurate and fair for everyone.

Research and proper planning are critical to EHR success. If the software is not easy to use, physicians and staff will not use it. Do your homework and look for a system that can be customized to meet your center’s specific needs and workflow today, and into the future and be sure to invest time in training, both up front as well as refresher training to be sure everyone is using the solution to its fullest capability.

Knowing NHSC now has the right technology in place, we are more confident than ever about our ability to succeed under value-based models. How are you preparing for the move to value-based care?

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