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Choosing & Implementing a New Electronic Health Record

While there are a lot of considerations in both choosing and implementing a new EHR, this is really a pretty fun project! If you know you're not a super detail-oriented person, you'll thank yourself later for hiring someone to manage this vital part of getting your practice up to speed. 


If you've worked in any type of electronic health record before, and by now it would be a rare thing if you haven't, you'll already know a number of features that you love, and even more likely - a number of them that you dislike!

A Few of the Many Considerations when choosing an EHR: 

  • What are your overall practice needs? 

  • What is your budget?

  • What are your "non-negotiables" - features you can't compromise on? (Ex. Embedded prescribing module, associated Practice Management module [handles billing and scheduling], etc.)

  • How much work will it take to get it operational (there is always some), and will this fall to you or your employees? Despite the large plethora of promises made by all marketing teams, they are literally never accurate. Knowing what questions to ask is extremely important to get the product you want. 

  • What kind of support do they offer? How much will it cost you? What do other agencies who use this EHR say about the level of support they receive? 

  • How user-friendly is the actual system? Is there training offered? If so, how many hours of training per user and how many users will be trained? How long of a time period can training be utilized? (If you get new users, will they offer training or will you/your staff have to do it all?)

  • How much control do you have over creating template types, deciding on labels/categories and how data is filed? If changes need to be made (and they ALWAYS do) - who can do those and is there a cost? 

  • How robust is the reporting system? You will absolutely need some good reports to manage your practice well.


There are SO many other pertinent & necessary questions, but you get the idea! I've worked with a fair number of health records by now, and yes - I have my favorites, both for small and large practices. 


This could be the next step for the above scenario, or for an established practice - either switching from paper records to an electronic health record system, or switching from a current system to a new one. All are big projects, but when the need is there, having someone on board to manage the project is a strong path to success. 

Small Sample of Considerations when Implementing an EHR:

  • How will all your current data get transferred into the new system? Who is doing it, and what can/cannot be transferred electronically? Is there a cost? 

  • What features are available to handle the data that may need to be scanned and uploaded by hand? Does the filing system in the EHR make sense? 

  • How many users will be trained and what will the training entail? 

  • Can you change the template types as needed to meet your needs? How much will it cost if the EHR staff have to make all the changes to your system? 

  • How are your programming and coding skills? If this sort of thing is required to fine-tune any part of the EHR (and it usually is, to various extents), can you do that? 

EHR Projects I've Managed:

  • Implemented new EHR system for agency of 1,000 staff: Assisted with choosing the EHR, completed the back-end system set-up, created documentation templates to meet guidelines for billing/coding, compliance, and audits, managed the implementation for hundreds of staff across an entire state, complete with developing trainings for medical providers and all medical office staff along with a training schedule so that everyone has what they need. 

  • Set up new EHR systems for several small new practices: Everything from choosing the EHR to all tasks involved in getting it operational and training the users

  • Assisted with and/or managed implementation of billing/coding setup or updates: For both new and existing medical practices of various sizes. This increased revenue for the practices, and at times I was able to assist with creating new revenue streams. 

  • Administrator and Superuser for at least 5 different well-known EHRs: And a few that aren't so well-known! While in this role I have done programming, coding, and analysis to create a functional system that is user-friendly and doesn't require unnecessary input in documentation fields. 

  • Managed EHR Integration: With laboratories, prescription drug monitoring programs, prescribing modules, Health Information Exchanges, etc. These tasks are vital to your success as a medical provider, saving you a ton of time and hassle. 

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