EHR Adolescence: 4 Ways to Tell if Your EHR/Billing System is a Teen or an Adult
Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems took their first steps in clinics nearly 50 years ago. These early systems – heavily driven by claims and billing – were limited in scope and function, and would face many challenges in maturing to be genuinely useful tools.
On the evolutionary scale, EHR technology today is in adolescence, somewhere between rapid growth and early maturity. Billing systems are slightly ahead in development. However, not all systems advanced equally. While many fine systems are on the market today, there is a spectrum of capability that ranges from those still experiencing growing pains and developmental limitations, to those who have successfully navigated technology adolescence and are providing truly valuable and insightful results for providers.
Adolescent systems, on the other hand, keep their owners up at night wondering what illogical surprise awaits them next, hoping for the day when limited functionality and workarounds will be replaced by useful tools.
Is Your EHR/Billing System a Wayward Teen? These 5 Measures Will Tell You
If your EHR/billing system leaves you feeling like the parent of a wayward teen, you may be behind the technology maturity curve. How do you know? Mature systems, those at the leading edge of functionality, stability and innovation score high in four key areas. This summary chart will help you score your current system and gauge whether you’re getting the full maturity value of the state of the market today.
EHR/Billing Maturity Comparison
|1. Cloud-based |
|· 100% in the cloud |
· Reliable, fast, secure
|· Premises server-based |
· Upgrade? Security? Reliability?
|2. Patient-Focused |
a. Social Media (SM)
|· Active SM management |
· Automated, closed-loop system
· Active, sincere resolution of negative posts directly with patient
· Robust online scheduling
· Auto reminders – txt/email; Engl/Sp
· Automated electronic intake
· Online bill pay, Rx refill
· Fully functional & proven system
· Fully integrated with EHR
· Little/unprofessional online presence
· Do-It-Yourself SM system
· No response plan; often turns angry and retaliatory
· Wait on the phone
· No reminders/haphazard manual calls
· Clipboard intake process
· Wait on the phone
· On the fence – jump in?
· Separate, siloed system = manual processes
|3. Data-Driven |
a. Comprehensive Data Structure
b. Analytics and Reporting
· Common database
· Simple, system-wide access to data
· Pre-built and easily customizable reports
· Advanced data analytics capable
· Separate data silos for each function
· Sometimes troublesome integrations
· Limited reporting capability
· Difficult to generate custom reports
· Not structured for advanced analytics
|4. Mature Parts/Seamless Whole |
a. Billing & e-Eligibility
c. Practice Management
|· robust, highly accurate e-Eligibility verification |
· near-flawless first-pass clean claims submission
· Advanced customization & templates
· Dashboards and task management
· Clinical decision support
· System-wide integration
· Advanced workflow management
· In addition to key features outlined in Measure #2, portal data included in main workflows
|· Missing or rudimentary e-Eligibility |
· Sub-optimal clean claims submission (e.g. even high 90%s is low)
· Limited templates & customization
· No dashboards or task management
· No clinical decision support features
· Separate data silos
· Lack user-friendly workflow management capabilities
· Lack advanced features and data integration
EHR/Billing technology has come a long way over the years and has become indispensable for many providers in the delivery of healthcare. Periodically benchmarking your system will ensure your practice is maturing with the best systems available on the market.
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