4 legacy EHR issues that indicate you need a new system

Not all EHR systems are created equally. Outdated legacy EHR can inhibit the growth and functionality of a medical practice. Here are 4 common legacy issues that indicate a practice needs an updated EHR system.

1. Time consuming documentation workflow

The most obvious issue that should signal the need for an updated EHR system is if clinicians and office staff have difficulty inputting patient information. If the documentation process is too lengthy and time consuming, your clinicians' time will be taken away from patient care.

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Legacy EHR systems don’t often support the same “click and go” features and shortcuts that modern systems do. These modern systems provide easy to understand workflow formats and logically follow a patient visit. If your system is slowing down practitioners, updating can bring about improved productivity, patient care and clinician satisfaction.

2. Poor integration

If your legacy EHR does not efficiently communicate with other systems or portals (such as E-prescribing, billing, sharing results with other specialties, communication with patients, and reporting for CMS), then it may be time to look for a new system. One of the main purposes of a move to electronic health records is to improve information exchange in order to optimize patient care and outcomes. If the legacy system is not able to complete required exchange of health information, it is not functioning to its required capacity in the medical practice.

3. Monitoring and alerts for medical coding

The lack of built in controls to monitor and alert incorrect or inefficient coding processes can cost your practice financially and even limit patient care. For example, EHR should create alerts for diagnosis and billing coding errors followed by corrective suggestions in order to ensure appropriate billing and reimbursement.

The lack of built in controls to monitor and alert incorrect or inefficient coding processes can cost your practice financially and even limit patient care.

Additionally, modern EHR systems are able to track suggested screenings, tests, and medication interactions in order to optimize patient care. These features act as a reminder to allow the clinician to practice efficiently and to the highest standards. If the legacy system is not monitoring and alerting these issues, it may be time for an upgrade.

4. Poor mobile access and communication

In the technology and consumer driven healthcare market we work in, it is essential that practices utilize EHR systems that offer mobile access and mobile communication for patients. Many patients utilize their smartphones to keep track of everything from appointments, to medications and major health conditions.

Patients want to be able to reach their physician or nurse electronically, instead of waiting near a phone for a call back. In addition, patients want to be able to access their own health information independently. Therefore, patient portals and physician communication domains are essential for patient satisfaction. If your legacy EHR does not offer a patient portal, it may be time to upgrade.

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Amy Vant

About the author…

Amy Vant is a doctor of physical therapy and clinical director for an outpatient physical therapy clinic in the United States. She has experience utilizing and implementing many forms of medical documentation through various healthcare practice venues. Amy enjoys writing about healthcare administration strategies, including electronic health record systems.

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Amy Vant