4 questions to ask admin staff during your EHR selection process
During the selection process for your EHR system, it is essential to obtain valuable feedback from the users who will be using the system daily. Not only is it necessary to confer with the clinical staff, it is also essential to consult the administrative staff. By asking probing questions, you will obtain valuable information, needed during your EHR selection process, about the administrative needs for your new system.
1. What is the most difficult part of the new patient intake process?
Essential to all practices, new patients drive revenue and keep the clinic running. The administrative staff hold a very large responsibility in correctly inputting and registering patient information, including insurance and billing data. The patient intake process can be tedious and time consuming, filled with paperwork and transcribing information. By asking the administrative staff where there is difficulty or breakdown in the patient intake process, you may be able to identify areas that can benefit from streamlining with a new EHR system.
2. Where do you find yourself getting tied up or falling behind?
Although this question seems vague and may seem unrelated to EHR systems, it can be a wonderfully probing question to bring about difficulties that might not come to mind. For example, an administrative staff personnel might report that patient reminders and patient communication really slow down the efficient work of the entire front office. By identifying this difficulty, you may be able to find a system that offers automated patient appointment reminders, which would fully address and even eliminate that problem.
3. Where is there a breakdown in systems communications or interoperability?
EHR systems are meant to facilitate ease in healthcare communication and inter-professional coordination of care. The administrative staff serve an important role in facilitating patient care and patient and clinician satisfaction. Ask the administrative staff where the current systems are failing in appropriate communication. Examples may include limited ability to share lab work or clinical findings with other specialties, inability to order prescriptions or tests efficiently, or even poor communication with the billing department.
4. What are the tasks, systems, or outcomes that you track and report on?
An important administrative task is to monitor outcomes, productivity, revenue and other data measures in order to ensure the success of a practice both financially and clinically. You may be surprised to find that many of these measures are tracked “by hand” or that there is no efficient way to track the outcomes at all. By identifying measures that need to be tracked, you will know what to look for during your EHR selection process.
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