Compliance & User Needs: The Driving Forces Behind EHR Software Requirements

As you finalize your list of EHR software requirements, you need to start thinking about how you will prioritize and document these needs. Unfortunately, unless you develop your own EHR system, it is unlikely there will be a single system that is perfectly suited and designed for your practice needs. You will need a well documented and thoughtfully prioritized set of requirements in order to identify the closest match possible.

Your Number One Priority

Whether your requirements analysis begun with billing management or mobile access, your number one priority must be meeting all legal and insurance guidelines within the EHR system. You want to capture functional codes, exception codes and all other insurance codes within the encounter note, so that you are not left fixing problems after claims have been processed. Your claims must be submitted accurately to avoid audits and denials. You must also have a secure system that is HIPAA compliant. If these basic needs are not met, then your practice cannot operate.

Whether your requirements analysis begun with billing management or mobile access, your number one priority must be meeting all legal and insurance guidelines

It is tempting to make your bottom line the number one priority. Too often large practices and institutions make decisions based on what is the least expensive. Try to avoid this temptation. Finances should, of course, be an important factor when prioritizing EHR software requirements, but don’t use them as a driving force in selection decisions at the expense of your practice needs. This will leave your clinical staff frustrated, as many of their needs will not have been met. Unfortunately, this will likely rule out some of the cheaper EHR options on the market. But, you get what you pay for, so invest in a quality system and you will see a return through high user adoption and process improvements.

Meeting the Needs of Clinical Staff

Your clinical staff will be using the system during every patient encounter. If the clinical staff members are frustrated with the system, it will show in their job performance and patient care will suffer. For example, your nurses may have requested a system that provides a simple workflow for taking blood pressure, gathering basic history, producing the patient report, and carrying out a medication review. Even if you provided three out of the four workflow process, your nurses will feel their contribution to the requirements gathering process has been ignored.

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When your clinical staff feel their needs are being met, they will be more willing to buy into the new EHR system. As a bonus, you will have happier clinicians who will be more likely to give excellent patient care.

After prioritizing legal guidelines, clinician needs, and cost, you can then rank everything else that is important for your practice. You can determine if your practice needs a second language, marketing portals and other “nice to haves”, denoting their importance in a prioritized list.

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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

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