6 Reasons to Reevaluate Your Gastroenterology EHR System
Is Your Gastroenterology Software Creating Challenges for Your Practice?
Gastroenterologists know that the right tools can make a significant difference when caring for patients. While health outcomes depend on a variety of factors, patient engagement and empowered staff are two keys to help physicians better care for their patients — from appointment scheduling through the entirety of the visit to follow-up. In an increasingly technology-driven healthcare space, this means choosing a gastroenterology EHR system that can help make daily office functions as smooth as possible.
It’s simple. Physicians need gastroenterology software that works well and doesn’t create excess work and stress for them and their staff. Even when the EHR system is not meeting these baseline needs, and you know it’s only a matter of time before making a switch, it can be an overwhelming thought to even consider a change — from researching options to implementation and training, the process is long and involved.
There are many reasons why it may be worth considering changing your gastroenterology EHR system in order to provide your practice, staff and patients with the best experience. Here are six of them:
1. The EHR system is not integrated with your practice management system.
In order to offer a high-quality patient experience throughout the visit and beyond, offices need more than just the ability to access health records and input information. Office staff also need the capability to bill properly, send timely appointment reminders and provide patients with access to their healthcare data. When a gastroenterology EHR system is separate from the rest of the practice’s software or systems, it can lead to less effective interoffice communication and, ultimately, more stress and frustration for staff. It’s also a strong indication that it’s time to consider a new EHR vendor, and look for one that offers an integrated practice management solution.
“The beauty of having all-in-one gastroenterology software is that it simplifies our processes and reduces redundancies. Having the whole chart accessible in one easy-to-use system is very beneficial for patient care. In addition to increased transparency, I spend less time documenting and more time with patients.” -Samuel Gun, DO, FACOI, Tri-County Gastroenterology
2. Your EHR vendor doesn’t offer patient engagement tools.
One of the primary benefits of healthcare technology is the opportunity it offers to increase patient engagement. By providing patients with access to their healthcare data and clear channels of communication, you can help your patients feel empowered in managing their own care. Thoughtfully designed technology can also allow patients to quickly and easily access information they may need regarding billing, insurance and scheduling through a patient portal.
In theory, technology can provide tools to help increase patient engagement. Take a patient check-in kiosk, for instance. If the tool is clunky, slow or difficult to navigate, patients will be less inclined to use it. When this happens, patient engagement rates can drop and office staff can become overwhelmed by a flood of patient questions which the kiosk, in theory, should help eliminate. If, instead of increasing patient engagement, technology associated with your EHR system becomes a stumbling block for patients, it’s time to consider a new solution.
3. The EHR system is difficult for staff to use.
New technology is most often introduced to a practice to help increase efficiency and enhance the patient experience. It is supposed to help streamline operations and provide staff with easy access to the information in order to serve patients when they need it most.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. For many offices, gastroenterology EHR systems actually become a source of frustration due to non-intuitive setup and non-GI specific workflows. Nurses may have difficulty finding or entering patient data — in which case the software may even cause the office to run more slowly than before. When this happens, it’s time to consider an alternative that will help relieve frustration and increase efficiency.
“One of our physicians is not tech-savvy, and he quickly adapted to the technology; within two weeks, he was a super user, which is a direct reflection of how easy and concise gGastro is. The relevant information is presented clearly, whereas other systems are cluttered, making it hard to absorb all of the data.” – Michael DiMarino, MD, DiMarino, Kroop, Prieto Gastrointestinal Associates
4. The EHR system comes with poor customer support.
When implementing, using and maintaining gastroenterology software, it’s inevitable that technical glitches will happen. Problems arise from time to time and, when they do, it is essential that customer support staff are accessible and respond quickly.
Practices should be able to cultivate a strong working relationship with customer support and know they can rely on their gastroenterology EHR system’s tech team to respond when difficult situations arise. When you consistently experience lackluster support, it may indicate that a new gastroenterology software may be a worthwhile investment.
5. The EHR system lacks mobility and accessibility.
Whether you as a gastroenterologist are across town at a different office location or on the other side of the world attending a conference, you should have peace of mind knowing that you can still care effectively for patients. Your EHR system should provide you with the capability to respond to questions that may arise and contribute to treatment solutions. Remote functionality is also important when there are more messages to respond to than there is time in the workday. Rather than staying for unsustainably long amounts of time at the office, healthcare professionals have more flexibility to take a breath and enjoy time with their families in between responding to their patients if they can access their patient records from the convenience of their smartphone. When a gastroenterology EHR system doesn’t provide this functionality, it restricts schedule flexibility and points to a need for a more effective solution.
“Our physicians have greatly benefited from the convenience and flexibility that gGastro Mobile offers. One of our physicians was working from home when his internet went out. By using the mobile EHR, he was able to easily access his patients’ records via the app and avoided the 30-minute drive back to the office.” – Tasha Cieslak, practice manager, The Gastro Clinic
6. The EHR system creates stress and strain for staff.
Both physicians and office staff want to enjoy coming to work, and this is increasingly important as physician and practice burnout is on the rise. Without effective tools, however, work can become an added source of stress and lead to physician burnout. Poorly built gastroenterology software can lead to tension and frustration for staff, thereby decreasing morale. It can also generate more complaints from patients — complaints that office staff often have to field. Gastroenterology EHR systems should make the workday run more smoothly from start to finish rather than making things more challenging. When technology becomes a source of tension for you as a physician, your staff and patients, it’s time to look for a new, complete software solution.
While switching gastroenterology software can be difficult, it is important that you provide your patients with high-quality care — having the right EHR system in place can help you do that. And, if you are ready to make a switch, you don’t need to do it alone. When you choose high-quality software with professional customer support, you’ll have help along the way so that you can make the transition as smooth and easy as possible.
If your gastroenterology EHR system isn’t helping you care for your patients or causes any of these problems in your practice, it may be time to consider an alternative. Get started today.