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Top EHR Buyer Trends of 2014 from Software Advice

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You may know what you want from an electronic health record (EHR) system, but what do your peers think?

As many of you know, Software Advice is an online resource to help software purchasers – including physicians looking for EHR systems – research product options by reading shared and unbiased customer reviews.

Software Advice recently analyzed 385 interactions with EHR system buyers to reveal their primary reasons for evaluating new software, as well as their most desired features and applications. While the full EHR BuyerView report is worth a read if you’re considering purchasing an EHR system for the first time or evaluating your current one, some key findings include:

  • A growing number of buyers – 40 percent – are looking to replace existing EHR systems;
  • 39 percent of EHR system buyers prioritize mobile support for tablets (i.e. iPads) and/or smartphones;
  • e-prescribing (24 percent) and lab integration (20 percent) also topped the list of desired capabilities;
  • 85 percent of buyers overwhelmingly prefer a web-based (cloud-based) EHR system over an on-premise (or client-server) EHR system; and
  • The majority of buyers (89 percent) were interested in an EHR system that could integrate with medical billing and/or patient scheduling applications.

What does this mean if you want to purchase an EHR system?

The data suggest that many physicians are planning to switch to a new EHR system this year, and still others hope to replace their paper charts. Whatever your case may be, while external factors often place additional pressure on your decision-making process, purchasing an EHR system requires thorough research, asking questions of the vendors and speaking with current customers.

Modernizing Medicine’s customers include both first time EHR system purchasers and those finally considering transitioning from paper. To help guide the decision-making process, Dr. Tim Sayed, Medical Director of EMA Plastic Surgery™ and EMA Cosmetic™, recently published an article in Plastic Surgery Practice highlighting questions to ask when you’re looking for an EHR system:

  1. What is meaningful use in meaningful terms?
  2. Does your EHR system integrate with my practice management system?
  3. Does your EHR system only cover cosmetic surgery, or does it include reconstructive content as well? (feel free to jump to #4 if inapplicable)
  4. Is your EHR system client-server or cloud-based?
  5. How is an EHR system going to help a practice handle ICD-10 conversion?
  6. What is your bottom-line, all-in cost?
  7. Will I spend all my time staring at the computer and not connecting with the patient?

It’s helpful to use the same criteria when comparing all vendors you interview in order to compare apples to apples. The full article with explanations for each point above can be found in the April 2014 edition of Plastic Surgery Practice.

In conclusion, while physicians received a temporary reprieve with the delay of ICD-10 until October 1, 2015, other regulatory matters persist, such as meaningful use. Not to mention that the right EHR system can save you time. So, be thorough, but move your search for an EHR system forward so you have the luxury of gradual implementation.