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EHR Change Doesn’t Always Mean Better

Posted on August 1, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In the comments of my post “EHR Replacement Roadmap to Success“, John Brewer provided a great reminder that changing EHR software doesn’t always mean that you’ll change to a better EHR. You might change to something worse. At least that’s my summary of his comments. You can read his full comment if you want.

I’ve learned this lesson over and over in my career. Sometimes you need to be content with what you have. One example of this was when I was working at a University in Hawaii. I was quite disappointed with the CIO and thought that he could do a lot of things different. Well, I got my wish and the CIO was replaced with someone else. Considering the topic of this blog post, you can imagine what happened next. The replacement CIO was so much worse than the previous CIO. Lesson learned.

Change doesn’t always mean a change for the better. It can certainly mean a change for the worse.

This applies fully to EHR replacement, which is quickly becoming a hot topic as many people regret their EHR purchase decision. You do need to be careful that you’re so afraid of change that you never change. In many situations change is the right decision. Plus, unlike my story where I had little control over who was hired as the new CIO, when you switch EHR software you can have some impact on the selection and end results. In many cases, you might even discover that you shouldn’t switch EHR before it’s too late.

I expect most people who think they need to switch EHR need to be careful to not set a predetermined course early in the process. Instead of saying, “Which EHR should I switch to?” I believe that many should dig deeper into the question, “If I switched EHR software, what would improve?”

As I replied to John Brewer in the post linked above, it is often (but not always) the case that the second EHR selected goes better than the first. I’ve found that the first “failed” EHR implementation usually teaches some great (albeit costly) lessons that they’re able to avoid the second time around. However, there is a tendency the second time around to focus too much on the first EHR issues that can cause different trouble the second time around. As in most things, there’s a balance to be had.

My best suggestion is to not do anything too impulsive. Let the idea sit and germinate a little before you do anything too drastic. Emotional decisions with EHR software selection (and quite frankly many other decisions) often leads to bad outcomes.

Guest Post: The Meaningful Use Clock is Ticking

Posted on March 8, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

John’s Note: Much of this post will be child’s play for those of you reading the blog that are steeped in meaningful use, the HITECH act, EHR Certification, and the EHR stimulus money. However, I thought this guest post was a nice intro to the EHR stimulus money for a doctor or practice manager which was starting to learn. I’m all about helping doctors, so here it is.

90 days of data collection. This is what is required for year one meaningful use. This means by October 1 you better be collecting data…and hopefully you didn’t just start on October 1…that would be playing with fire.

What really is the purpose of Meaningful Use? In the grand scheme of things, the CMS wants to make sure that a practice hasn’t bundled together a spreadsheet and word processor, call it an EHR, and then try to claim a big reimbursement. So, sure, it makes sense that the CMS would have some requirements for your EHR.

As is the situation anytime you try and get money from the government, the list of requirements is lengthy, the red tape is plentiful and the maze continues to get more complex.

So is the case when “proving” meaningful use. Hopefully you aren’t of the idea that buying a Meaningful Use certified EHR makes you a Meaningful User.

Having an EHR with that “certification” stamped on the box is not like an Easy Button.

Selecting that EHR is the first big hurdle you have to conquer…now you have to show you are a Meaningful User.

The items of proof are shown here in this CMS summary [PDF]. What you’ll see is there are 15 Core Objectives you must be able to report on.

That shiny new EHR should have all of these reports built right in. You better try pulling some of those reports to make sure there is some data in them.

So, those 15 mandatory Core Objectives are already selected for you. Next, there are five more you must select from a gallery of ten.

Which objectives should you choose? Wait for it…IT DEPENDS.

Such the non-answer answer.

It does depend on a number of items, but really which five would you choose?

The easiest to gather? DING DING!

Why not?

Why make this craziness any more difficult than it needs to be.

We’ll go over the Menu Set Objectives, and which ones are the easiest for you to pull, in a future article.

John Brewer is the founder of HIPAAaudit.com. He and his team help physicians run HIPAA Compliant practices in the simplest, most pain free way.