May 23, 2024

Choosing an EMR System Is An Important Task — Our Tips Make It Easier

Choosing an EMR System Is An Important Task — Our Tips Make It Easier

Electronic medical records (EMR) systems are no longer considered a luxury for healthcare providers. 

To maintain compliance and provide a modern standard of care for patients, many providers are looking to upgrade or implement an EMR system as soon as possible.

Choosing an EMR system that is best suited for your organization is essential.

Below we will share our tips for determining your needs as a provider, factors to consider when choosing an EMR, and what to look for in your EMR vendor.

Table of Contents

Determine Your Needs as a Treatment Center Before Choosing an EMR System

Choosing the right EMR system will have a lot to do with what type of services you provide at your facility. Below, we break it down into three categories; small practices to large, complicated organization with multiple providers and billing scenarios.

#1: Complicated Organization With Multiple Providers and Billing Scenarios

Larger practices with multiple providers typically have complicated and varied billing scenarios. 

For these providers, the billing process is often a main pain point because it involves an array of stakeholders — and every step to getting paid relies on the previous interaction.

When communicating across departments and payers, healthcare providers must ensure that all critical information is properly captured and stored along the way.

Organizations with complicated billing practices will want to look for a billing-centric EMR.

#2: Smaller Practices With Simple Note-Taking

For smaller practices, the goal is to streamline workflow and minimize administrative tasks. 

An EMR that provides workflow organization, care coordination, and efficient and accurate documentation is most useful for smaller practices.

Additionally, features that improve self-billing and free admin staff from unnecessary paperwork will allow providers to focus more on patient care.

#3: Small Business With Multiple Providers and Operational Management Needs

Small businesses not operating as independent providers rely heavily on operational insights, compliance, and better program management.

An EMR that is easy to learn and implement, cost-effective, and offers more business management tools will benefit these types of providers.

Ritten specializes in streamlining the workflow of Behavioral Healthcare Providers. 

Our EMR is designed specifically for: 

  • Efficient and accurate billing
  • Document management
  • Compliance
  • Monitoring and understanding patient outcomes
  • Communication and relationship management
  • And more

For more information, or to book your free demo, contact Ritten today. We’re dedicated to providing simple EMR solutions for providers with complex needs.

10 Factors and Functionalities To Consider When Choosing an EMR System

#1: Assess Your Specific Needs

The size and unique services offered by your practice are factors to consider when choosing an EMR system. You should also consider your growth plans and how the EMR system you choose will support that.

Despite the similarities, every practice is different — so it’s critical to assess the specific needs of your practice before determining which EMR system is best for you.

The larger your practice, the more features you are likely to need. Take the time to map out your workflows and compare it to the various functionalities of each system to determine which one best fits the needs of your practice.

#2: Examine the Features of Several Systems

You can quickly narrow your search for an EMR system by comparing the features of several systems.

Consider your specific and most difficult workflows and determine which systems have the functionality to not only handle those workflows, but also to improve them.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to the EMRs that support your daily practice, consider any additional features that may help as you grow.

You should be able to narrow it down to two or three EMR systems, making the decision process much easier.

#3: Create a Budget

First, you need to research the costs of EMR systems and determine a range for how much your budget will allow.

Consider creating a cost comparison chart to help you find the system that offers the most of what you want for an amount that fits within your budget.

Next, find out if there are any extras or hidden costs, such as: 

  • Additional hardware
  • Implementation fees
  • Activation costs
  • Added features
  • Monthly subscriptions
  • Licensing costs
  • Etc. 

Remember, spending more money does not mean you’re getting a better EMR, but it’s not something you want to spend money on twice — you want to get it right the first time.

EMR systems are no longer a “nice-to-have,” but instead, a cost of business that every provider should be budgeting for.

#4: Understand the System’s Architecture

Understanding how your data will be stored and managed is an important consideration when choosing an EMR system.

Self-hosted systems require treatment centers to store data on their own servers — this will require purchasing hardware, servers, and software. Additionally, the facility will be responsible for backing up data, security, and maintenance.

The alternative is a remotely-hosted system where the data is stored on another entity’s servers, such as:

  • A subsidized system: This is an entity with whom the physician has a professional relationship with, like a hospital or medical clinic.
  • A dedicated hosting system: The data is stored on the vendor’s dedicated servers, which relinquishes control of where the data is stored.
  • A cloud system: The vendor stores the data in the cloud, which is accessible through the vendor’s website.

#5: Learn About the Implementation Process

Providers should always know how much time and people are needed to implement the EMR system. Some systems take weeks, while others may take months. 

You should also understand how much time you will need to invest in training and how much support you will receive throughout the process.

Talk to various EMR vendors to learn what their plan is for getting the system fully operational — including getting your team up to speed.

#6: Figure Out if It Integrates With Current Systems

Before committing to an EMR system, talk to various vendors to discuss questions around compatibility. 

Many EMRs offer helpful features — such as lab integrations or e-prescriptions — but if the facilities aren’t configured to interface with that EMR, those features are useless.

In some cases, integrations can be built upon request, but this may carry an additional fee.

#7: Consider How User-Friendly It Is

Every provider wants a user-friendly EMR system, so this is where mapping out your daily workflow is really important.

Consider if the system is intuitive to use — will it help save your staff time with routine tasks or will it be a detriment to your practice?

Even if training is included in the cost of the system, it doesn’t mean the system will be easy to use. The last thing you want is an EMR that takes time away from your patients or adds hours to your staff’s daily and weekly workflow.

#8: Decide How Much Support You Need

Nobody wants to spend thousands of dollars getting an EMR system in place only to find they can’t reach customer service when an issue arises.

Delayed responses from customer service can create serious setbacks in your daily workflow and can lead to many unnecessary headaches.

Find out what support channels each vendor offers and what their customer service hours are. Not everyone provides 24/7 support, but this may not apply to your practice if you run a Monday-to-Friday outpatient clinic during business hours.

Another consideration is whether or not their support is offered for free as part of your purchase or subscription. Paying for every service call could add up quickly.

#9: Ask Other Providers and Read Reviews

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be the first provider to use a particular system, so reading client reviews or asking around to other providers could prove very helpful.

Not only will you gain some insights into the performance, functionality, and ease of use of the system, but you’ll learn about any potential issues other providers have faced — this is not something that will come up in a sales pitch or demo.

You can check various rating and review sites or visit other practices and talk to them about the system they have in place and what they like and don’t like about it.

#10: Request a Demo

Some EMR features look great on paper but then turn out to be lacking in functionality. 

Rather than trying to assess an EMR system based on the website or marketing materials, request a demo.

You want time to identify what’s important to you, your team, and the unique workflows within your practice.

Choose five or six important processes and ask the vendor to demo these specifically, so you can see whether or not they fit your needs.

Ritten is dedicated to helping behavioral healthcare providers deliver personalized, data-driven care to clients. 

Our EMR software is designed to:

  • Manage critical relationships and drive referrals
  • Streamline billing processes
  • Track client progress and support clinical decision-making
  • Manage documentation
  • Maintain compliance
  • Manage complex schedules
  • And more

Book your demo today to see what Ritten can do for your practice.

What To Look for in a Company When Choosing an EMR System

Choosing the EMR company may be just as important as choosing an EMR system. 

Take into consideration factors such as:

  1. If the company is committed to continually developing its product to meet the constantly changing needs of healthcare providers 
  2. Whether the company understands the importance and the nuances of compliance and keeps providers informed of any changes
  3. If the company aligns with your vision for how client records and workflow should look now and if it can scale to match your projected growth

Choosing an EMR system may seem overwhelming. That’s why Ritten focuses on providing the best all-in-one platform — designed specifically for behavioral healthcare facilities.

The monumental task of sifting through and comparing dozens of platforms that only do some of what you need for behavioral health is not something most healthcare providers have time for.

At Ritten, we want to ensure you have an EMR system that provides the basic structure of an EMR, such as billing and CRM, but also has access to the tools that help improve your specific workflows.

We believe in data-driven care and a system that allows you to power your most important workflows and run your business smoothly without the headache of learning multiple systems.

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