A few points to consider when getting started

Evaluating, purchasing and implementing an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system is a massive undertaking. It’s a complex, multifaceted task that most behavioral health professionals have never done, or maybe have done only once, in their professional lives. For that reason alone, many approach EHR evaluation with dread, unsure that they can get it right.

Don’t be afraid. Knowledge is power. By evaluating your agency’s needs in terms of teams and tasks, you can quickly narrow what is vital, what would be nice and what is unnecessary when it comes to finding the right EHR. To get started, you need four lists and one prioritization session.

List One:

Make a list of teams and tasks/workflows.

In order for the entire staff to have good buy-in for an EHR, they have to know how it will help them. By compiling a list of every department, or team, you will demonstrate that you are committed to implementing an EHR solution that helps everyone. Plus, this list will be essential when you meet with EHR providers, as you can use it to assess their capabilities.

List Two:

Make a list of specific environment and device challenges.

Does your facility have unique needs? The answer is likely yes, and so you’ll want an EHR that can be configured to handle those efficiently. List things like remote staff, older computing systems and other potential pain points so those can be shown to the EHR vendors you’re evaluating.

List Three:

Make a list of business challenges.

Do you face must-do tasks in the coming months or years in order to remain compliant with state and federal guidelines? Are you looking to expand, or move, operations? List any and all potential pain points, roadblocks or challenges here.

List Four:

It’s wish-list time!

Shoot for the moon here; list all the capacities and capabilities that you would love to see in an EHR. Some might not be feasible, but you may find from some vendors that others are either on the drawing board, or fully implementable.

Prioritize: Using the first three lists, prioritize and create a “must-have” roster.

If you could only have three, or five, main functions in your EHR, what would those be? Then, based on price points and feature availability, you can add or subtract as necessary when you evaluate proposals.

Want to explore more tools to help you and your team prepare for the EHR-evaluation process? Get the free EHR Evaluation checklist for behavioral health organizations.

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