When it comes to upgrading technology in healthcare, this usually is a good thing as the benefits would lead to better performance and being current with today’s standards. Yet problems sometimes overshadow the potential benefits, which leaves the user with buyer’s remorse. Unfortunately, this appears to be happening with many small providers as they are experiencing regret after switching their EHR.
Many Smaller Providers Experience Drop in Interoperability After Switching EHR
When it comes to the world of healthcare IT, a recent Black book survey reported in Healthcare IT News says that people shouldn’t be surprised that changing electronic vendors is full of hidden challenges, and can be expensive and time-consuming. Although larger health systems will normally be able to cope more easily with disruptions and be happier when it is completed, it is an entirely different situation for smaller providers.
There are several issues that smaller providers struggle with, such as longer than expected downtime, hidden costs and user frustration, among other problems. Overeager sales pitches and brand-name recognition hid for providers some of the most significant difficulties they faced, as Black Book discovered that seventy-one percent of providers who decided to change their electronic health records experienced a drop in interoperability.
EHR’s That Don’t Function Well Can be Problematic
When looking into the issues regarding EHRs, it is important to understand that besides being expensive, they are mandatory to have. Taking this into consideration, physicians that purchase a lacklustre system or one that doesn’t work appropriately will reduce revenue, and it may be strained already to recoup the cost of implementing the EHR.
According to those who responded to the survey, twenty-two percent said that implementation delays or cost overruns resulted in temporary or permanent layoffs; additionally, more money was lost over the system while causing headaches for the staff that remained.
Another problem can be the exacerbation of clinician burnout, which is already a worrisome trend, with the changing of electronic health record systems. Astoundingly, ninety-eight percent of those who responded commented on how this wasn’t even discussed as the EHR systems were switched.
Doug Brown, who is the president of Black Book, said that, “No other industry spends so much, per unit of IT, on the part of the business that is shrinking the fastest and holds little growth as hospital inpatient revenues.”
Since Black Book discovered that many healthcare systems that are threatened financially regret switching EHRs, struggling or smaller providers might want to avoid changing horses halfway through a race. The survey also revealed that many small healthcare systems run the risk of changing providers and, in the long run, are unable to make it work for their benefit.
What is suggested is taking steps, such as understanding the impact regarding physician burnout. Putting more of a focus on financial goals that are achievable, such as greater functionality or interoperability, would also be a smarter tactic.
Brown said that, “in retrospect, mid-market system CIOs spent a lot of money focusing on functionality and incentive-dollar achievement, thus many did not appropriately approach long-term value by dealing with basic issues, such as departmental workflows, usability, interoperability and data-sharing standards.”
Brown went on to say that, “we found the majority (69 percent) of struggling hospital systems in 2018 that are dealing with very tight margins – or even losing money – regret their IT choices, which still have them teetering between being able to stay open or having to close.”
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