7 features to consider when choosing an EHR vendor

Your practice likely has an electronic health record (EHR). By now, most physician practices have made the switch from paper to electronic charts. But maybe, in this first year of reporting for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), you’ve discovered that your EHR does not meet the requirements or standards of the program. It’s probably becoming evident as you collect data for this introductory year, and it will become even more evident in 2018.

EHRs must be certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). ONC defines a certified EHR as one that meets the functionality and security requirements set by the Department of Health & Human Services to qualify for incentive payments. To remain ONC-certified, EHRs must adopt extensive standards-based interoperability features. This interoperability is key, and is defined as the ability for 2 or more disparate health technologies to communicate with each other and to exchange or share patient information. This clinical information is to be used under a standard set of guidelines to coordinate patient care, ultimately improving patient outcomes. Both the 2014 and 2015 editions of certified EHR technology (CEHRT) require extensive standards-based interoperability, and current EHRs must be certified for these editions.

Care360 EHRIf you’re finding your EHR is not meeting the required interoperability standards, chances are you might be evaluating your options for next year. When choosing an EHR you should look for a solution that is:

  1. Secure – Your EHR must protect patient and practice information. The EHR must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Data must be kept confidential and secure, and the EHR should have features that allow practices to send secure emails to other providers on the patient’s treatment team.
  2. Expandable – The solution you choose should be up-to-date with new service offerings and keep up with industry regulations and the changing healthcare environment. For 2017 reporting, MACRA permits use of the 2014 edition, 2015 edition, or combination of the two. By 2018, to participate in MIPS you must have a 2015 CEHRT. There is a CMS-proposed rule for 2018 due in November 2017 that may change this; but even with a change, this rule has proposed giving MIPS bonus points to those using an EHR with 2015 certification in 2018.
  3. Reputable – Talk to current clients to confirm that the vendor provides consistent product updates and communications and that they are satisfied.
  4. Strategic – The EHR provider should understand your practice needs and your day-to-day challenges and how to overcome them.
  5. Innovative – Your partner should inspire innovation, both with its product(s) and within the industry. Is it involved with other medical discoveries and technologies? Does it partner with other healthcare industry leaders to find answers?
  6. Accessible – Your EHR should be available anytime, anywhere. Check for accessibility on multiple devices – laptop, desktop and tablets like the iPad, along with mobile phones. Look for a solution that is cloud-based.
  7. Strong – Look for verification of a company’s strength. You want a company that has been in business for a long time and is financially stable. Check for a listing on the Fortune 500, recent investments in the company, or even the organization’s financial reports if the vendor is a publicly traded company. Will they still be around in 10 years?

Quest Diagnostics has been providing insights for 50 years and is constantly innovating and expanding access to its solutions. Its Quanum EHR has the proper certifications to meet current MACRA requirements. For more information, contact us at 1.888.491.7900 or read our white paper, “3 things to know about making the EHR switch.

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