For some healthcare providers, optimizing existing health information technology (HIT) is a planned investment over the next year and could help accelerate the adoption of value-based care.
A recent study by Quest Diagnostics confirms this. The 2018 study, “Stalled progress on the path to value-based care,” is the third annual study commissioned by Quest Diagnostics to gauge perceptions of primary care physicians (PCPs) and health plan executives about the nation’s journey to value-based healthcare. The study, which included 451 respondents—300 who are PCPs—took a look at HIT and the tools physicians need to be successful.
In this study, roughly 3 in 5 (57%) healthcare providers said they’d be optimizing existing HIT in the next year. One in 5 (20%) are investing in some new technology.
The same study showed 4 in 5 primary care physicians (PCPs) believe co-investment in HIT by payers and providers is something that could accelerate the adoption of value-based care.
Since value-based care starts with chronicling the patient visit, many physicians think of EHRs when they think investment in HIT. But buying new or switching EHRs requires both time and resources, so a practice needs to go in prepared. First, evaluate your current situation and your long-term objectives. Does your current system capture the data you need? How would a new system do so differently?
It is important to do your homework to ease the pain for transitioning to a new system. Request live demonstrations, search publicized ratings, talk to other practitioners. Then compare capabilities.
If your practice is considering a replacement to your current EHR there are several things that you should evaluate:
- Vendor stability. Look for outside verification of a company’s strength. Check for a listing on the Fortune 500, recent investments in the company, or even the organization’s financial report if the vendor is a publicly traded company. You want evidence of reliability and longevity. Will they still be around in 20 years?
- Ease of use. Establish a leadership team to evaluate a solution and include input from physicians, nurses, administrative staff, and technical experts. Invite all staff to review and test the product. Make sure your staff is comfortable with the solution. View product demos and videos. Do the screens make sense?
- Financial impact. Consider a cloud-based solution, which offers a number of advantages including rapid deployment, minimal hardware costs, and easy access via any internet-connected device.
- Features and functionality. Ask vendors to demonstrate the features and functionality included in the product. Know what could be incurred with additional changes or time to install by asking current users. For example, an interface to your laboratory may be available from day one, or you may have to wait for an interface to be built.
These are just a few considerations for making an investment in an EHR. To learn more about evaluating an EHR, read our white paper, “3 things to know about making the EHR switch.” More information on the Quest Diagnostics 2018 value-based care survey can be found here.