Plan The Transition
Shifting from paper to digital records or changing EHR systems will mean some disruption to your operations. But thinking through the transition process will help you plan for lost time and distractions. For example, you may need to manage billing records in your existing system for up to three months before all accounts are transferred to the new system.
Factor in plenty of time to move data – patient demographics, clinical notes, practitioner information, and schedules. Will you input/transfer data in house, implement a digital data migration process, or use an external vendor? The learning curve may be steep, so think about who will receive training, how that will happen, and how long it will take.
Start planning early, setting short- and long-range goals that include daily operations and end user readiness. Factor in extra time for implementation and training so that all parts of the system are operating correctly at your go-live deadline.
Set A Realistic Budget
The software package represents just one piece of the EHR budget. Does your IT team have the capacity for transition to an EHR? Will you need to bring on additional experts to help with the transition? Will they need special training? Whether your training team is in-house or not, teaching your staff to optimize the EHR’s features will take time away from patients. The up-front investment in training will pay off.
The core of your EHR is the data it holds. You want to transfer all the information you need, in the format you need it, accurately and efficiently. Depending on the size of your practice, you may want to hire temporary staff to help accomplish this important task. Even if your EHR vendor will import your data into their system, you will still be responsible for getting that data out of your existing system.
License Or Subscription?
Consider whether purchasing EHR software outright or a subscription-style service better suits your budget. If you choose the subscription route, the vendor likely will handle ongoing maintenance and product updates. Purchasing the software costs more upfront. Keep in mind that you may be responsible for maintenance costs.
If you’re investing in a new EHR, you want it to run smoothly. Check with your vendor or IT experts to confirm your hardware can accommodate the new software. You may need servers, network upgrades, or additional computer workstations. If you’re using a cloud-based system, you may need to upgrade your internet bandwidth.
A primary motivation for moving to an EHR is to keep medical records safe. In order to protect data and comply with HIPAA regulations, you may need to upgrade encryption, network monitoring, and firewalls.
Don’t let sticker shock overwhelm you. Switching to an EHR is an expensive and time-consuming investment – emphasis on investment. Once your practice successfully transitions from paper or an old system, a new EHR will improve your efficiency, saving you time and money over the long run. Not only will your staff be more efficient, but integrated billing means fewer errors and higher collections – and that improves your bottom line.
ClinicTracker offers customizable software and technical staff to ease the transition. We understand the big picture as well as the unique details of behavioral health and substance abuse practices. We have more than 17 years of experience helping agencies keep their data safe and accessible, and we’ll be your partner during the transition and whenever you need us.
Read More About Implementation: The Path to a Successful EHR Implementation
ClinicTracker is a robust, future-proof mental health and substance abuse EHR. Michael Gordon, a renowned clinical psychologist, and Joshua Gordon, an award-winning software engineer, founded it in 2000. ClinicTracker EHRs powerful software empowers your agency to succeed. ClinicTracker will automate many of your clinic routines, boost staff productivity, increase billing efficiency, and provide the tools you need to manage your clinic effectively. While mental health and substance abuse agencies are our main focus, our software is compatible with foster care agencies, social services, equine assisted therapy, university clinics, academic counseling, family counseling services, and eating disorder clinics.