Tips for Choosing the Right EHR

Tips for Choosing the Right EHR

by Joseph D'Allegro, January 24, 2020

Substance Use Disorder (SUD) providers taking part in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Promoting Interoperability Program (PIP) must select a 2015 ONC Certified electronic health record (EHR). With nearly 2,200 providers, we understand that selecting the right EHR provider can be a challenge, especially for smaller practices.

NJII encourages the overall adoption of 2015 ONC Certified EHR systems, but does not endorse or oppose any individual providers of the technology.  Rather, we seek to offer general guidance that SUD practices can use to select a suitable EHR provider, and point them to resources that can assist them.

One helpful place to get information is the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Services (NJAMHAA) site. It has a range of useful resources for practices, including a roster of approved vendors and informative networking events

Choose Your System

Two main types of EHR are available those that interface with third-party management systems that practice may already be using, and those that are fully integrated with a practice management solution. Using the former, non-integrated system is usually cheaper and faster to get up and running. On the other hand, integrated systems may have enhanced features and by not blending the EHR to a legacy network is simpler for technical support.

Check for Certification

All SUD providers must show that their EHR vendors have earned 2015 Edition Test Method certification from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). Therefore, we encourage you to review any vendor under consideration before contacting them to see where they are with their certification.

An easy way to do this is with the ONC’s Certified Health IT Product List. It not only identifies 2,168 different EHR providers but will also let you know if they have achieved 2015 certification. Visitors merely need to click on the yellow tab labeled “Cert ID” at the far left of the screen. Doing so brings up a window containing that vendor’s Base Criteria. Those with a Base Criteria of 100% are fully 2015 certified. Additionally, for documentation purposes, please request a certificate or letter from that specific vendor stating that they are in fact 2015 ONC Certified.

Also Check Compatibility

When considering a new EHR vendor, providers should consider asking them to demonstrate that their system can operate effectively with the practice’s particular computer and internet connections. 

Look for Free Updates

Federal regulation changes far more frequently than you’re likely to change EHR vendors. Providers that include automatic, free updates based on rule changes should be favored. 

Implementation

After finding the right vendor, your practice has to decide how you would like to implement the EHR system. Deploying core EHR programs all at once improves your return on investment and allows for more rapid implementation, but it could also be disruptive to the practice. Rolling out EHR functionality piece by piece will take longer, but allows physicians, clinical staff and administrative personnel to familiarize themselves with the various functions document and authorization management, e-prescribing, etc. — in a way that some may find less disruptive. The best approach for your practice depends on the technical capabilities and decision of your shareholders willingness to embrace this change.

What’s Next? 

If you haven’t already joined the SUD PIP program you may be missing out on opportunities to earn financial incentives for upgrading of implementing a 2015 ONC Certified EHR.  To learn more about the program and see the eligibility requirements please visit https://njii.com/njhin/sud/ or contact the NJII onboarding team at sudpip@njii.com