Unhappy With Your EHR? Here's How to Improve the Situation

Ronald B. Sterling, MBA


January 17, 2013

In This Article

Maybe the EHR Is Just Plain Wrong

The other factor that can subvert the success of the EHR is that the doctor didn't pick the right product. Or, in some cases, over time the product or the practice has changed and the EHR is no longer a good fit.

Suppose you had bought an EHR geared toward your specialty practice, and now you want to branch out to become a multispecialty practice. Maybe the product isn't right for that. Or perhaps the practice started out as a 2- or 3-doctor practice and now has become a 10-doctor practice. Ten-doctor practices have different EHR issues and problems than smaller practices.

Another scenario is a vendor who becomes nonresponsive. You might have started out with a vendor because it dealt with your area of medicine, but now all of its business is in primary care, which is not your area. All of the toys that are coming out in the EHR are geared toward primary care, but you are trying to deal with surgery scheduling. You can grow away from the product or the product can grow away from you. You will have to make a move to something that is more appropriate for your situation.

If you hate the EHR, even though the EHR is competent and effective but you just don't use it correctly, consider assessing why it isn't working for you. Do you need to go back and redesign the system? Do you need to adjust how you use it so that you can be more successful? After you go through that exercise, you might have to go through a retraining process for your staff. Once you have done that retraining, you are reimplementing the EHR.

Be forewarned that some of that reimplementation might mean going back and fixing a patient's medical record going forward. Suppose, for example, that EHR users are entering medications as notes instead of putting them into the medications module. Everybody says, "We are doing drug utilization review; can we get our meaningful use points to collect our money?" You have to go back and say, "Wait a second -- the product works; we are just not using it correctly."

That's very different from being in a situation in which the product itself is bad or is really inappropriate for you. At some point a doctor may cry "Uncle!" and say, "This is not the right system for us." You have to soul-search and make sure that the product that you are buying is going to solve the problem, and make sure it's not about your practice.