UPGRADING ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS (EHR) SYSTEMS
Upgrading Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems is a healthcare IT service that requires careful planning and attention to detail.
When your healthcare facility’s EHR system is planning an upgrade—which may happen once or twice a year—it’s important to be prepared to leverage the latest and most advanced version of the EHR software. Each upgrade is unique and may come with new modules, capabilities, and services, perhaps to meet upcoming regulatory requirements and/or to address flaws in current technology.
Although EHR upgrades aren’t typically as complex as implementations and don’t require the same amount of planning and time investment, they can still be intricate, involving numerous key decisions. The EHR consulting experts in our professional network are experienced in the major EHR systems in the United States and are available to help make your upgrade a success.
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EHR / EMR Upgrades
HealthTECH Resources can rapidly supplement your staff for your upcoming EHR / EMR upgrade, including:
You can provide our specialists with your timeline and budget, and they’ll provide you with the insights, analyses, and upgrading know-how you need.
What to Consider With Your EHR / EMR Upgrade
With an EHR upgrade, technical requirements for your system will likely change—certainly your software and perhaps your hardware as well. So, as you plan an upgrade, carefully consider the technology aspects and how your organization must adapt. During this analysis, you’ll also need to determine how the EHR upgrade will affect your third-party software. Although your EHR vendor can share how their upgrade will specifically affect their system, they aren’t as likely to have the necessary expertise to discuss the other applications integrated into your organization’s technology.
Also, gather input from end users across roles. During a typical upgrade, your organization will have opportunities to optimize an upgrade to dovetail with workflows. So, find out how your end users feel about the current version of your application and what areas, if any, they find challenging to navigate.
Decide which of the optional upgrades you’d like to incorporate. Also important: documenting changes about how each end-user type will experience the application and using this process documentation as the basis of reference manuals and engaging training programs. The benefits of EMR upgrades can’t be fully realized if your teams can’t effectively navigate the updated software.
Also, consider patients who use EHR portals. How will their experience change? How will you educate them on the changes?
Contact HealthTECH for Your EMR /EHR Upgrade Support
As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, so will the requirements for your EHR system. At HealthTECH, we’ll augment your staff to fill in gaps and help your in-house team to accomplish your goals for how your technology will allow you to offer best-in-class patient care. To discuss specifics, please contact us online or call (602) 806-8949.
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EMR / EHR Upgrade FAQs
An EHR/EMR (Electronic Health Record/Electronic Medical Record) upgrade refers to the process of updating or enhancing your existing system to a newer or more advanced version. Reasons why you should consider upgrading your EHR/EMR system include improved functionality via new features and workflows; ensuring consistent regulatory compliance; enhanced security and addressing software bugs; better patient care via data management and analytics, maintaining vendor support; and improvements to data sharing and interoperability.
Remember, while an upgrade can offer significant benefits, it’s important to plan and manage the upgrade process carefully to minimize disruption to your organization and to ensure that you’re choosing the right solution for your needs.
In general, an upgraded system will make it easier and more efficient to manage your patient data—which, in turn, makes it more seamless for medical professionals to offer quality patient care. Each upgrade, however, comes with unique components; so, if your EHR brand announces an upgrade, it’s important to investigate what specific updates will occur. Sometimes, patient portals are enhanced; other times, the software becomes more compatible with devices and/or more secure. Overall, EHR upgrades help healthcare organizations to save time and money.
Your EHR vendor will provide you with upgrades to install. Some of them stick to a fairly regular, more predictable schedule while others will send out upgrades when sufficient updates need to be made. Some elements of upgrades are essential for the continuing functioning of the application while, on the other end of the spectrum, some are optional. Note that, although some upgrades are considered to be optional, keeping the system up to date can help organizations to stay in compliance with upcoming regulations. In general, upgrades occur anywhere from multiple times in one year to every twelve to eighteen months.
Your EHR vendor will typically inform you when upgrades for your EHR system become available. These upgrades can either be operationally essential or optional. It’s important to discern the nature of the upgrade — whether it’s mandatory for your system’s functionality or an optional enhancement. If it’s the latter, you should carefully evaluate whether the upgrade would bring substantial benefits to your healthcare organization before making the decision.
In some ways, an EHR upgrade is a mini-version of an implementation of new electronic health record software. You’ll decide how to implement, integrate, and optimize the application and what training is needed to allow end users to seamlessly navigate workflows. Sometimes, you’ll need to educate patients on changes in the patient portal. Although, on average, EMR upgrades may take six to nine months, some are fairly simple while others can be quite complex. To discuss a particular EHR upgrade and its likely timeline, please contact us online or call (602) 903-7961.
When an EMR upgrade is announced, make sure you’re clear about what it contains and why, including what’s optional and what is required for a seamless operation going forward. Check compatibility with your hardware as well as any other applications that are integrated with your EMR system. Determine what kind of training your end users will need. Consider if the EMR upgrade will affect how your patients interact with the application and what education, if any, they’ll need. Also, figure out if your organization will need to augment your staff because of a bandwidth shortage. If you’d like to discuss how HealthTECH Resources can help, please contact us online or call (602) 903-7961.
Absolutely, an EHR/EMR consulting firm can significantly aid in the system upgrade process. These firms bring extensive experience and specialized knowledge that can be invaluable in navigating the complexities of an upgrade. From assessment and planning, to implementation and integration, training and support, data migration and security, leveraging the expertise of an EHR/EMR consulting firm can ensure your upgrade process is smooth, efficient, and beneficial for your healthcare organization. To discuss an upgrade, please contact us online or call (602) 903-7961.
A well-planned and executed upgrade, tailored to your healthcare organization’s needs, can play a crucial role in enhancing patient care and outcomes. As the application becomes even more seamless to navigate and use, medical professionals can reduce administrative burden, spend less time on software usage and more on helping to provide world-class patient care—which is a key element of better patient outcomes.
Beyond the efficiency gains related to time saved, improved outcomes for patients can come in myriad other ways. Newer EHR systems may include clinical decision support tools that can help clinicians make better, evidence-based decisions, Advanced analytics and reporting capabilities can help identify trends, monitor patient progress, and provide insights. Better sharing of patient data between different providers can help ensure a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to care. And ultimately, improved patient portals or telemedicine capabilities allow patients to actively participate in their own care, access their health records, schedule appointments, and communicate with their providers more easily.