Switching to a New EMR System: 5 Signs It’s Time for a Change

Implementing a new electronic medical record system is a costly and time-consuming venture. So, it must be handled with utmost care. But you may be having serious problems with your present EMR system, resulting in low productivity and poor quality of patient care.

Then, you need to decide whether you should continue using the present system or switch to a new EMR system. Here are some of the signs that you may be better off with a new patient record processing system.

1. Some Vital Functions Are Absent

Some EMRs don’t satisfy all the requirements of a medical facility because the features aren’t as detailed as you assumed. For instance, maybe you thought you’d have more flexibility with clinical reports. Or perhaps the scheduling module doesn’t provide adequate appointment reminders.

In some situations, a third-party add-on may help solve your problem. For example, some e-prescribing software works seamlessly with EMR products. Some vendors also provide accounting and practice management systems that integrate with their EMR.

You should stick with your present system if you can integrate one or more standalone solutions. But if you discover that the price of implementing this standalone solution is higher than that of replacing the EMR with a robust one, go ahead and replace it.

2. Ineffective Customer Support

Your EMR needs to be constantly supported by a response system through telephone, email, or live chat. The vendor or supplier agent should be knowledgeable and friendly. Here are some factors to consider when assessing your vendor’s customer support.

  • Waiting times: If you need to spend half an hour or more waiting to speak to an agent or it takes days to resolve an issue, then it’s a sign of poor support.
  • Depth of knowledge: If you have to repeat yourself many times because the agent has to hand you over to a more knowledgeable person, then this is a red flag.
  • Support availability: When support is limited to regular business hours and there’s no online facility for submitting complaints, you could end up getting stuck if you have an emergency in the night.

3. The EMR System Is Faulty or Cumbersome

Many practices have switched EMRs because their initial product was cumbersome. Some of the signs of a faulty system include:

  • Frequent error messages
  • The need to keep dismissing useless alerts
  • Having to log in many times or using several screens for authentication

If your system has any of these characteristics, then it may be time to switch to a new EMR software. However, you should explore changing the configuration.

Some EMR vendors permit users to modify the arrangement of data entry screens to improve productivity. Nonetheless, if the vendor’s training materials don’t help your team personalize the system or save time, then the software was poorly designed and you’ll most likely be better off with a new product.

4. The EMR Does Not Scale Well with Your Organization

When a practice has to take on new specialties, a well-designed EMR software should accommodate them. Unfortunately, some systems only work well for the founder of the practice and his team. As soon as the practice expands to provide service in other specialties, the system may need to be upgraded. Some of the reasons for this include:

  • Poor data sharing among different specialists
  • An unfriendly user interface
  • New hires are finding it difficult to use the system

If the system can provide specialty-specific templates for patient notes, it could be easily expanded to accommodate the new physicians that join the team.

5. Updates Are Not Released Often Enough

EMR vendors need to be committed to the continuous improvement of their product. No matter how great the system is when you first install it, you need the developers to continue making the system more user-friendly, secure, and robust. This means you’ll be offered new features at least once a year and the vendor will provide adequate user education to help you to use them. Remember that patients will continue to expect you to adopt more tech-driven solutions in all aspects of their care.

Experience a Smooth EMR System Conversion

Do you need to switch to a new EMR system that meets the needs of your practice? Take the next step and contact HEF Solutions now. We’ll schedule a free consultation to provide professional help and guidance.


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