The vast majority of clinics and hospitals have spent the better part of the last few years upgrading from paper to sophisticated EDR systems. Digitizing health data started out as a mandatory upgrade mainly due to regulations like the Meaningful Use act, among others. But now many practices are updating their systems because they want to. As of 2017 the odds are pretty good that patients walking into a clinic will be met with EDR systems instead of a mountain of paperwork.
The journey doesn’t end here though. Even as a few practices still wait to upgrade to EHRs, others are already on their second try. Most organizations spend a lot of time and money in upgrading, so why switch so quickly?
Replacing EDRs is Not Easy
In addition getting a replacement is not exactly quick or easy. You have to evaluate and select another vendor. You need to purchase brand new licenses or pay for new subscription plans. Then you need to migrate all or part of your data over to the new system. The new EDR may or may not be compatible with the new one, so you have to spend more time in converting it to the appropriate format.
And you still have to provide patient care throughout this process. You cannot simply shut down your clinic during the changeover. Everyone needs to be trained on the new system as well. The list of challenges keeps growing.
Why Replace your Current EDR
In spite of those challenges, you still find many practices switching out their EDR. Some are almost forced to do so for reasons beyond their control while others pursue replacement as part of their long term strategy.
The Product is Discontinued
There are a number of reasons why a vendor would discontinue an existing product. Sometimes they want to focus on their other products or the line may simply not be profitable. The parent company may even go out of business or be acquired by a larger competitor. Whatever be the reason, you don’t have much of a choice if you’re one of their clients. You need to move on to another EDR system. Depending on the timeline you may have to do it quickly.
Your Practice has Outgrown the System
Your current EDR may have been the perfect fit when you started using it. But now the software can no longer keep up with your changing needs. You want features that are either not forthcoming from the vendor or too slow to make an appearance. Another reason is capacity. Not all EDR systems are able to scale up or down easily. Suppose your software can only support up to 50 users and your practice has grown beyond that. In this case, you have more control over when and how you want to move over to a new EDR.
Organizational Changes within your Practice
Your own clinic will face some changes sometime or the other. Maybe you acquire another practice or merge with a hospital. They may have their own system which suits the new entity better. Or your current EDR may be inadequate for the new – and much – larger clinic. Sometimes there are a series of mergers and acquisitions between multiple clinics and hospitals. At the end of the day, it may be easier to scrap all the older systems and start over from scratch with a brand new EDR.
There are many good reasons to replace the current EDR. Though you will face challenges, implementation can be easier the second time round since you know what you want. At the end of the project you will have an EDR that is better suited to your needs.