If your office is like most others, you already have an EHR. According to The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, 86.9% of office-based physicians had an EHR in 2017.
According to a 2018 poll by Stanford Medicine, seven out of 10 physicians agree that EHRs greatly contribute to physician burnout, with the majority seeking features like interoperability and user customization.
Because each practice and healthcare system runs differently, the reasons for switching are many. Maybe the support is non-existent, maybe the software doesn’t have the features you need, or maybe your vendor was bought out. In today’s busy pediatric practice, however, your time is the most valuable asset you have. In other words, you need an EHR that saves your time, not one that takes more of it.
If you’re a pediatrician and want to switch to a different EHR vendor, here are some pediatric-specific features that can help you be more efficient and spend more time with the kids and less with the computer:
Choose a Vendor Who Includes Pediatric Visit Templates and Guidelines
A vendor who offers hundreds or thousands of generic templates provides little value if they haven’t been created specifically for pediatrics. Using templates that don’t meet your needs wastes your time, and in a multiple provider location, it's easy to end up using different templates and confusing matters down the line. Look for a vendor who has added the AAP Bright Futures guidelines to their EHR. When your goals and the EHR’s are the same, you can get more done intuitively, without clicking every button for what you need.
Can You Add or Edit Sibling Family Medication or History Simultaneously?
Pediatricians have unique needs that aren’t met by a non-pediatric EHR. Sibling visits are a perfect example. Being able to update the history for all siblings in a family with a just a click or two can reduce errors and save you and your staff valuable time updating histories. When you learn that Mom was just diagnosed with diabetes, or there’s now a history of heart disease in the family, adding this information to siblings' history should be as simple as adding it to the presenting patient.
Chart in Multiple Sibling Charts at the Same Time
When one patient’s visit becomes a visit for their siblings too, the ability to create a visit and open two additional charts while still charting in the first can be a huge benefit. Being able to record those visits and then charge for them can make a dramatic difference in your bottom line. For the same reason you’d never turn down a patient if you can help it, you should always submit those claims -- after all, your practice needs to be healthy too.
Determine If the Vendor’s Patient Portal Has Tools to Protect Adolescent Privacy
One of the biggest changes in healthcare has been for patients to review their medical information online. In pediatric practices, this can be challenging as your older patients require more privacy. A vendor who is tuned in to the needs of pediatrics will make it easy to turn on privacy settings in order to hide chart information when these patients reach the age of consent, which varies from state to state.
A portal should also work as easily for parents -- when Mom isn’t sure what a rash means, but can’t make it to an appointment, an intuitive portal with secure text and photo messaging can be a connection between your patients and the office.
Vaccine Inventory Management and Data Transmission to State-Based Immunization Registries
Pediatricians can spend $500,000 or more every year on vaccines and have $100,000 in their vaccine inventory on any given day. You should have a robust inventory management with the ability to track private and VFC stock. Another essential feature is the ability to scan bar codes in order to facilitate tracking. You will also need to submit vaccine information to state immunization registries, especially when required by law. Accuracy is paramount, and scanning codes saves manual entry time and can dramatically decrease errors.
Not convinced? Check out our post on why 2D scanners can make your vaccine workflows fly by.
Using a ‘one-size-fits-all’ EHR will slow you down. When your efficiency suffers even a small amount, the negative impacts add up quickly, equating to fewer patient visits, and less revenue for your practice.
Purchasing an EHR isn’t like purchasing a vehicle. You may not know how it operates at first, and unexpected updates can throw you off. Choose an EHR vendor that works with your practice, ideas, and workflows and treats you as a trusted partner, helping you avoid pitfalls and cruise comfortably on the road to success.