Moving to an EHR System: What You Need to Know

Cluttered desks, overflowing filing cabinets, dried-out pens, lost sticky notes, paper cuts… Okay, maybe paper cuts aren’t your biggest problem, but they’re just awful.

That very paper-based system many practitioners were still relying on a few months ago has been completely upended by the global health crisis. But what seemed like a sudden mad dash to switch to a digital solution is really just an accelerant to a growing trend in the health and wellness industry. Clients are no longer just looking for a knowledgeable service provider. They expect the same convenience and flexibility that’s available to them in so many other aspects of their lives. 

Now that the paper-based system has lost its place as a reliable method, private practitioners are in need of a fail-safe solution. The evolution of client care is officially here—and you’re going to need a trusty EHR for it.

What is an electronic health record?

An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital platform where you can organize and manage all of your client information and data. A basic EHR can be seen as a digitized version of your current paper-based system. However, there are EHR systems that revolutionize the entire concept by constantly innovating and tailoring the software to fit a busy practitioner’s everyday life.

An EHR, or practice management system, challenges the esoteric—and oftentimes convoluted—“pen and paper” approach. Your EHR shouldn’t just meet the basic needs of you and your clients. It should enhance your entire workflow and delight clients. 

Why is an EHR better than paper records?

A system that relies on paper records is the most susceptible to human error. Plus, it’s not easy to scale or manage—especially if you have a large caseload, have been in business for a long time, or run a group practice with multiple practitioners. Just think about all the paperwork and documentation you have to keep securely stored. And with seven years being the minimum amount of time to keep client records, that leaves you with a lot of physical baggage. 

Moving to an EHR system isn’t as difficult as it may seem. When shopping around for an EHR, consider the team behind the product. With the right team, you’ll receive the support you deserve as an entrepreneur. Because an EHR isn’t just a record-keeping software. It’s a business management tool that can dramatically increase your productivity, and give you the peace of mind that’s hard to come by as a small business owner. 

You’ll also gain invaluable training from product specialists, so you can confidently use every facet of your practice management platform. Like the famous proverb says: if you give someone a fish, they can eat for a day. But if you teach them how to fish, they’ll eat for a lifetime. Consider an EHR provider that also provides an extensive library of resources and live training, so you can eat up all the tasty rewards of entrepreneurship for decades to come. 

What are the advantages of an EHR system?

The right EHR system will consolidate every aspect of your practice and effortlessly streamline it onto one convenient, easy-to-use platform. More recently, when people think about the advantages of going virtual, they tend to only think of telehealth—since it’s largely been a lifeline for so many practices during this unusual time. However, a telehealth platform alone isn’t enough. With the rush to go digital, telehealth may have seemed like a temporary norm. But this sweeping shift to virtual care will have a resounding impact on the future of health and wellness services.

Think about how you can consolidate all of the physical and digital systems that you use—like where you take notes or how you manage your schedule. In the short term, a robust EHR will make it easier to process payments, write notes in seconds, submit insurance claims online, and satisfy the security requirements for your profession. In the long term though, it can improve the financial health of your business, and enhance your client relationships. 

Use the EHR Evaluation Checklist below to jumpstart your search.

SimplePractice EHR Evaluation Checklist

How to Transition from Paper Records to Electronic Records

Before you make the switch once and for all, make sure you follow these four steps.

  1. Create an actionable timeline — Making a business-changing decision, even if it’s a positive one, is a lot to manage. Make sure you hold yourself accountable for every step of the process, so you can have a clear transition date you can stick to.
  2. Consider your practice — If you have employees or work with other practitioners, discuss the unique needs of your practice. Get everyone involved from the beginning, so they can start to prepare themselves for the transition.
  3. Prepare for learning curves — As with anything that’s new, there’ll be an adjustment period. But with the right software provider, you’ll find a team of product specialists that can help smooth the transition.
  4. Make an informed decision — You don’t want to wake up one day and realize that the EHR platform, the very core of your operations, isn’t everything you needed. Take the time to do a free trial for any EHR you’re strongly considering. This is an important step in the decision-making process, so you don’t have to go through the painstaking process of switching EHRs later on

Popular Articles