EHR: Where’s the References?

The conference hall was filled with EHR vendors at the recent American Academy of Orthopaedic Executives (AAOE) conference, and yet there were scarcely any client references to be found. With only one exception, no vendors displayed the orthopaedic practice logos that represented satisfied and happy customers.

EHR: Where's the References?Why would this be the case? This is the venue for vendors to share their successful implementation stories with potential customers, and there was an eager audience shopping for EHR systems in attendance. Why is it that client logos were virtually nonexistent? Where were the references?

The AAOE conference offered orthopaedic practice administrators and physicians the opportunity to view a broad selection of EHR products. Vendors had the chance to show off their solutions, highlight their bells and whistles, and declare that the product they had to offer was the best for the attending audience.

Of course, it goes without saying that all vendors will claim their EHR is the best. So how do administrators, physicians, and IT specialists distinguish among the choices? Do they trust the claims of the vendors themselves and rely on the slick demos and information they provide? Or is it more beneficial to hear what customers have to say about the product and service provided by each vendor?

We advise practices involved in the EHR search process to require each vendor they are considering to provide a large sample (at least 10) of references in the same specialty and of similar size.

SRSsoft at AAOEIf a vendor cannot provide this to a potential customer it should be a red flag. SRS proudly displays the logos of the multitude of happy clients at every conference we attend. In fact, our conference booth is designed to showcase our satisfied customers—it’s what made us the only exception at the AAOE conference.



From the Field
by Ben Reynolds, SRS Midwest Region Sales Manager

As you can imagine, it has been a very busy time for us in the sales department of SRS. Between the ever-evolving details of meaningful use and the looming ePrescribing deadline, there hasn’t been much time spent in the office.

Interestingly, many of the prospective clients I’ve been meeting are not what you might expect. It hasn’t been the practices making their initial foray into the electronic world from paper charts that have been keeping me busy. Rather, it’s been the practices that have already attempted to implement an electronic health record (EHR) system, struggled mightily along the way, and ultimately failed to implement the system to its fullest potential.

Why is this? Based on what I see every week in the field, these struggles occur when a high-volume specialty practice attempts to implement an EHR system that was developed for an internal-medicine, primary-care clinical workflow. These EHRs are built around knowledge-based templates as the exclusive route to documentation. That may be an acceptable pathway for a physician documenting a standard SOAP note, but for the busy specialist, that path is equivalent to the switchback trails leading up Mt. Everest—an impossible and impassible trek fraught with peril and requiring many “Sherpa” (usually in the form of scribes) to make the ascent.

Now these practices are looking to SRS to solve the problems created by the failed attempts to shoehorn these narrowcast EHR systems into their practices. Why the SRS EHR? Because we have created our FlexNote™ documentation suite around a productivity-based workflow. Other companies have forgotten that the note can’t occur if it isn’t created and managed in the context of a productive workflow. We know that the physician’s encounter and documentation is best facilitated by a fully automated office—it’s what we do best. It’s why we have over 5,000 happy and successful providers in our EHR national network. It’s why we confidently post the logos of these clients on our marketing literature, our website, and our conference booths.

So, if you are thinking about replacing your current EHR system, or moving away from the burdensome world of paper charts, ask yourself: “Is my challenge only physician documentation, or is it everything that surrounds that, along with creating a more efficient and productive medical practice that provides an enhanced level of patient care?” If it’s the latter (and it should be), contact us.

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