For behavioral health and addiction treatment providers, a new electronic health record (EHR) system is a big investment. Not only does it carry a financial cost, but it requires significant time and staff effort to learn and implement.
Here’s how to make sure you get a good return on investment (ROI) with your new EHR, and aren’t spending more than you will get out of it.
Understand your goals and plans for the EHR.
Whether you are adopting an EHR for the first time or switching software, you should first understand why you are making the change. That will help you choose the right EHR for your budget, services, practice size, and other factors. Be honest about your limitations, and avoid purchasing EHR features you don’t need.
Are you a small behavioral health practice that hopes to expand in the next few years? Choose an EHR that can be scaled up to accommodate your growth. If your facility has plans to achieve accreditation, your new EHR should be compliant with any accreditation requirements.
Does your facility already have efficient processes in place? Your new EHR should accommodate that workflow. Don’t choose an EHR that can’t be adapted to your current workflow, forcing you to make unnecessary changes that can drain your time, personnel, and finances.
Be realistic about your costs and budget.
EHR cost is a big hurdle for behavioral health practices. Recent research from Software Path found that the average budget for EHR software is $1,200 per user, per year. However, solo practices may have a higher budget than larger practices, possibly due to economies of scale.
To understand (and justify) an EHR’s cost to your practice:
- Conduct a cost-benefit analysis. Consider efficiency, quality of care, and other factors.
- Take both short- and long-term projections into account when estimating ROI.
- Consider less obvious costs, such as scale of installation, consulting fees, and lost productivity during the most intense stages of the EHR implementation.
Make sure providers and staff are completely on board.
It’s no secret that adopting a new EHR solution can be a daunting process. BestNotes EHR software makes it easy with a dedicated implementor to guide you every step of the way.
Gather and address any concerns that your team may have about the new EHR. Include them in the selection and implementation process. Schedule regular meetings to keep staff engaged and informed on the process, and to hear their feedback.