If your current EMR isn’t holding its own, you’re undoubtedly looking for one that will. But that’s not always an easy task. After all, there are plenty of EMRs on the market—but which one is right for you? To find out, you’ve got to not only shop around, but also ask the right questions when you do—questions like, “Is this EMR truly web-based?” And, “How does this vendor handle EMR security?” Only then will you be able to replace your subpar software system with one that makes your day. With that in mind, here are 10 questions (grouped by category) you should ask that software salesperson—before you buy:
Ease of Use
1. Is it web-based?
As I mentioned above, it’s imperative that you know whether your potential software is truly web-based—as opposed to web-enabled. While these two terms may sound close enough, there are some big differences: namely, web-enabled software still requires you to manage all updates yourself and secure your patients’ protected health information. That’s a lot of responsibility. In addition to automatic updates and secure cloud-based data storage, web-based software systems also feature 24/7 access from any Internet-enabled phone, tablet, or computer.
2. Is it reliable?
Be wary of any EMR vendor that doesn’t maintain at least a 99% uptime rate—otherwise, you may very well be dealing with prolonged downtime that could interfere with your business and thus, your bottom line. Additionally, be sure your EMR software is backed by a reliable company—one with strong solvency cues, like a solid website, up-to-date content, regular press releases announcing company updates and growth milestones, and numerous positive reviews from other users. That way, you’ll know it’s going to be around for a very long time.
3. Is it secure?
You want an EMR vendor that not only uses the SSL encryption that is standard for all online banking applications, but also offers unique user IDs and passwords so your practice’s protected health information stays protected. Additionally, be sure any EMR vendor you’re considering as a partner has a full staff specialized in online security measures that’s always available to help.
4. Is it designed for rehab therapists?
You’re a rehab therapist, and as such, you’ll most definitely want a software system that’s tailored to meet your specific workflow needs—not the needs of a generic group of providers. You can take your search for specialized software one step further by ensuring that any system you’re considering offers customizable evaluations and Smarttext—both of which will help you save much-needed time on your documentation.
5. Does it offer free support and training?
Of course, you want an EMR that’s intuitive and user friendly, but no matter how good your software system is, you may have a question from time to time, which means you’re also going to want an EMR that comes with an excellent support staff and stellar educational content—at no extra cost.
6. Does it have built-in compliance tools and alerts?
Subpar systems can be compliance nightmares. Rest easy knowing that your new software has functional limitation reporting, 8-minute rule monitoring, and therapy cap tracking as well as a smart ICD-10 picker—all built right in.
7. Does it offer integrated billing options?
In terms of potential nightmares, not getting paid properly is right up there with an audit for non-compliance, which is why it’s imperative that your new software system offer integrated billing service and software options. That way, you get to choose the billing solution that’s right for your practice.
8. Will it turn my data into business intelligence?
Successfully running a practice isn’t easy, but having a software system that analyzes your data and presents it to you in the form of meaningful, impactful, and easy-to-understand reports can certainly make it easier. Thus, be sure that your new software system will enable you to:
- Monitor staff productivity.
- Track cancellations and no-shows.
- Manage patient notes so patients’ plans of care remain up to date.
- Analyze your clinic’s compliance performance as well as your patients’ progress towards the therapy cap.
- Benchmark your marketing efforts through referral tracking and reporting.
9. Does it have tools for the front office?
The next software solution you adopt should have the tools and features necessary to keep everyone in your practice happy—including your front-office staff. With that in mind, be sure that your new system enables you to embed a customizable, branded intake form in you website, so patients can complete it before their first visit. Also, be sure your new software offers automated appointment reminders and is spot-on when it comes to user-friendly, company-wide scheduling.
10. Does it track patient outcomes data?
If you’ve been paying attention to the WebPT Blog—or industry news at all recently—you know that outcomes data is becoming critical for providers to to demonstrate their value, increase the quality of their care, and get paid. Well, now’s the time to ensure that your EMR not only enables you to collect your outcomes data, but also provides you with easy-to-read reports, so you know how your clinic is performing at the individual therapist, regional, and national levels.
The more “yesses” to these questions you can get, the happier you’ll be with your new software in the long run. Oh, and one more thing: Never sign your business away to a company that doesn’t respect you—or your data. In other words, be sure to partner with a software vendor that’s continually evolving its platform based on customer-feedback; requires no long-term contracts; and doesn’t hold any backwards beliefs about data ownership rights. That way, you can take your data with you anytime you want.
Looking for even more great questions to ask potential software vendors—as well as how to identify your system and business requirements and get buy-in from internal stakeholders to help ensure your transition is a breeze? Download your free copy of the Physical Therapy Software Buyer’s Guide