Shouldn’t You Have a Healthcare IT Support Partner That Makes Your EMR System First Priority?

It’s not very often that we get a healthcare organization administrator calling that is as frustrated as our recent caller was. His name? – Let’s call him “Tim.”

Tim wasn’t our client, but his question was right down our alley.

“Is it normal for healthcare IT support specialists to spend a lot of time and attention on SAN and pretty much ignore the efficiency of an organization’s EMR system?”

When we heard his question, we quietly smiled. – Fortunately, he couldn’t see our smile through the telephone.

You see, we get this question relatively often from healthcare professionals.

Sure, it’s not always SAN that the tech is prioritizing over the EMR system. Sometimes it’s the mobile devices, the internet-based telephone system, or the virtualization technology. But whatever the technician is fixated upon falls far down the list of things that you would like him/her to put their time or energies into.

You Know How Important Your EMR System is, So Why is Your Healthcare IT Support Technician Neglecting it?

As we see it, there are several reasons that technology professionals shy away from providing adequate attention to EMR systems.

Reason #1 – Healthcare isn’t their thing.

It’s easy to put “We support healthcare organizations” on a website. It’s entirely another thing to have the experience and healthcare industry expertise to provide adequate support to a fast-paced medical organization.

Reason #2 – They aren’t familiar with your specific EMR solution.

To be fair, there are a lot of EMR management products on the market. A single individual cannot be proficient in them all. This is where hiring a team of multi-discipline, IT professionals is advantageous.

Reason #3 – They don’t want to get sucked into dealing with your EMR vendor for endless hours.

Even though the technicians that you have hired likely charge you by the hour, they still have other clients to get to and other work that needs to be accomplished. They don’t want to get stuck on the phone with your EMR system’s tech support people – or worse, get put on hold while an ill-trained help-desk attendant goes searching for someone with an answer.

Reason #4 – They can’t make any more money by optimizing your EMR experience.

Take a look at your agreement with your healthcare IT support provider. Where is there incentive to keep your EMR system running flawlessly? They have a financial incentive to fix what is broken and to sell you on new software and hardware, but some agreements are structured in such a way that any time spent on EMR system support is revenue-neutral for them at best.

What Should Your Healthcare IT Consultant be Suggesting Regarding EMR Systems Management and Maintenance Strategy?

  • Implementation – Some problems with EMR systems stem from the fact that the individuals who set them up approached the implementation like every other application instead of seeing the EMR system as the nerve center of the entire organization. This oversight cascades into faulty assumptions and incorrect initial setup.
  • Configuration – Assuming that the initial setup was done to standard, the next step is to review the entire system’s controls in relation to the actual function of an organization’s daily workflow.
  • Integration – The better EMR systems are built with integration in mind. Their websites proudly advertise all the applications with which their EMR system will natively integrate. But, as you have likely already surmised, just because an EMR system is built to work with a third-party application doesn’t mean that the integration between the two is necessarily a simple process. Even harder are the instances where a healthcare organization is using an application that isn’t in the EMR system’s current list of integrations and an integration has to be built from the ground up.
  • Automation – Let’s face it. An EMR system is supposed to make your life easier, right? So what happens when you have to input information into one application PLUS your EMR system? It just doesn’t make sense… Automation is the process of eliminating repetitive or manual processes to save you time and money. Automation eliminates extra workflow steps and gives you the time you need for other tasks.
  • Optimization – Optimization is the word we use for anything that doesn’t fall into the following categories. It refers to any change or “tweak” to an EMR system that makes that system better fit the way your team works.
  • Mobilization – By and large, healthcare organizations are not taking advantage of the flexibility afforded by utilizing smartphones and tablets in conjunction with the existing mobile capabilities of their EMR system. By making EMR system functionality available in a mobile device, an organization empowers their employees to be more innovative in their approach to patient care and more efficient along the way.

Are you looking for a more strategic approach to supporting your EMR systems? We’d be happy to have a no-obligation call with you to answer any questions you have.

We’ve got other great articles we know you’ll like. Here are three exceptional pieces.

Backup Solutions and Business Continuity Services for Healthcare Organizations (Research/Information)

Exploring the Hidden Cost of Poor Healthcare IT Architecture (Questions & Answers)

Crafting a HIPAA Business Associate Agreement Form (Questions/Answers)