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    Physicians share lessons learned after switching EHRs

    Cynthia Croy, MD, is the sole doctor at Family Health Center Direct in Joplin, Missouri, where she works with three support staffers. A year ago, the practice installed its fourth electronic health record (EHR) system.

     

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    Internist Albert Fuchs, MD, FACP, and his two physician colleagues switched to a new EHR system a year ago to better serve their three Beverly Hills, California, offices.

    Both Croy and Fuchs learned a few lessons while making the switch:

    Don’t rush the selection process

    Croy says she rushed from her first EHR into her second one without putting enough effort into evaluating different systems. As a result, she ended up with an inadequate system. “It was not as advertised,” she says, noting that she junked it after a year. Croy says she now knows to take her time; she spent six weeks to eight weeks selecting her third and fourth EHRs so everyone in the practice had time to consider the functions most important to them and to vet several systems before making a selection.

    Don’t ignore ancillary contracts

    Like many doctors, Croy uses automated telephone calls to remind patients about upcoming appointments. Her new EHR includes that function. However, her prior EHR did not, so she had a separate telephone appointment reminder system with different contractual obligations.

     

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    Croy says she didn’t consider that early enough in the switching process, so she didn’t cancel the contract before it automatically renewed. She had to buy out the contract, which cost her several thousand dollars. “Each ancillary vendor requires different things, so you need to look at each contract,” she says.

    Next: "We’re kicking ourselves for acting like a captive"

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