Community and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) are under pressure. They’re juggling the needs of providers and staff, shrinking margins, community relationships, all while working to remain independent in a sea of hospital consolidation. The industry’s regulatory shifts and value-based payment models introduce additional uncertainty and confusion.
An electronic health record (EHR) is a key part of their ability to meet these challenges. CAHs need systems and vendor relationships that provide – not just core workflows – but the right combination of technology and partnership to succeed today and be ready for the changes ahead.
How do you know if your EHR has what it takes? Here’s a checklist of the things every CAH should look for in an EHR:
1) Trusted vendor partnership. It is essential to have a true partnership with your vendor, and one that can work well over a long period of time. Vendors should align with your goals and vision, and offer a portfolio that can scale with your needs over time
2) Stable costs. In an era of tremendous downward pressure on margins, CAHs cannot afford to have fluctuating costs, or be “nickel and dimed” for core extensions. Subscription models can help CAHs avoid unexpected expenses.
3) Modern architecture. Does the vendor offer a secure, modern platform that you can easily expand? Old technologies may perform similar tasks at present, but future upgrades might require expensive hardware updates.
4) Single database. With integrated systems, you can have commonalities across care settings. For example, a single database enables you to have one documentation system across all care settings, from the emergency room to nursing to inpatient.
5) Data liquidity. A single database also makes it easier to access your data across the organization. To succeed with value-based care models, organizations need to be able to easily find information and generate a wide range of reports.
6) Robust support and services. Your vendor should have the depth and expertise to help you optimize your system now and in the future.
7) Right-sized cost of ownership. CAHs should invest in a solution that will give them the right functionality at the right price. Low-cost solutions may not have all the features you need, or may be hiding costs that will appear down the road.
Focusing on these attributes will help CAHs extract value from their EHR purchase and excel in the rapidly changing world of healthcare. To learn more about how Paragon® meets the needs of Critical Access Hospitals, visit our website.