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There is no shortage of challenges for today’s Health and Human Service Agencies. Staffing Levels, Staff Retention, Financial Management, Readiness for Value Based Reimbursement – and dare we mention Growth? – are all top-of-mind challenges for Agency Leadership. And a key to addressing each of these challenged involves fully utilizing an EHR.

As we begin to enter an Endemic Phase of COVID and assess the impacts, Agencies are looking for opportunities to see and understand Key Performance Indicators related to the challenges above. These are the management insights that create competitive advantage, and the ticket to these insights is full utilization of your EHR. Fully leverage your EHR results in “Standardization, Operational Efficiency, and Control – with a wrapper of Consistency.”

Invest in Fully Utilizing Your EHR

Across the board, agencies made meaningful investments in Operational and Financial Systems, but investments in two things remain lacking: Utilization & Optimization of the EHR across all Programs.

The evolution of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Systems has been part of the landscape for years. Yet many agencies are not fully utilizing these expensive systems fully – far from it, in fact!

Many Agencies with multiple Service Lines have a bunch of half-baked cakes when it comes to utilization of the EMR/EHR Systems. Some Program areas are using the system for a majority, but not all the system capabilities, while other Program areas are still on Spreadsheets or worse.

What You Lose When You Aren’t Fully Utilizing Your EHR

Disjointed or incomplete systems create a domino effect when it comes to reimbursements. Fiscal staff levels are higher than necessary to compensate for EHR underutilization. This then drives up Human Capital Cost, as well as creates a slower turn getting money back into the Agency. Staff are also performing a ton of manual work to translate and submit reimbursements to payers because of the low level (to no level) use of the EHR. Payers are all too happy to kick them back, giving your staff additional work, as they try to resolve them. All these inefficiencies for the Fiscal staff then get passed on into Service Delivery. Failing to fully utilize your EHR becomes a vicious cycle.

Furthermore – and more importantly – agencies lack Clean Data when such a mix of manual and partial automation is at play. Fully utilizing your EHR consistently captures all your data, making it easier to demonstrate value and to make decisions that are truly data-driven.

In the end, the agencies that fully utilize their EHR – those with an optimized EHR from intake through reimbursement” – score the wins!

Fully Utilizing the EHR – Where Do We Go from Here?

To get from Point A (no or underutilized EHR) to Point B (consistent, full use of EHR), Agencies must commit to the following initiatives. Miss any one of these elements, and you’ll fail to fully utilize your EHR.

  1. Agency Leadership must commit to the goal of improvement. (ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL)
  2. “A Plan” must be developed with the goal of defining and standardizing outcomes, one Program Area at a time. (START WITH THE END IN MIND)
  3. Programs must form teams of champions and have brutally honest dialog about how they currently manage their areas.  Identifying how the EHR is being leveraged and how much occurs outside of the system(s) must be the goal of these discussions. (FIRST SEEK TO UNDERSTAND, RATHER THAN BE UNDERSTOOD)
  4. Cross Reference to Fiscal to determine effectiveness of Services Performed to Reimbursements and to identify gaps. (DETERMINE IMPACTS)
  5. Get Outside Help from a true partner that’s knowledgeable and capable to build the path forward. (UNBIASED, HONEST INPUT & STANDARDIZED BEST PRACTICES ARE A MUST)

Stick to these five courses of action, and you’ll end up with a fully utilized EHR.

Thinking about Changing Your EHR?

Finally, if you think you’re off the hook because you already have an EHR, but you’re simply transitioning to a new EHR, you are sorely mistaken. It’s not like changing a light bulb. The whole “electrical system” needs to be overhauled to keep the (EHR) “lights on” with the new system.

Each of these commitments must also be in place for agencies looking to change their EHR, in order to ensure full utilization of their new EHR. Furthermore, work must be done prior to engaging the Software Vendor. This prerequisite work establishes a framework and begins the process of “Defining Accountability” when engagement begins.

To schedule a free EHR System Optimization consultation with a member of the enkompas team, click here.

About enkompas

enkompas powers your entire technology environment, working closely with your team to provide strategic IT solutions. With nearly 30 years of experience as a trusted managed IT services partner, our goal is to help you build a secure, scalable organizational roadmap. Contact us to find out how we can partner with your organization to increase efficiency and design an integrated technology environment that drives measurable business success.