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While shopping for a new computer, what if you asked for the same features you wanted 20 years ago?

“Does it take floppy disks or CDs?”
“Where do I hook it up to my modem?”
Instead of getting the best of today’s technology, you would end up buying a machine that was completely irrelevant in your life and was cumbersome to use.

The same is true for EHRs. The old way of evaluating through demos, RFPs, and feature checklists will result in getting stuck with old technology that is slow to change and difficult to use.

The time has come to disrupt the EHR evaluation process. After all, if you want an EHR that’s easy to use and configures quickly, you need a process that weeds out slow, antiquated, cumbersome technology. Here are a few tips to turn your EHR evaluation upside down and vastly improve your assessment strategy.

Apply real life to your EHR evaluation

When looking for a system that adapts to your agency, it makes sense to evaluate based on use-case scenarios instead of features. Reporting requirements and agency needs will change, and you need an EHR that can change quickly, without downtime or additional costs.

Use-case scenario questions to ask your EHR vendor:

  • What happens when I receive a new grant to expand programs and services?
  • How will the EHR accommodate new data capture and workflow configs?
  • What is the process and cost for implementing new measurements and workflows for requirements?

When you think about these questions and your historical EHR experience, you may realize that these scenarios were likely not positive experiences for your agency. This isn’t because your EHR vendor wants you to be unhappy. On the contrary, they hate losing you as a customer.

The reason agencies experience lost hours on customizations and training is simple: the majority of EHR’s for behavioral health are built on technology that is greater than 10 years old. Vendors are debilitated by outdated technology that showcases an overly-complicated user interface and requires months to implement custom code changes. But if you know what types of innovations to look for, you can find an EHR that will adapt quickly and easily to change.

Use intuition to find innovation

Netflix is a prime example of innovation over features: the company is worth over $41 Billion and has 83 million subscribers worldwide, but it doesn’t have a lot of features to tout. What it does tout is a highly innovative business model and a personalized user experience. Scanning movies on the site is simple and easy, and this is a prime example of where technology is going: user experiences that are so easy they’re intuitive.

Features vs. innovation is one of the most contentious debates in the EHR market right now. Both sides are understandable: the older EHRs have all the features under the sun because they’ve spent the last 20 years building features, albeit on older technology. The newer EHRs don’t have every feature, yet, but have the underlying technology and innovative capacity for unprecedented feature development velocity, rapid change management and a sustainable future.

To find out if an EHR runs on innovative technology that will sustain your agency through regulatory changes while offering you access to the data you need, try asking these questions:

Questions on innovation:

  • When was the software built? (You want within the last 3-4 years)
  • Is the software native cloud architected? (Please note! There’s a difference between cloud “hosted” and “native cloud architecture”. For the definition of these and other tech buzzwords, check out our EHR Technology Buzzwords eBook.)
  • Is the software configurable or customizable? (Hint: you want configurable)

Your agency needs an EHR that will adapt to your future; whether that means regulatory changes, organizational restructuring, or advances in technology. Which EHR is built to serve you now as well as whenever new regulatory changes happen? We hope this new perspective and these questions can help you find an EHR that better fits your organizational needs as well as your day-to-day usage.

Let’s talk about your future EHR. Valant offers a scalable, configurable EHR platform for enterprise behavioral health practices. Click the button below to see a demo.

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