An “EHR Relationship Check” on Valentine’s Day





For me, Valentine’s Day magnifies how I’m feeling about relationships – personal and professional. If they’re good, life’s wonderful; if they’re not, then life isn’t so wonderful.

Life’s not so wonderful inside my practice. There’s a bad vibe. We’ve got relationship problems and I’m not sure why. Can you help?

Seeing red!
Signed Seeing red





Dear Seeing Red:

Hey “Red,” here’s the good news: You’re tuned in! Whether Valentine’s Day tuned you in or not, fact is, you know something’s not right with your team.  You want to get involved and fix it. In a new book, highly rated by Forbes, these leadership experts back you up:

People working for you want to please you, and therefore they don’t provide insights that could help you and your organization. The search for genuine feedback is increasingly your own responsibility.

Stretch: How to Future-Proof Yourself for Tomorrow’s Workplace
Barbara Mistick and Karie Willyerd
Reviewed by Forbes
Available from Wiley

Happy, productive relationships are vital to your practice – from creating an experience your patients appreciate to managing revenue your partners applaud. So how do you find out what’s wrong?

How to start? Yes!

Focus first on “how,” [things get done] not “what” [things get done] as you investigate what you think might be the cause of bad vibes inside your practice. You have less control over the “what,” given the rules, regulations, and best practice that guide what providers do to deliver healthcare. You have more control over the “how.”

  • How your staff reacts to workflows and processes.
  • How your workflows are designed.
  • How your staff interacts with processes and technology platforms used in your practice.
  • How your staff collaborates to create a positive patient experience.

Staff can become dissatisfied and resent workflows or systems they think are sub-optimal and can’t be changed. They aggravate their resentment every time they use the process or system they don’t like and think they can’t change.  And if they’re not talking about it [see above quote] then you’ve got the perfect storm for a slow burn that can poison staff relationships and manifest in other parts of the practice. If I’m describing anything close to what’s happening in your practice, it’s not surprising that you sense relationship issues among staff. In this eBook from NextGen Healthcare – “Practice Staffing Tips” – you’ll find some great information about staffing choices, productivity, and the role your staff plays (or doesn’t play!) to protect your revenue.

It’s not you. It’s me! (Maybe.)

It could be something else too. Maybe it’s me! Yes, I could be the source of relationship troubles inside your practice. Maybe I’m to blame for bad vibes because of how your staff is working with me – your electronic health record (EHR) and practice management (PM) system.

As an EHR, I come in different sizes and configurations with a set of my vendor’s claims and product attributes you should check for yourself. Having said that, here’s what happens when I “Google” this: Signs that it’s time to get a new EHR:

  • You’re on an EHR but you find your staff still using paper for things they shouldn’t
  • Staff is doing double entry of scheduling or billing from the EHR to the PM system
  • You’re participating in Meaningful Use but discover that your EHR isn’t
  • You can’t exchange data with other systems (e-prescribing, e-referrals, etc.)
  • You’re discovering new fees that don’t make sense
  • Your EHR vendor doesn’t offer an option to use the system on a tablet
  • Before you call customer support, you hyperventilate
  • You know your EHR has stagnated but you can’t put your finger on why
  • Your EHR does not meet the needs of your specialty practice
  • You know your EHR doesn’t fit the needs of your practice anymore – just “generally”
  • The EHR market is ready for a shake out. You don’t think your EHR vendor will survive
  • Your staff spells it out loud and clear: They hate working with your current EHR

OK I admit it. These are all valid reasons to consider replacing me. Any of the above bullets can infect communication among your staff and fester into longer-term relationship problems. But do me this one favor? Try optimizing me first?

Sensible steps to evaluate, and possibly replace, your EHR

Before you take steps to replace me, make sure you’re optimizing me – getting the most from me – your current EHR and practice management system. You may be able to fix or improve the majority of issues your staff complains about, simply by using your current system (me!) better. Optimizing your current EHR is an important step to try, before heading towards EHR replacement. A good optimization program could save you a lot of time and money. This eBook from NextGen Healthcare can help: “The Secrets of Optimizing your EHR.”

If you’ve decided you’re past the point of system optimization… that you really need to replace your current EHR system, then, best to know a) what you’re up against; b) key steps to replace your EHR system and; c) how to do it smartly.  Here are three eBooks from NextGen Healthcare that address each of these critical factors:

If you’re already considering a new EHR, NextGen Healthcare offers more than 30 product demos here.

To get “the big picture” of technology and automation options available to integrate into your practice’s workflow, go here.