Each EHR has its own quirkiness, it comes down to what type of quirky works for you! For example, I am a very visual person. Things have to look visually appealing and "make sense" to me in order for me to agree to particular quirkinesses. In fact, the more I think about this whole thing, the more I realize that selecting an EHR is like getting married. We have our "lines in the sand" and our "prices of admission" that are just as unique to us in a marriage as they are for selecting the software that will run their lives and either make or break the practice. With that in mind, sometimes we have to date a few duds before we find our "perfect" match. This is why almost all Electronic Health Record systems offer a trial period, which can start to get beyond frustrating (just like dating) when you think one EHR will do it all only to find out that it won't....break-up again. Many of the other systems in a private practice will run in a similar way, what works for one will not work for another.
Let me tell you a super quick story about EHRs and systems in my own group practice. I started out using Practice Fusion (I was frugal with my start up funds) which was free and it was great. My practice had three therapists all together and we accepted one insurance company, so billing through the insurance portal was easy peasy. I actually loved Practice Fusion (forms were super easy to create and integrate) until we started accepting more insurance panels and billing got complicated and expensive through Practice Fusion so I moved to using Office Ally to do my billing portion (now I have two systems to navigate) and because we were accepting more copays, we needed a credit card processing system so we started using Square (tack on this system to the other two, are you keeping count?). After a year or so of using a Google spreadsheet to keep track of payroll, payments received and such like that, I decided to start using Wave, a free accounting app (system # 4). I then decided that I should start looking into something more integrated as we continued to grow, so onward and upward with investigating what system would work best for us.
After torturing myself for months, trying new systems while trying to use current systems and see clients during a crucial period of transition in my practice, we chose MyClientsPlus. I liked that we could customize our templates and billing was relatively simple but the “add-on” features didn’t work for us so we looked into changing Square to Ivy Pay and using an online scheduler called Acuity Scheduling. I went from 6-7 systems down to three so I thought I was winning. Well, I was...until I wasn't. We continued to grow and found that while MyClientsPlus was good for a few providers it was very bulky and clunky to work with more providers and the client portal was unfriendly (at that time, to their defense they have made many improvements since then) so we had to stop “dating” and on a search I went again to find the “perfect” fit. We looked into Therapy Appointments, Therapy Notes, Simple Practice and finally Theranest which is who we eventually committed to. We have been happily using Theranest for almost two years now with very little “criques” which like in any relationship is almost impossible to accomplish.
I see people posting on recommendations for EHRs and other systems in Facebook groups all of the time and everyone offers great insight and thoughts but it is important to understand that what bothers or doesn’t work for one practice may be perfect for another so it is okay to take some time to “get to know” your top 3 contenders and then make a final decision from there. Moving from one EHR to another for a larger group practice can be expensive, time-consuming and extremely overwhelming so your best bet is to find a great one that works for you and stick to it rather than moving every few months from one EHR to another. At the end of the day, as a business owner you are put in charge of the awesome and critical duty of doing what is in the business’s best interests and with that in mind, trust that you will make the best choice at the time based off of the information that you have been given and if you outgrow on EHR, embrace the growing pains!
Author: Samantha Mahon, LPC.
Samantha is a self-proclaimed multi-tasking badass who also owns a successful group practice (Peak Professional Group, PLLC) and Peak Practice Solutions, LLC a practice management conuslting business. She is passionate about helping other professionals feel the passion and abundance that she feels every day.