You work with your EMR/PM every day. You know its strengths, and its weaknesses. From where you sit, it’s obvious that it’s time for a new EMR. Unfortunately, it’s not so obvious to everyone—including your boss. You have two choices. Live with it, or you recommend switching to a new EMR that better fits your practice.
Pitch a switch to a new EMR before the situation gets unmanageable, but not without a convincing argument. And whatever you do, don’t wing it. The right preparation and delivery will help you make your case.
PREP – If you want the best chance of making a case for a new technology solution, do your homework.
Identify the top three pain points to define how and where the clinic is wasting time and resources. Some of the most common pain points for urgent cares are:
- Workflow – Your EMR should streamline your workflow, not slow it down. If your current software is labor intensive, requires too many clicks when charting, and makes it impossible for more than one person to be in a chart simultaneously, it’s not a solution. It’s a problem.
- Patient Experience – Your ultimate goal is to ensure every patient that comes through your door has the best possible experience and feels valued. Your software should make it easy to access the information you need when you need it, guide and streamline the patient encounter, make it easy to check out, and offer patients a way to give feedback. The technology solutions you choose should make a difference to patients every step of the way.
- Business Intelligence – How do you make decisions about your business? It’s great to ask colleagues, listen to your staff, and draw from your own experiences, but in the competitive urgent care market, that’s not enough. Data pulled from your EMR and PM can give you a real-time, real-world look into what’s going on in your clinic. If your software isn’t providing easy-to-access data and the reporting you need to make smart decisions, you need a new solution.
- Coding – Accurate coding can be complex, but it’s essential to your urgent care’s financial success. Does your software work with you to simplify the coding process and suggest accurate E/M codes based on each patient encounter? If not, you’re missing revenue opportunities and delaying payment due to incorrect or incomplete submission.
- Support – There’s nothing more frustrating than waiting for help and support from your software and services partner. Are they responsive? Do they seem concerned about uptime and network glitches? Is there help available beyond traditional work hours? Do they have trouble understanding you and communicating resolutions clearly? Technology support when you need it from knowledgeable professionals that understand you and your challenges isn’t an option—it’s a necessity.
- Partnership – When you choose a software company instead of a technology partner, you miss out on the benefits that come from working with a team of experts that understand urgent care, not just clicks or reports. A partner will work with you to discover answers to your questions and solutions to your challenges. Together, partners contribute to finding better ways to provide the exceptional care patients want. Your technology partner should share your vision. If it feels like you’re working toward different goals, it’s time to find a new partner.
- Talk to other staff to compile a list of things that would make their jobs easier. Your urgent care staff knows your patients, understands your workflow, and spends time in the software every day. They are the biggest fans when things go well, and the biggest critics when they don’t. Get their pulse on the pros and cons of your current EMR so you have full support when you approach your boss about switching to a new technology partner.
- Identify the benefits of switching to a new technology partner. Be sure to explain how a new solution will address current pain points and provide additional financial opportunities. Give specific examples of how a new EMR will solve the problems identified by staff.
- Research EMR/PM solutions that are the best fit based on your goals and specialty. Have three viable options to discuss. Know the pros and cons for each.
- Locate case studies and testimonials from clinics similar to your clinic or trusted colleagues, and be prepared to use them. If possible, talk to other clinics that have switched with success, and provide phone numbers to your boss so she can ask her own questions.
- Think of possible objections and have responses ready.
DELIVERY – Once you’ve prepared your case and feel comfortable with your recommendations, it’s time to make a pitch.
- Choose the right time to approach your boss. On any given day, your boss may have lots of patients to see in addition to multiple fires that need put out. You know your workflow, so look for an opportunity to make your presentation when things are calm. Arrange to meet out of office or early in the day before business is in full gear. If you choose the wrong time to make your pitch for a switch, you may not get a second opportunity. Choose wisely.
- Be positive and confident. Your boss needs to see that you believe in your cause, and that you cared enough to do the research for the good of the business. A strong, confident stand is much easier if you’re prepared with evidence to back up your proposal, and can talk about it fearlessly.
- Talk about benefits and impact on bottom line. While your boss truly cares about patients and employees, business decisions must make sense financially. When you approach the topic, demonstrate specifically how the solution will save money, improve the revenue cycle, and lead to other financial opportunities. Include details on how your solution will positively impact personnel, resources, and space.
- Talk about improving patient care and patient loyalty. Patients are the reason you’re in business. To make a strong case for switching, provide examples of how a new EMR will help manage patient expectations, speed up workflow, and improve patient care. If your EMR and PM don’t help you deliver a better patient experience, they’re part of the problem you’re trying to solve.
- Provide specific examples of how a new EMR will solve problems. Think about your original list of pain points and talk about the specific ways new software solutions address them. Use real-life examples of how workflow, revenue, and patient care will be positively affected.
- Suggest consequences of waiting too long to change. Over time, little problems become big problems. Create a sense of urgency and have a recommended timeline prepared.
- Appeal to FOMO (fear of missing out). First adopters earn a reputation as industry leaders and trendsetters. When everyone else is doing it, there is probably a good reason. Find the reason and leverage it.
- Volunteer to help with the transition. Change is scary, but doable with the right team. Let your boss know you are willing to help plan, organize, and participate in training and implementation.
Prep and delivery improve the odds of convincing your boss that the time is right for a new EMR/PM solution. If you’re ready to hit the Internet and do some homework on your options, download part one of DocuTAP’s Switch Survival Toolkit. You’ll get resources to help you to evaluate your software and prospective EMR vendors.
Change is a big decision, and a big commitment. When you go to your boss with the evidence, you’ve planted the seeds—and started your journey to a better urgent care experience.