Does your NextGen® EHR need a checkup… and treatment?

Jay Simmons, EHR Consultant Electronic Health Records (EHR)

NextGen EHR consultant working with practice

If you’re a NextGen® practice, do you feel like you’re getting the most out of its capabilities and flexibility? Or, do you and your staff feel you may have opportunities to improve?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with dozens of practices over many years as an EHR Consultant, helping to streamline NextGen® to the specific needs of each office. From my many years supporting providers I can state that as with any advanced technology, end-users shouldn’t be expected to easily master and optimize every capability of an EHR system. The NextGen® EHR platform is no exception, so I’ve laid out a few questions for you to see if your practice might need a “NextGen® Checkup,” and expert assistance including tailoring the tool to your unique practice environment:

Are you missing out on capturing key quality measures?

As we continue our transition to value-based care, so many of today’s payer reimbursement programs are driven by quality metrics – specifically closing gaps-in-care associated with HEDIS measures. Whether it’s a commercial payer, a Medicaid plan, or MACRA/MIPS for Medicare Advantage patients, quality gaps are a key metric for success in these programs.

The practice EHR must be set up to easily capture and confirm closing gaps in care for quality. Physicians and office staff should not be required to go digging three or more screens deep just to find the appropriate field. Streamlining the interface such that priority quality measures are easy to locate, and update simplifies work for the staff and assures that the practice receives credit for the services provided. NextGen’s platform supports these kinds of customizations, and I’ve helped many of my clients implement them with great success.

Do your physicians and staff spend too much time in your EHR?

As I start engagements with new clients, a common complaint I will receive from the staff is that the practice EHR is too cumbersome and requires too much time for each patient. Sometimes I’ll find that the practice has been set up with the standard “out of the box” interface which means there are any number of additional fields and screens that aren’t necessary or aren’t commonly used by the practice. In other scenarios, it’s a situation where the interface hasn’t been updated in quite a while, patient workflows have evolved, and it’s time for a refresh just to keep the process moving smoothly Lastly, some practices have become too customized – and need their templates simplified and streamlined to support their current workflows.

I like to engage members of the staff, the people that are using the tool in and out each day. These people are intimately involved in the day-to-day and really know what is necessary and what is just “in the way”. From there, we can implement the changes within the NextGen® interface and practices can see benefits immediately. In my experience, this is a great source of staff satisfaction. When you can listen to medical staff challenges, and then make measured improvements that shave EHR screen time off every patient interaction, they are very happy and thankful.

Is your EHR tailored for your specialty?

Did you know that specialty-specific templates can be created in NextGen®? Many of the practices I have supported aren’t aware of templates that can be applied to make their EHR workflow smoother and more efficient – specifically for their specialty. I have the benefit of working in practices across the country – to see what common issues and frustrations exist, and help practices create templates that help them succeed in their specialty. I see specialty practices with their EHR configured as if they’re a Primary Care provider, which can drive some of the same challenges: too many screens to sort through, too much time spent during each patient encounter, and not capturing the necessary information for quality programs. NextGen® templates available for key specialties can make a big difference, and I encourage practices to take advantage of them.

Do you “know what you don’t know?”

EHR platforms are constantly expanding in terms of individual features, capabilities and new modules. Even practices with staff dedicated to EHR operations are going to struggle to understand, let alone implement latest and greatest features. This is a common concern I hear from executives at the practices I support. “Am I taking advantage of all the EHR has to offer?” “Am I getting the full benefit of my investment in NextGen®?’” In most cases, the answer is no, but getting help is easier and more cost effective than you may realize.

Are you ready for an EHR checkup?

Practices should take the opportunity to consult with experts to benchmark areas of their NextGen® implementation against other practices in terms of areas that are performing well and opportunities to improve. Not only in terms of the NextGen® software itself, but also the abilities of the office staff and practice workflows. A resource such as Medical Advantage Group – that not only knows NextGen® software, but also how practices and specialties run and operate can help you achieve the full potential of your NextGen® solution.

Talk to one of our EHR experts today