Top Considerations for EHR Software Requirements

The 2009 HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health) Act boosted the usage of EHR (Electronic Health Records) across the US healthcare industry.

Additionally, dynamic advantages of the EHR system such as better care coordination, secured data transfer and storage fueled the adoption and development of EHR solutions across care facilities. Healthcare facilities are opting for customized EHR software development to meet their unique in-house needs.

Before opting for EHR development, its essential to note requirements for hospitals/clinics, users, and for EHR implementation and development. These requirements helps to manage not only budget, but also plan an EHR software development roadmap. Here is a checklist on essential EHR software requirements.

Why Create a List of EHR Software Requirements?

EHR software requirements is essential to rope in vendors for electronic health records implementation and development. These requirements gives a fair idea to development companies whether they can go ahead with the project or not. It also helps vendors to devise strategies to fulfill all requirements.

Further, requirements help to determine EHR features list that best compliments with practice goals, user needs, and type of EHR needed. Without a well planned requirement gathering process, practitioners may end up selecting an EHR that’s not fit for them.

At times, six months into project, developers and even stakeholders can forget its requirements and objectives. Hence, its vital to clearly define requirements to offer teams clarity and help them to stay focused. Additionally, structuring EHR requirements saves money and time invested in a project.

Poor requirement gathering stage results in choosing a software that isn’t fit for a clinic or hospital, and risk hampering patient outcome as well.

Crucial Considerations for EHR Software Requirements

1. Define Practice Goals

Goals and mission statement in medical practice isn’t just a piece of document, but is a purpose that’s accompanied with a strong commitment.

Practice goals sets the stage for future success of clinics and hospitals. Therefore, its essential to define short-term and long-term goals by reflecting on what patients need? What’s to be achieved by EHR implementation? Is there a need to switch EHR software to attain long-term goals? Which EHR functions and features will help to meet future practice objectives?

These questions help to set clear and well-defined practice goals. Lack of clarity on why and which EHR requirements are needed by healthcare providers, leads to poor treatment, patient unsatisfaction, and mismanaged healthcare data.

2. Determine Vital EHR Features

Select EHR features that best compliment with practice goals, and requirements gathering process offers a foundation for feature selection criteria.

At first, there are lots of ideas brimming in mind, and staff are likely to suggest and review a bunch of feature ideas as well, hence consider prioritizing vital EHR features. This makes it easier to select only those features that align with practice goals and EHR software requirements.

Further, consider evaluating all features based on ways in which they can add value to end users’ needs. With stakeholders, management team, and medical staff involved in feature selection, it can be challenging to know where to begin, hence prioritization can be the key in EHR feature selection.

To note, it isn’t possible to implement every feature that staff and stakeholders demand, thus best to manage expectations rather than facing disappointment faces.

3. Consider User/Patient Needs

The final step while creating EHR software requirements is understanding user or patients’ needs. Installing an EHR system that fails to satisfy or benefit patients, results in the downfall of healthcare facilities. To understand patient needs, consider opting for feedback or reviews, and then prepare a list of requirements that best suit them. Some of the common patient needs to consider while creating EHR requirement list are –

a. Duplication of Tests: Lack of access to medical records results in conducting tests multiple times. This negatively impacts time, money, and resources. EHR solution helps providers and patients to timely access ePHI (Protected Health Information) for further treatments.

b. 24/7 Access to Medical Records: Ability to access medical records anytime and anywhere helps to double-check information and easily get test results online. This also promotes remote patient monitoring (RPM), higher patient retention rate, and ability of doctors to better care for patients.

c. Coordinate Care: An EHR system helps healthcare providers to access recent data from patients’ charts in times of emergencies or after hours clinic.

Essential EHR Software Requirements

EHR software requirements include security certifications, mode of deployment, data management, performance reporting, and more. Ensure to check these while buying and installing an EHR software.

Consider evaluating whether the software is capable of providing a broad spectrum of benefits and scalability. Additionally, check whether it is capable of recovering from failure instantly – availability of data backup and recovery systems.

Another factor to consider is that EHR systems can be implemented through SaaS cloud-based EHR and private servers i.e. on-premise. Cloud-based EHR is preferable as it offers enough storage capacity and efficient data management.

Moving on, it’s recommended to onboard an EHR that integrates well with other healthcare software such as medical billing, practice management, etc. Furthermore, gaining clarity on interoperability capabilities beforehand helps to assure seamless EHR incorporation.

1. System Requirements for EHR Implementation

These include all hardware, software, and certifications needed for installing an EHR system (this is a non-exhaustive list) –

a. ONC-ATCB (Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT) – for complete EHR/EMR module testing and certification.

b. APIs

c. Cloud and on-premise deployment mode

d. Desktop/laptop/tablet operating systems

e. All Meaningful Use requirements

f. Storage and backup devices, and system

g. Electronic document management system

h. Document scanners, imaging tools, and other devices

2. Requirements for EHR Software Development

EHR software development require tech stack with added customization, which consist of –

a. Front End Development:

Languages: JS, CSS 3

Libraries: React, Vue.js

b. Back End Development

App Frameworks: Laravel, Opal

Server: NGiNX

Hosting: VULTR, AWS

Databases: Redis, My SQL, Memcached

These were top EHR software requirements for development and its implementation. If you’re looking to install or switch to a new EHR/EMR system, then Arkenea can help you with it. With over 10 years of experience in developing healthcare software, Arkenea will ensure that you get cutting-edge EHR system for your healthcare facility.