Time to Switch EHR Systems? The True Business Cost of Keeping a Bad EHR

The High Price of Low-Tech: Strategic Insights to Switch EHR Systems

Upgrading from an outdated and inefficient Electronic Health Record (EHR) to a modern system is a complex process, and it may initially seem like the cheaper option is to stick with what you already have. However, there are numerous hidden costs that will dramatically impact your resources and your organization’s long-term success. An efficient EHR is crucial for effective client treatment, administrative tasks, meeting state reporting requirements, and getting reimbursement.

Upgrading your EHR to a system that is optimized for your specific practice will have profound benefits:

  • Reduced provider burnout
  • Reduced administrative work
  • Reduced claims denial
  • Increased revenue capture
  • Increased client engagement
  • Increased client volume
  • Improved client outcomes

In this article, we review the hidden costs of holding on to an outdated EHR and how transitioning to a new system unlocks massive growth opportunities.

The Burden of Bad Technology

Reduced Provider Productivity and Increased Burnout

Your providers entered the behavioral health field because they wanted to make a difference in the lives of others, not spending their day filling out data fields and stuck on an administrative treadmill. Even if your EHR has the tools you need, they can still have several issues that makes them hard to use:

  • Too many clicks to complete an action
  • Outdated and generic workflows
  • Cluttered menus
  • Non-intuitive digital pathways
  • Lengthy load times
  • Poorly integrated third-party telehealth solutions

Over time, these issues build frustration and contribute to burnout. With full-time providers spending an average of 5.9 hours a day using their EHR, a system’s ease of use impacts their ability to complete work. Even something as simple as lowering the number of clicks it takes to complete an action adds up with each client they see.

Burnout is a significant issue for the behavioral healthcare industry, and it is especially prevalent with certain mental health professionals who self-reported a 78% rate. In a field where empathy and client outcomes are intertwined, keeping provider stress levels low is paramount.

The Qualifacts EHR platform addresses burnout through these areas:

  • Less time spent on costly admin activities and cumbersome data entry
  • Intuitive workflows and role-specific processes that reduce frustration and inefficient activities
  • More time spent working directly with clients
  • Intuitive interfaces and systems designed specifically for behavioral health practices

These benefits reduce burnout and decrease turnover. Hiring and training new staff drains resources and negatively impacts the efficiency of other care providers. In addition to hiring costs, clients may be uncomfortable changing providers, especially if it’s in the middle of their care journey. Clients may stop seeking treatment or even follow a provider to a different practice, losing clients in addition to losing providers.

Administrative Burden and Missed Revenue Opportunities

Your EHR has a major impact on your administration team who work within the system even more than your providers. Old technology and outdated processes can compound issues for your administration team:

  • Incorrect or missing billing codes
  • Claims denials
  • Claims appeals
  • Lost revenue

Modern behavioral healthcare technology ensures claims are submitted correctly the first time. New system integrations can suggest aid in billing and revenu cycle management tools.

Robust billing rules engines like Qualifacts’ ensure that every appointment is properly billed with relevant codes, modifiers, and additional requirements, while flagging any claims that need more information before they’re submitted. This drastically reduces denial rates and reduces time spent on manually checking individual claims.

Reduced Client Satisfaction

Not only is your staff affected by using old technology, but your clients are as well. Slow and overly complex systems result in client frustration and decreased engagement. This frustration leads to several issues:

  • Limited emotional connection with clients
  • Decreased attentiveness
  • Client detachment and decreased clinical participation

Behavioral healthcare providers need to be in an appropriate mindset when working face-to-face with clients. Technology should foster connection between providers and clients, not something that hinders that rapport. This can result in clients being dissatisfied with their treatment and their provider.

How to Improve Patient Engagement with Your EHR

Your EHR system should have a functional and engaging patient portal. It should provide access to client information, and it should also have features that improve their care journey:

  • Secure communication between client and provider
  • Educational materials and resources
  • Ability for clients to update insurance and payment information
  • Appointment scheduling options and automated reminders
  • Billing notices
  • Expiring insurance and payment notices

Patient portal tools like Qualifacts’ integrate directly into your practice’s website, making it easy for prospective clients to sign up for appointments, especially when trying to initiate their behavioral health journey. A robust patient portal allows your clients to take more initiative in their own care by making it easy for them to interact with your team and get the treatment they need.

Investing in Your Practice’s Future

Implementing a new EHR is one of the best investments you can make for your practice as both the short and long-term benefits of a modern system far outweigh the costs of stagnation. When you’re ready to switch EHR systems, you don’t have to do it alone. Qualifacts has created an agency agnostic EHR Buyer’s Guide that helps you know what to look for when conducting research. We also have several articles and other resources on our website where we dive into specific features and qualities you should look for in a new EHR.


Contact an EHR Software Expert

At Qualifacts, we are committed to serving behavioral health, rehabilitative (PT/OT/SLP), and human services organizations by providing top-rated EHR solutions and services. Our team consists of seasoned professionals with hands-on clinical and administrative experience in these vital service areas. We understand the unique challenges you face and are here to assist you in selecting the most suitable solutions for your organization’s needs. Let’s kickstart the conversation that can transform your services. Complete this brief form to get started.