In my last post, I gave you an overview of an MSP’s role in helping medical practices migrate from paper-based files to electronic health records (EHR). It boils down to three things:
- Design the entire infrastructure on which an EHR system will run;
- Orchestrate the migration to EHR, which includes helping the practice choose the best EHR software platform for their needs, testing the software, coordinating the steps leading to deployment of the solution; and
- Training the practice how to access their data remotely, whether that location is a physician’s home, a hospital, or another office.
While these requirements are straightforward, you’ll need to be more than a garden-variety MSP to succeed. Should you choose to accept this mission, keep these three points in mind (Hat-tip to Steven Saslow of StorageCraft partner ITG for his insights):
1. Boost your available infrastructure to EHR solution standards.
The infrastructure you need to support EHR migration and support has to be backed by 100% availability (or at minimum, at least several “9s” after 99%). “Using paper [records], they’re used to having 100% availability, even if somebody has to retrieve it from another site. So single-server environments are no longer going to cut it,” says Saslow.
To provide that needed availability, you’re going to have to invest more in redundant servers and robust connections between sites, along with BDR (Backup and Disaster Recovery) solutions. For example, a multisite medical practice, where you need to implement centralized data at all locations, the WAN (Wide Area Network) solution becomes critical. “Traditional MSPs may not have a lot of experience designing and deploying larger or more robust WAN solutions, and that may be stumbling point because VPN tunnels aren’t going to cut it,” adds Saslow.
2. Partner with several EHR vendors.
As an MSP specializing in EHR migration, you need to be familiar with the various solutions out there so that you can help your potential customers choose one that’s best for them. Saslow recommends not only partnering with specific EHR companies but also going through the certification processes these vendors provide.
“You want to have a clear understanding as to what it is you’re deploying and how it works clinically in the real world,” says Saslow. “And you need application engineers who understand these [EHR] applications from the day-to-day standpoint of the user. It’s your responsibility to make sure your customers actually use and like the product.”
3. Remember you’re there to serve your EHR customers.
According to Saslow, one of the toughest things for medical practices to grasp is the additional monthly cost of an EHR solution. “The recurring costs can be expensive, and practices aren’t used to spending this additional money. Traditional MSP charges will pale next to what they’ll pay monthly for EHR,” Saslow says.
So it isn’t enough to make sure that systems are “running and talking to one another,” as Saslow puts it. You have to see yourself (and act) as a service organization first and foremost. In addition to providing training and support for these EHR solutions, you need a strong understanding of needs and gap analysis, along with knowledge of HIPAA and other relevant regulations pertaining to EHR. “And you have to have the proper resources to perform these functions internally,” Saslow says.
Do you have additional suggestions on how to be an EHR superhero? Let us know in the comments section!