In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, nursing facility providers are recognizing the significance of transitioning to advanced Electronic Health Record (EHR) software. This shift is driven by the need for streamlined operations, improved resident care, and enhanced compliance with industry standards. As nursing facility providers embark on the journey of changing their EHR software, it is crucial to ask the right questions to ensure a seamless transition. Here are the top 10 questions nursing facility providers should consider when considering new EHR software.

What specific challenges or inefficiencies are prompting the change to new EHR software?

Understanding the current pain points and challenges is essential for selecting EHR software that addresses the unique needs of your nursing facility. Identifying specific areas for improvement sets the stage for a targeted and effective transition. Does the software include the features your current software is lacking, such as: activity dashboard, clinical alerts, assessment management, billing/invoicing, care plan management, claims management, etc.

How will the new EHR software integrate with existing workflows in your facility?

Seamless integration is key to minimizing disruptions in daily operations. Evaluate how well the new EHR software aligns with your current workflows, ensuring a smooth and efficient transition for staff. Will the software integrate and/or communicate with vendors such as: therapy, pharmacy, wound care, MD/NP communication, lab/radiology, dietary services, environmental services, etc.? In addition to clinical documentation, does the software include or integrate with Finance and/or Human Resources?

What training and support options are available for staff during the transition?

Staff training is critical for the successful adoption of new EHR software. Inquire about the training programs and ongoing support mechanisms to empower your team throughout the transition process. Are there additional fees for training?

Can the new EHR software be customized to meet the unique needs of your nursing facility?

Every nursing facility has its own set of requirements. Ensure that the selected EHR software allows for customization to accommodate specific workflows, reporting needs, and resident care protocols. Does the software allow the facility to modify pre-defined assessment and/or create your own assessments? What is the cost and typical timeline for customization?

What is the track record of the EHR software provider in terms of successful transitions in similar healthcare settings?

Investigate the provider’s history with successful transitions, particularly in nursing facility settings. Case studies and references from similar environments can provide valuable insights into the software’s performance and adaptability.

How does the EHR software address scalability to accommodate future growth and changes?

A forward-thinking approach is crucial. Assess the scalability of the EHR software to ensure it can adapt to the evolving needs of your nursing facility, including potential increases in resident numbers or expanded services. Does the software accommodate different levels of care, such as Assisted Living?

What measures are in place to ensure data security and privacy compliance during and after the transition?

Protecting resident data is a top priority. Evaluate the security features of the new EHR software, ensuring compliance with privacy regulations and robust measures to safeguard sensitive information. Is the software cloud/web based or stored in an onsite data base. What is the back-up plan for software downtime or an internet outage?

What is the total cost of ownership, including any hidden fees or additional expenses; and pricing options?

Transparency in cost is essential for budgeting purposes. Obtain a comprehensive understanding of the total cost of ownership, including licensing fees, implementation costs, and any potential hidden fees. Will new hardware be required? What are the pricing options, does use of the software consist of a monthly subscription, annual subscription or a onetime license fee?

How does the EHR software facilitate interoperability and data exchange with other healthcare systems?

Interoperability is crucial for collaborative care. Verify that the EHR software aligns with industry standards to enable seamless communication and data exchange with other healthcare providers and systems.

What outcomes or improvements can you realistically expect from the transition to the new EHR software?

Set clear expectations for the outcomes of the transition. Discuss with the EHR software provider what improvements and benefits can be realistically achieved in terms of resident care, operational efficiency, and compliance.

Changing to new EHR software is a significant step for nursing facility providers, paving the way for improved resident care and operational efficiency. By addressing these ten essential questions, nursing facility administrators can navigate the transition with confidence, ensuring that the chosen EHR software aligns with their unique needs and goals. Embracing the future of healthcare technology is not just a necessity but an opportunity to enhance the quality of care and outcomes for residents in nursing facility

Software is an essential tool for charting and MDS accuracy. Make plans to join Proactive for upcoming trainings that prepare your team to capture critical information in the medical record through effective documentation, coding and facility systems. Documentation In Depth begins January 16, 2024 and The Impact of the MDS begins February 7, 2024. For those new to MDS, register now for MDS Orientation January 22-24, 2024 to start your MDS department on the right path.


Angie Hamer, RN , RAC-CT
Clinical Consultant

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