Dan Billings

Long-term care providers shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and drive the conversation with vendors when purchasing an electronic health record system, according to an industry expert.

“Think about your key goals and your discovery process,” said Dan Billings, director of HIT, Pathway Health,  in a McKnight’s Super Tuesday webinar. “[Ask yourself] What does therapy do in our building? What does nursing do? What are our key goals, such as preventing rehospitalizations? Ask the vendor: How does your system do that? Challenge your sales person to demonstrate.”

Billings emphasized that an EHR is the future of healthcare record keeping, and by delaying its installation, providers’ chances of being included in an accountable care organization or acquiring referrals will be reduced.

Facilities with EHRs have access to massive amounts of data, and can show a potential partner their rehospitalization rates, number of falls, and individualized care plans, Billings said.

Above all, an EHR demonstrates a facility’s quality of care, and can help them maximize reimbursements, making it an essential technical addition.

“You will need that technology and to have all that data in the system in order to prove your quality in this age of payment,” Billings said. “…We all have to go there, whether we like it or not. Our industry has already changed.”

An archived version of the webinar is available online.