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Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are digital versions of the paper records used in nursing homes, Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), and other long term care facilities. They include residents’ medical history, allergies, medications, immunizations, lab results, and more.

Should a facility administrator consider adopting an EHR system, an EHR demo is an excellent way for them to see how an electronic health records system works. EHR demos can be conducted in person or online and can last anything from 30 minutes to an hour.

During an EHR demo, a vendor will typically show off the key features of their EHR system and how nurses and other nursing home staff can use it to streamline workflow and improve patient care. They will also answer any questions that potential buyers may have.

The key features that an effective long term care EHR must have—which administrators should look for during an EHR demo—include:

Nurse confidently administering medication to a resident, having used the facility's ePrescribed software first seen in an EHR demo.
ePrescribing eliminates trips to the fax machine to send pharmacy orders.
  • An MDS (Minimum Data Set) module: The MDS is a federally-mandated assessment process that long term care facilities must use to assess residents’ needs and care plan goals. The MDS module in an EHR system can electronically and automatically capture resident assessment data (if the resident file is uploaded into the nursing home EHR), which nurses can then use to generate personalized care plans.
  • A care plan system: This is used to develop, track, and monitor residents’ care plans. It should be easy to use and allow for collaboration between different members of the care team.
  • eDocuments: These are digital versions of important documents, such as the resident assessment, care plan, and progress notes. They can be stored in the EHR system and accessed by authorized staff members from any location.
  • eAssignments: This is a module that allows nursing homes to electronically assign tasks to staff members and track their progress. It can be used to assign all kinds of tasks, from medication administration to wound care. In addition, this module allows for internal messaging in a facility and important resident alerts.
  • Physician Orders: The purpose of this software is to make an electronic medication management system more efficient and accurate. Not only does it help reduce errors, but it also has the potential to improve resident safety by making orders easier to keep track of 
  • ePrescribing software: ePrescribing is a must-have for any long term care EHR system. ePrescribing eliminates trips to the fax machine to send pharmacy orders by replacing with electronic messages that are considerably faster. In addition, as a paperless system, it works in the background to handle processes by following facility rules and reducing medication risks, thanks to the elimination of illegible handwriting and transcription errors.
  • eCharting: Electronic charting is one of the most important features of an EHR system for nursing homes. It allows nurses to chart resident information electronically, which can save time spent on documentation while also improving accuracy. Brian Free, an IT specialist at Chatuge Regional Nursing Home, experienced the benefits of an efficient eCharting and med pass software first-hand. His nurses were previously requesting transfers due to the cumbersome charting software they had. But by switching to Experience Care, Free was able to increase nurse retention by 25%, as they found the new long term care software easy to use.
  • Point of Care charting software: With Point of Care software, CNAs can electronically chart residents’ vital signs, care delivery, and Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) at the point of care. It is a convenient way for CNAs to document resident care that improves workflow, increases documentation accuracy, and reduces medical errors.
  • Electronic Kardex: This is an interdisciplinary communication tool that gives nurses a complete picture of a resident’s story, from code status, language, interventions, continence, personal eating and sleeping preferences to the assistance they require from nurses and aides.
  • KPI (Key Performance Indicators) dashboards: These provide administrators with real-time data on facility performance. KPI dashboards can be customized to track whatever is most important to the facility, whether that be infection rates, falls, or readmissions.
  • General ledger and other financial modules: Financial and accounting modules can help financial staff track the facility’s financial performance. It can be used to generate reports on revenue and expenses, track accounts receivable and payable, and more.

The above features provide several benefits, including:

  • Improved quality of care: With an EHR system, all residents’ medical information is readily available in a cloud-based storage system. This allows staff to access and make informed decisions about their care while ensuring they provide customized care catered to a resident’s unique needs.
  • Reduced paperwork: A long term care EHR system can reduce the amount of paperwork that staff have to deal with on a daily basis because all data is digitized. This frees up time for staff because they no longer need to sift through piles of paperwork. Instead, they can focus on more crucial tasks like caring for residents.
  • Improved communication: Thanks to the speed of electronic messaging, nursing home EHR systems can make it easier for staff to communicate with each other and with other external healthcare professionals. This ensures everyone is on the same page and updated with the latest residents’ care information.
  • Increased efficiency: EHR systems can streamline workflow and make it more efficient on account of their automation capabilities. This can save time and money for long term care facilities, as they need less staff to complete tasks.
  • Enhanced resident information security: An EHR system protects residents’ medical information by keeping it confidential thanks to data encryption and password or biometric authentication. This is important for safeguarding residents’ privacy and ensuring their information is not misused. For this, an administrator must always ensure that their long term care software vendor is HIPAA compliant.
  • Increased revenue: EHR systems can help long term care facilities to improve their billing and coding processes. This can lead to increased revenue for the facility.

Having looked at the features and the benefits of using an EHR system, we will now dive into the demo process and what facilities can do to ensure they make the most out of their long term care EHR demo.

The Ultimate Guide to EHR Demos for Long Term Care Facilities

For long term care facility administrators, choosing the right EHR system is crucial for the success of their business and the health of their residents. But with so many options on the market, it can be tough to know which EHR is the best fit.

Prior to settling on an Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendor, key decision makers should see the software in action. EHR demos can be a helpful way to compare different vendors and analyze which one is most appropriate for an organization.

Leaders should take advantage of a point of care EHR demo to better understand each EHR system’s features and functionality. By doing so, they can make an informed decision about which EHR vendor is the best choice for their organization.

EHR demos can be a helpful way to:

  • Compare EHR vendors
  • See the EHR software in action
  • Understand the features and functionality of each EHR system
  • Make an informed decision about which EHR vendor is the best choice for your organization.

Here is a guide that long term care facilities can use to ensure that their EHR demos are successful.

Narrow Down Your List of Vendors

You can improve the selection process by researching or talking to other long term care administrators about which EHR system they use and why. During this stage, objectivity is vital. Administrators should not base their decision on a vendor’s reputation or marketing materials alone. Instead, they should take the time to read independent reviews and compare EHR features side-by-side.

Use a scoring matrix in which stakeholders assign a numerical value to each function or usability characteristic on a scale of one to five, with one representing the lowest priority and five representing the highest priority. Using this data—as well as information obtained from various blog pages, review sites, and case studies—an organization can rank how well a vendor aligns with its requirements.

The total score can then be used to rank the EHR software providers from the highest to the lowest, with those scoring the highest being chosen for a software demo. Depending on the budget and the size of the facility, smaller ones may choose five, while larger organizations with multiple locations may choose as many as ten EHR software vendors to demo.

Also, one should not forget to look for a vendor that also offers financial software with its EHR. This is something that should also be tested by financial staff during the EHR demo.

Create a Demo Team

After the EHR vendors have been selected, the next step is to create a facility demo team who will meet with the vendors and assess the software’s features. This team should be composed of individuals from various departments within the long term care facility, including clinical, financial, and IT staff.

The reason for this is that each department will have different requirements and interests when it comes to choosing an EHR system. At a minimum, the demo team should consist of:

An EHR demo team tasked with assessing software during EHR demos.
A demo team should also have an assigned project manager who ensures that all stakeholders have a voice.
  • Clinical/healthcare staff: Clinical/healthcare staff includes physicians and nurses who are primarily interested in EHR features that help them with clinical tasks, such as charting and medication management.
  • Director of Nursing (DON): The DON is responsible for overseeing the nursing staff and ensuring that the EHR system meets their needs. They will be interested in EHR features such as care planning, shift management, and nurse staffing.
  • Financial staff: Financial staff includes accountants who are interested in EHR features such as EHR billing, accounting, and PDPM reimbursement capabilities.
  • Front office staff: Resident transfers and resident admissions are handled by front office staff, so they will be interested in EHR features, such as resident information management and document imaging and scanning capabilities.
  • IT staff: IT staff will be responsible for setting up and maintaining the EHR system. This can involve installing the long term care EHR on the facility’s servers. So they will be interested in EHR features, such as system administration and data security.
  • Administration: The administrator is responsible for the overall operation of the long term care facility. They will be interested in EHR features, such as workflow management and reporting/analytics. In addition, they need to be present to weigh the cost of the EHR against its features and benefits.

The demo team should also have an assigned project manager who is responsible for coordinating the EHR demo process and ensuring that all stakeholders have a voice. By having representatives from each department on the demo team, all of the stakeholders’ needs can be considered when making a decision about which EHR system to implement.

Create the Necessary List of Requirements and Gather Other Material

Once the demo team has been assembled, the next step is to create a list of requirements, based on the input from the entire EHR demo team. This list should then be used to guide the EHR demos.

The list of requirements should include both functional and non-functional requirements. Functional requirements are those that relate to the EHR system’s functionality, such as its ability to track medications or schedule appointments. Non-functional requirements are those that relate to the EHR system’s performance, such as its response time or uptime.

In addition to the list of requirements, the demo team should once again create a scoring matrix, which they can use during the long term care EHR demo process. This scoring matrix will help the team to objectively compare and contrast the different EHR systems under consideration.

Finally, the demo team should also gather any other relevant material—prior to booking an EHR demo—such as brochures or data sheets from the EHR vendors. This material can be used during the EHR demos to help the team get a better understanding of each vendor’s offering.

Know What To Expect

The EHR demo process can be long and complex. Most EHR vendors will start by giving a high-level overview of their system, which will give insight into the EHR’s features, benefits, and pricing model. The vendor will then likely give a demonstration of the EHR’s functionality.

During the demonstration, the EHR vendor will use a variety of different scenarios to show how their system can be used in a long term care setting. These scenarios may include tasks, such as charting, ordering medications, or scheduling appointments.

Following the demonstration, it will be the demo team’s turn to ask questions. The team should use this opportunity to clarify any points that they didn’t understand during the presentation and get more information about features that are of interest.

Throughout these stages, the organization’s demo team will let their list of requirements guide their evaluation of each nursing home software and note how well each EHR system meets their needs. Then they will use the scoring matrix to score the different options.

A typical EHR demo process will look like this:

  1. Call from the representative of the long term care software: The sales representative will ask questions to determine what type of long term care facility you have, how many beds your facility has, and why you are looking to purchase their system, i.e., the problem you are trying to solve. This call is only meant for the vendor to get basic information about your facility.
  2. Discovery call: This is the second call, where you will meet with the clinical engineer and the sales rep, who will share a slide deck that explains their process. This call is primarily for the software vendor to understand your facility’s needs and wants, get to know the company as a whole, and see if they are a good fit for your organization. At least one clinical and administrative staff member should be at this meeting. The questions asked will seek to determine if you are currently on paper and, if not, find out which EHR you are currently using. 

You don’t need to prepare very much for this meeting. It is the vendor’s job to “hold your hand” at this stage. Just think about why you want an EHR (ex. to improve workflow or increase efficiency) and how you imagine it will improve your outcomes (ex. better compliance and improved survey performance). Basically, in an ideal world, if you could build a system that would do everything you wanted it to do, what kind of things would you like it to do for you? Take that and communicate it here.

  1. The demo: Don’t feel intimidated during the demo. You don’t have to be tech-savvy, as the vendor won’t ask hard questions. Rather, the software vendor team will simply use the information you gave them in the discovery call to demonstrate how their software can meet all your needs. Just remember to keep in mind what led you to shop for EHR to begin with—how to better track incidents and infections; moving away from paper; or maybe the old EHR is complicated, and nurses are not using the system 100 percent of the time.
  2. A week after the demo: An assessment call will be made by the software vendor’s sales team to determine what kinds of forms you use and, if they are on paper, how they can digitize them. Also, the vendor’s sales team will do a clinical or financial assessment. It is best that your facility’s DON, MDS coordinator, and social worker be present at this stage, as they need to determine things like whether the software can work with the facility’s pharmacy and if the system works with the facility’s labs. Introduce everyone and do a quick recap of your facility (who we are and what we do). It is essential for everyone to know that the software will work for their specific discipline. 
  3. About two weeks later: Here, the vendor sales team will get back to you with a custom mockup for your facility. Their aim is to show you what your documentation would look like digitized on their long term care EHR. This is the formal demo, with the EHR customized to your facility. The “dummy data” will be used by the vendor sales team to simulate multiple tasks and multiple scenarios that occur at your facility.

With some vendors, there is often confusion during the EHR demo, as the person you meet during the discovery call isn’t the same person you will meet during the assessment call. That is not the case with Experience Care, where you will always see a familiar face. This is because Experience Care is an EHR software vendor that believes in building relationships and treating its customers like family. This means that the first person you will meet during the discovery call will be the same person you see two weeks later during the formal demo. 

The advantage of this is that your facility does not have to constantly re-explain the same concepts to the vendor. As for their customers, Experience Care offers them “sure survey services,” meaning that if the facility has a survey, Experience Care survey experts will go into their system and help them prepare for it. Lastly, customers get to enjoy an account review once a quarter. In this session, the software is optimized for any new changes at the facility, ensuring staff are utilizing the system to maximize efficiency.

Contact us here if you would like to test drive our user-friendly long term care EHR.

Bonus Tips To Remember for an EMR demo

The above-mentioned tips can be used for either an EMR demo or an EHR demo, ensuring that a facility gets the best EHR charting software for its needs. Read about the differences between EMR and EHR here. In addition to the aforementioned guidelines, we would like to share Health IT’s bonus tips that all healthcare providers can use as they plan their EHR demos:

A long term care physician content with the facility's new software following the EMR demo.
If a facility has fewer than five demos, it will not have fully explored the varying functionalities offered by long term care EHR providers.
  • A good number of demos for a facility to have is something between five to ten software vendors. If a facility has fewer than five, they will not have fully explored the different functionalities different long term care EHR providers offer.
  • Be clear about what software and features you want to see when scheduling a demo.
  • Always come prepared with a list of questions that you have for the vendor.
  • During the EHR demo, try not to interrupt with too many questions. Ideally, write the questions you may have down and wait until the software demo has concluded to ask questions.
  • If the demo takes place remotely, ensure you have a stable internet connection in advance.
  • If you are narrowing down on a software vendor, request references from their previous or existing clients. The vendor should offer them to you for free. EHR references that the long term care vendor provides should be a facility similar to your own, so you can compare their experience with using the software.
  • Narrow down to two vendors, so you have a better negotiation position when negotiating your EHR contract.

These tips will prove to be invaluable to administrators and help any long term care facility get the EHR system that is best for their needs.

Why an EHR Demo Matters in Long Term Care

An EHR demo is important in long term care, as it allows the facility to see the features of the long term care EHR and get a feel for how it would work in their own setting. An EHR demo process can be long and complex, but it is worth going through in order to ensure that the facility gets the best EHR system for its needs.

The EHR demo process includes a variety of different stages; from the vendor overview to the demonstration of the EHR’s functionality. Throughout these stages, the facility should use their list of requirements to guide their evaluation of each EHR system and take note of how well each EHR system meets their needs.

Ultimately, the EHR demo process is important because it allows the facility to make an informed decision about which EHR system is best for their staff’s and resident’s needs.

For more on recent trends in long term care, read our blog and subscribe to the LTC Heroes podcast.

Elijah Oling Wanga