Important Insights on Choosing Electronic Medical Records Software (EMR)
Among the most critical requirements for the success of any medical practice is an efficient electronic medical records (EMR) program. While it’s good news that are so many versions of this application today, the variety tends to make choosing harder. But it can get easier with a few important insights in mind.
Here are few things you should consider when selecting EMR software for your medical practice:
First of all, decide if the software and the hardware will both be hosted by you. Application service providers (ASPs) have their own servers on which they maintain software they license out, which can be accessed by users via the Internet. This is an appropriate option for small practices having fewer IT responsibilities and cheaper upfront costs to pay. Some ASPs offer systems that are locally hosted, meaning the server will be sited in your office and maintenance procedures will also be performed there. In any case, there are risks involved when you permit another entity to handle your patient data, so you have to resolve concerns on data ownership and business continuity first before finalizing any deal.
Typically, picking a system for a small practice also often begins with product demonstrations. Vendors may not want to undergo a formal RFP process with a small practice. You should have no less than five prospective systems for review. Work with other local doctors if possible. Consider teaming up with them to simplify the process and even offer leverage with vendors too.
Whether you plan to go alone or not, it’s important to follow an established selection system. This will let you focus on reviewing your options in a consistent manner, making appropriate comparisons, and warding off distractions from sales pitches.
Creating a selection team to review your potential systems is a good beginning. Be sure to have at least one representative from all affected departments in this group. Then come up with a list of questions to ask as each candidate EMR software is reviewed. To be able to study every feature and functionality meticulously and systematically, use an evaluation matrix or any other similar tool. This will also help make sure that you have covered every single area. Then compare the programs based on three general criteria – workflow, ease of use, and cost.
Finally, during product demos, make sure all staff are involved. Everyone’s needs must be met, so as much as possible, they must be part of the evaluation process. During a demo, it’s not the salesperson who should be “driving” the product. Instead, make use of actual and specific scenarios of patient visits so you know how compatible the system is with your workflow. This is the best grasp you can have of how the system will be useful in your everyday operations.