Valuable Insights for Practices Looking for Good 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.
The following are considerations for you to make as you choose EMR software for your medical practice:
First of all, decide if the software and the hardware will both be hosted by you. In exchange for a license, application service providers (ASPs) sell their software, which will be maintained on their own servers and accessed by users over the Internet. This is an appropriate option for small practices having fewer IT responsibilities and cheaper upfront costs to pay. With some ASPs, hosting may be local, meaning the server will be located in your office and maintenance tasks will be performed there as well. 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.
Often, selecting a system for a small practice also typically begins with product demonstrations. Vendors may not be willing to submit to a formal RFP process when dealing with a small practice. You need at least five potential systems for your review. If you can, work with other doctors in your area. Consider an informal collaboration as it can make the selection process easier, not to mention provide leverage with vendors.
Whether or not you plan to go solo, you have to establish a selection system. This way, you can ensure consistency as you evaluate your options, make appropriate comparisons, and avoid distraction from pitching vendors.
Creating a selection team to review your potential systems is a good beginning. Make sure the group is composed of at least one representative from each department that will be using the system, such as quality improvement, nursing, billing, IT, and the rest. Then come up with a list of questions to ask as each candidate EMR software is reviewed. Using an evaluation matrix or any other similar tool can help you analyze every feature and functionality. 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. Because everyone’s needs must be satisfied, everyone should be part of the evaluation process too. During a demo, it’s not the salesperson who should be “driving” the product. Instead, use specific scenarios based on actual patient visits to know how the system really fits your workflow. This is the best grasp you can have of how the system will be useful in your everyday operations.