Important Insights on Choosing Electronic Medical Records Software (EMR) One of the key components of any successful medical practice is an effective software solution for managing electronic medical records (EMR). Although there are benefits to having a huge variety of these applications today, the variety makes it harder to choose. But it does get easier …
Important Insights on Choosing Electronic Medical Records Software (EMR)
One of the key components of any successful medical practice is an effective software solution for managing electronic medical records (EMR). Although there are benefits to having a huge variety of these applications today, the variety makes it harder to choose. But it does get easier with a few helpful 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. 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 option is suitable for small practices where upfront costs are lower and IT responsibilities are fewer. Some ASPs provide locally hosted systems, which means the server will be placed in your office and maintenance will be performed there too. In any case, having another entity manage your patient data has its risks, so you have to iron out data ownership and business continuity issues before committing to any ASP.
Typically, picking a system for a small practice also often begins with product demonstrations. Some vendors are hesitate to go through a formal RFP process with small practices. You need at least five potential systems for your review. Work with other local doctors if possible. 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 is the only way to ensure that you can evaluate the systems consistently, making effective apples-to-apples comparisons, and not being distracted by different vendors’ pitches.
A good way to start is by assigning a selection team that will be in-charge of reviewing your prospective systems. Be sure to have at least one representative from all affected departments in this group. Then write down a list of questions to be asked as every candidate EMR software is put on the table. Use an evaluation matrix or any other similar tool that will allow you to thoroughly and systematically study each feature and functionality. This will also help guarantee that you will not miss any areas. Then compare the solutions in terms of workflow, ease of use, and cost.
Finally, all staff should be involved in product demos. Since everyone’s needs should be satisfied, you’d like to make them part of the evaluation process as much as possible. 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.