Valuable Insights for Practices Looking for Good 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 it’s good that there are so many available versions of the application nowadays, it sure makes choosing so much harder. 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 off, you need to decide if you want to host both the hardware and the software yourself. 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. 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, allowing another entity to manage your patient data comes with risks, so you need to clear out issues on data ownership and business continuity before you commit to any ASP.
Often, selecting a system for a small practice also typically 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 physicians in your area if you have the chance. Consider collaborating with them to ease the choosing process and even provide leverage with the vendors.
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. 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 create a list of questions to be asked while reviewing every candidate EMR software. 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 guarantee that you will not miss any areas. Then compare the solutions in terms of workflow, ease of use, and cost.
Lastly, the entire staff must be involved during product demos. Everyone’s needs must be met, so as much as possible, they must be part of the evaluation process. Don’t let the salesperson “drive” the product during a demo. 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.