Valuable Insights for Practices Looking for Good Electronic Medical Records Software (EMR)
One of the most crucial requirements of a successful medical practice is an efficient electronic medical records (EMR) software solution. 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. 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 a suitable option for small practices with low upfront costs and less IT responsibilities. 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, 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. Vendors may not be willing to submit to a formal RFP process when dealing with a small practice. You should have no less than five prospective systems for 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 you intend to go with it alone or with other practices, you need to set in place a selection system. This way, you can ensure consistency as you evaluate your options, make appropriate comparisons, and avoid distraction from pitching vendors.
A good way to start is by assigning a selection team that will be in-charge of reviewing your prospective systems. Ensure that all departments that will use the system – from medical records to IT to quality improvement and the others – are well-represented in this group. Then come up with a list of questions to ask as each candidate EMR software is reviewed. 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 ensure that all areas are covered. Then compare the applications based on ease of use, workflow, 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.
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