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. 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.
The following are considerations for you to make as you choose EMR software for your medical practice:
First things first, decide if you will be hosting both the software and the hardware. 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. 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, 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. Have at least five prospective systems for evaluation. 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 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. 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. 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 applications based on ease of use, workflow, and cost.
Finally, during product demos, make sure all staff are involved. Since everyone’s needs should be satisfied, you’d like to make them part of the evaluation process as much as possible. The salesperson shouldn’t be the one to “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 closest you can get to seeing how the system will likely be useful in your day-to-day operations.