Getting To The Point – Companies

Important Insights on Choosing 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 does get easier with a few helpful insights in mind.

Below are considerations you should make prior to choosing 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) license their software out and maintain it on their own servers, making it available to users through the Internet. This option is suitable for small practices where upfront costs are lower and IT responsibilities are fewer. 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, 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.

Usually, choosing a system for a small practice usually starts 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. 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 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.

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. 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 ensure that all areas are covered. 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. 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, 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.