Friday, July 15, 2011

Choosing the Right EMR for Your Practice

Converting your practice into an EMR-based one has the potential to change the entire working of your practice. It is a decision that requires you to carefully review a number of factors that will help you pick an EMR that best suits your goals and vision for the software.

Your EMR Must Understand Your Practice
 
In order to pick an EMR that best understands your practice, it is important that you understand it first. Before embarking on the selection process, you must make a note of the specific requirements of your specialization that must be supported by your EMR. Workflow and processes, customized templates, Meaningful Use objectives differ from one specialization to another. Your EMR must adapt to these parameters in order to maximize its usability and usefulness. You must also be aware of your reasons behind switching to an EMR. Whether it is improving the quality of care, your practice’s productivity, making more money, meeting Meaningful Use or simplification of workflow; to know what is driving you towards conversion will help you pick an EMR that suits your needs, goals and requirements.

User-friendly and Easy to Use EMR

A user-friendly and easy to use EMR helps lower the resistance most staff personnel display towards adopting new technology in their daily work lives. An EMR may be laden with stunning features and customizations, but a complicated interface will not allow your staff to be able to use the software to its full potential, rendering it useless. A handy, convenient to use EMR will help you achieve maximum productivity without wasting time on training and implementation.

EMR Features
 
Your EMR must provide features that serve the unique requirements of your specialization and enable you to achieve Meaningful Use. A lot of EMR systems are stuffed with redundant features that your practice will never need. It is important that you keep it simple by getting only the bare necessities incorporated, at least to begin with. Later, if you feel that a certain EMR feature can help you improve a certain aspect of your practice, you can always build on it by asking your vendor to provide you the required update.

Client-Server vs. Web Based EMR
 
Depending on the size, location and nature of your practice, you can choose between client-server EMR systems and web-based EMR systems. Client-server EMRs are locally installed in your system whereas web-based EMRs are remotely hosted and accessible over a secure web connection. While a number of very good and highly recommended web-based EMRs are available free of charge, client-server EMRs carry installation, training and maintenance costs. Regular, free updates, suggested by practitioners make web-based EMRs more flexible and dynamic as compared to client-server systems that require you to pay for such services.

EMR Training and Customer Support
 
While most EMRs sell on features, they lose out on their customer support. You must ensure that your EMR vendor has an efficient and responsive customer support platform. Technical and programming support must be provided with the least possible response time. They should also be willing to extend training and staff counseling services to help your team adopt the technology and get comfortable with the whole conversion process.  

Involve Yourself in the EMR Selection Process
 
As the key stakeholder in your practice, you must involve yourself in every step of the selection and conversion processes. Ask questions. Tell the vendors exactly what you want from your EMR. Help them understand your practice and your EMR requirements. Be aware of the preparedness and general attitude of your staff towards the conversion. Involve them in the selection process and be open to their suggestions as they are the eventual users of the system. Let them know how determined you are to execute the conversion and motivate them to identify with the approach.

Credibility of your EMR vendor

You must review the credibility and reliability of the vendors you have book-marked for consideration. Some points to keep in mind while making the final selection are the cost per license, experience in your specialization, customization and templates for your specialty, features, updates, out-of-pocket costs, customer support and training. Conduct a thorough research online and among other practitioners in your specialization who have purchased their EMRs from the same vendor. CCHIT Certification is a good benchmark to begin with. It does not guarantee performance and quality, but it is always safer to go in for a CCHIT certified EMR than to invest in one that is not.

Cost of the EMR
 
Cost is one of the prime factors that will influence your decision. Conduct a detailed cost-benefit and ROI analysis before signing up for an EMR. However, don’t go about searching for the cheapest EMR in the market that will not help you or your practice meet its goals and the desired level of productivity. This said, ‘costlier the EMR, the better it is’ also does not stand true. A good EMR will satisfy the various criteria discussed above and round it off with a reasonable price to match. Call for proposals and quotes from vendors that are good on your checklist, compare their terms and conditions, provisions and prices and only then make a decision. Finally, do not proceed until everything that has been discussed and agreed to, is taken down, written and duly signed.


References:

1. http://technology4doctors.blogspot.com/2009/11/top-10-mistakes-that-doctors-make-in.html
2. http://www.binaryspectrum.com/electronicmedicalrecord/how-to-choose-the-right-EMR-for-your-practice.html
3. http://www.morefreeinformation.com/Art/171972/24/How-to-Choose-the-Right-EMR-Software-for-Your-Medical-Practice.html
4. http://emrguy.com/ehr-software-how-to-choose-the-right-system/

4 comments:

EMR WORK FORCE said...

Every healthcare provider should switch to an EMR solution. Paper based records and prescriptions are a thing of the past now and it would be best for both doctors and patients to take advantage of their features and accessibility.

Medical Billing I Free EMR

KrishaLiva said...

Using electronic medical records in managing medical practices provides a number of benefits, especially in smaller practices where it is much easier to introduce.

- Krisha

Frances said...

Of all these benefits, I'd have to say that the cost for operating a Web EMR is what makes it so enticing.

Crameson said...

It is really necessary to add chiropractic EHR software to their practice and using is quite handful.

I like the post much and also the above comments.

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