Study: My Understanding of Software

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.

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. 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. 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.

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. 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 plan to go alone or not, it’s important to follow an established selection system. This is the only way to ensure that you can evaluate the systems consistently, making effective apples-to-apples comparisons, and not being distracted by different vendors’ pitches.

A good way to begin is by gathering a team that will take charge of assessing your prospective systems. 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 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 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.