Pointers for Choosing Electronic Medical Software for Your Practice
Among the most critical requirements for the success of any medical practice is an efficient electronic medical records (EMR) program. 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 of all, decide if the software and the hardware will both be hosted by you. Application service providers (ASPs) have their own servers on which they maintain software they license out, which can be accessed by users via the Internet. This is a suitable option for small practices with low upfront costs and less IT responsibilities. Some ASPs provide locally hosted systems, which means the server will be placed in your office and maintenance will be performed there too. 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. Some vendors are hesitate to go through a formal RFP process with small practices. Have at least five prospective systems for evaluation. Work with other physicians in your area if you have the chance. Consider teaming up with them to simplify the process and even offer leverage with vendors too.
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 come up with a list of questions to ask as each candidate EMR software is reviewed. Using an evaluation matrix or any other similar tool can help you analyze every feature and functionality. This will also help ensure that all areas are covered. Then compare the solutions in terms of workflow, ease of use, and cost.
Finally, during product demos, make sure all staff are involved. Because everyone’s needs must be satisfied, everyone should be part of the evaluation process too. During a demo, it’s not the salesperson who should be “driving” the product. Instead, use real patient visit scenarios so you can gauge the compatibility of the system to your workflow. This is the best grasp you can have of how the system will be useful in your everyday operations.