The Path To Finding Better Software

Pointers for Choosing Electronic Medical Software for Your Practice

One of the key components of any successful medical practice is an effective software solution for managing electronic medical records (EMR). Although it’s good that there are so many available versions of the application nowadays, it sure makes choosing so much harder. But it can get easier with a few important insights in mind.

Here are few things you should consider when selecting EMR software for your medical practice:

First of all, decide if the software and the hardware will both be hosted by you. 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. 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, there are risks involved when you permit another entity to handle your patient data, so you have to resolve concerns on data ownership and business continuity first before finalizing any deal.

Usually, choosing a system for a small practice usually starts with product demonstrations. Vendors may not want to undergo a formal RFP process with a small practice. You should have no less than five prospective systems for review. If you can, work with other doctors in your area. Consider teaming up with them to simplify the process and even offer leverage with vendors too.

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.

Creating a selection team to review your potential systems is a good beginning. 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. Use an evaluation matrix or any other similar tool that will allow you to thoroughly and systematically study each feature and functionality. This will also help make sure that you have covered every single area. 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. 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.

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