Software – My Most Valuable Advice

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 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.

Here are few things you should consider when selecting 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) have their own servers on which they maintain software they license out, which can be accessed by users via the Internet. This is an appropriate option for small practices having fewer IT responsibilities and cheaper upfront costs to pay. 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, 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.

Typically, picking a system for a small practice also often begins 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 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 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 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 write down a list of questions to be asked as every candidate EMR software is put on the table. Using an evaluation matrix or any other similar tool can help you analyze every feature and functionality. This will also help make sure that you have covered every single area. Then compare the applications based on ease of use, workflow, and cost.

Lastly, the entire staff must be involved during product demos. Because everyone’s needs must be satisfied, everyone should be part of the evaluation process too. 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 closest you can get to seeing how the system will likely be useful in your day-to-day operations.

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