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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). 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.

Below are considerations you should make prior to choosing 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) 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. 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, having another entity manage your patient data has its risks, so you have to iron out data ownership and business continuity issues before committing to any ASP.

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. Work with other local doctors if possible. Consider collaborating with them to ease the choosing process and even provide leverage with the vendors.

Whether or not you plan to go solo, you have to establish a 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.

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

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. 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.

Reference: The Essential Laws of Programs Explained