Which EMR (Electronic Medical Record) system is best for your practice?
At this point, an electronic medical record is a necessity for all clinics, hospitals, and practices. An EMR can make or break the way your practice functions and thrives. While hospitals and practices were up and running before the invention of medical charts software and software records, these tools have become a necessity to match the fast-paced world of today and the growing consumer-oriented culture in healthcare.
In a nutshell, electronic medical records are a replacement for paper records. They are the digitized version of paper files, containing all the details of patients such as their family history, list of allergies, list of immunizations, previous bouts of illness, hereditary diseases, previous surgeries, and the like. This is the basic information a doctor needs when a patient visits them for any purpose.
However, there is quite a lot more that goes into choosing the best EMR than picking the file color that matches your theme at the practice. Purchasing and installing EMR for doctors is a process that needs investment not only in terms of money but also in research and time. The best EMR will ideally fit your practice seamlessly, fitting into the workflow of your set-up and increasing efficiency by large margins. EMR for solo practices may look different from EMRs for bigger set-ups, like hospitals.
How to Choose EMR for Practices
There are various considerations that go into choosing the best EMR.
List down your requirements
This is your first step when it comes to choosing the best EMR for doctors. You should make a list of the medical records software requirements according to the needs of your practice. For example, you might require something advanced, like third-party integration with other software, or you may need the bare minimum, like e-prescribing software, an automatic billing function, and scheduling features.
You should think pretty far in advance, like mapping out your ideal workflow at your clinic to see which of your EMR options can augment it and compliment it nicely. Furthermore, you must take into consideration the needs of your staff, like other physicians on board and the administrative team. You can involve them in the process of listing down requirements to make sure you have touched upon each aspect of the practice. However, what should lead your choice is your understanding of the medical requirements.
EMR software can cost a lot. This is also highly dependent on the features that you choose, the vendor you are going for, and how many providers there are in your practice. You must always request an estimate, find out what the initial costs of licensing and activation are and how much adding on other components, such as billing can cost.
EMR for solo practices can be less costly with subscription fees, but this is not always the case as pricing always fluctuates according to the specific needs of each practice. There are also hardware implementation, training, and maintenance costs to consider. You should always get quotes for various software so you can compare all your options and then choose.
Ease of Use
This is key. Your system should be intuitive and easy to use. Most of us are familiar with computer-based software, but if they are confusing and hard to navigate it can get to the best of us. Ease of use is important as complicated software can make your workflow grind to a halt, making everyday routine tasks difficult to manage. It is therefore imperative for you to request demonstrations with your vendors of choice.
Your staff and other physicians should also use the trial and demo to gauge whether the software will be easy to use for them and whether it would be beneficial for your practice. You should also keep in mind that the frequency of use for your software will be pretty high, so you need something simple that doesn’t eat up time with your patients or add to the workload.
Specialty Specific EMRs
You should go for an EMR software that has been designed for your specific specialty, such as EMR for physiotherapists. Speciality-specific EMRs are customized according to the needs of your specialty, including elements like specialty-specific features and templates. It is best that you choose something seamless like this, and not use general software that has to be adjusted constantly to be used – this can hinder workflow.
This is also an important factor – will your ideal EMR software be web-based or client/server-based. While one is not better than the other, with both having much to offer, it could be possible that a cloud-based EMR software is better for your practice than a client/server one and vice versa.
Dr. Josh is a physician who's helping spread the knowledge about Telehealth and its advantages. At SmartClinix, he's providing his expertise and knowledge in the form of engaging articles on various health & tech related topics.