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The Prescription to Buying an EMR Solution to Improve Patient Care an...
The Prescription to Buying an EMR Solution to Improve Patient Care and Staff Productivity
November 4 2008
Purchasing an electronic medical record (EMR) system is a daunting task, as there are many software vendors who cater to this niche industry. That’s why it’s essential for you to know what kind of functional requirements your practice or hospital will require to run your daily operational needs.
You also need to forecast that whichever system you choose (whether on-demand or on-premise), the software will allow for future growth and expandability down the road.
You should also be aware of how painstaking it will be to transfer decades of paper patient records into an electronic format, as the traditional (and still current) practice in health care is paper based records. There is a dossier about the patient, and details such as medical history, prescription changes, intravenous scheduling, and the like are transcribed onto forms for the department that contains the patient’s bed. Switching to EMR software allows multiple health care professionals to access a patient's chart, which ensures that complete and accurate documentation is entered in real time. This is especially vital in emergency situations when multiple doctors are able to review the patient files simultaneously.
The number of patient records will significantly vary between an SMB practice and a mainstream enterprise hospital. If it’s in budget, the easiest way to transition paper documents to electronic format is to outsource transcriptionists to transfer the data (using this route will not decrease staff productivity). You should also factor in a change management aspect, because an average SMB practice could take up to six months to reach its desired goals by eliminating repetitive tasks and allowing doctors to see more patients.
Most EMR software offers health maintenance reminders to keep doctors and staff updated on what treatments or checkups the patient is scheduled for through an automatic alert or report generated by the software.
EMR systems are also capable of determining the best form of treatment by analyzing a patient’s diagnosis chart for prior conditions/prescriptions and cross referencing the drug database to prevent lethal transaction with other drugs. This plan of action will reduce malpractice suits by maintaining an up-to-date and comprehensive patient record.
Another consideration is functionality of the software as a whole: is it user friendly and intuitive enough for medical staff to interact and retrieve vital information about the patient on the fly?
3 Vital Questions You Should Ask Before Purchasing
1. Do you need an on-demand or an on-premise model?
2. Does the software suit requirements for best-of-breed small practices and outpatient services (SMB-level) or larger mainstream hospitals (enterprise-level)?
3. What is the vendor’s service level agreement (SLA) if an incident arises?
There are many adequate EMR systems on the market that will suit needs for small and large practices alike, while providing functionality and security measures to protect patient data. The most important thing is that you be satisfied that the software will meet your needs. If you are unsure, consult with a professional at TEC who will guide you through the
software selection process
to ensure that an informed decision is made and that the software implementation will meet the needs of your organization now and in the future.
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