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June 08, 2009

How would you handle post implementation EMR issues?


Considering the entire process to be an ongoing one, there would still be certain issues that may remain unaddressed. It is indeed crucial to handle the networking and security risks that would follow the implementation process of an EMR. Product interfaces, data conversion, documentation and testing issues may crop up once the implementation is done.

Apart from the follow-up training that would be provided, involving an IT representative could help you solve most of the issues that you may face post implementation. Following a systematic approach with regular meetings to deal with the most prioritized one first could prove effective in such a case.



Who would be the right EMR Vendor for your organization?


The most important attribute that an EMR vendor should possess and project is that of providing an unbiased source of information. It is advisable to identify and list down the functions that you would expect from EMR depending on your practice requirements. Based on this, few numbers of vendors could be shortlisted for the demo.

Taking guidance from any qualified consultants also helps you to have a broad understanding about the industry. These consultants are knowledgeable and familiar about various EMR vendors and are able to provide credible and unbiased information on the same. One needs to clarify aspects like pricing per physician license, client referrals, post sales support, client /server based and web based distinctions, details of EMR configuration, any negotiations etc.

The focus of the buyer should also be on asking more of open ended questions in order to get detailed information about their system and their process of implementation. This would avoid getting objective answers and have a clearer picture about the whole process. Accordingly, the buyer can consider and decide upon the vendor that meets the practice’s requirements without having to compromise on the needs and desires. Overall, asking the right questions would ensure the most appropriate vendor to be selected.



June 05, 2009

What to look for in an EMR?


In order to help oneself in judging the most appropriate EMR for your practice, it is indeed helpful if various aspects relating to EMR are scrutinized. There would be a need to document EMR requirements, conduct hardware requirement analysis, choose between a client-server based model and a web based model, check the affordable cost that could be invested in such an implementation,  certify its CCHIT, HIPAA and HL7 compliance, validate the vendor’s clients list and check the featured modules that  your practice would require.

EMR will usually be supported by certain key features like: Scheduling, Patient Demographics, Clinical Information, Prescriptions, Document Management and Billing. Apart from these, it would be valuable to check any other specific feature that would form a major part of your practice enhancement.

The overview of all the aspects that needs to be evaluated is shown as follows:


Who would take the responsibility of implementing an EMR?


There is also a need to know the team involved in such a transformation and the time they would require in implementing an EMR. Most organizations would have a specialized team who would undertake such a responsibility. However, small scaled hospitals and clinics may not have such a facility of a dedicated team. In such cases, they may have to themselves get involved in research work and implementation. Irrespective of the type of practice, the person involved would need to be committed towards accepting such a change.

The doctor, administrator and the office manager need to coordinate and track the implementation issues, deficiencies, decisions made, and tasks assigned. EMR implementation would be driven by the IT team as well, who would be able to connect to such a cause of implementation. The team could develop a comprehensive data which includes details like organizational workflows and processes, hardware installations, software configuration, ways to enter old patient data into the new EMR system, developing a backup system, training to be provided, etc. Aspects like goals, budgets and timelines needs to be taken care of.

When do you know it's time to move on to an EMR?


Shifting from your manual paper-based documentation of medical records to an automated EMR surely seems like an attractive and smart move. However, it would not prove to be smart enough unless, on basic analysis of your current organizational workflow and post EMR implementation operational efficiency, the latter really helps you imbibe cost effective reduction in documentation time. There will be variance in the outcomes in taking this step for practitioners, physicians, healthcare providers, polyclinics, diagnostic centers, small – medium sized hospitals and large scaled hospitals.

For the initial and potential users, the main focus would be on gaining knowledge about the risk of continuing with the paper-based functioning. The initial steps would involve in judging the need for an EMR. It could either be to increase operational efficiency, or to reduce the number of employees working or just as a step to enter the web based world of technology! Whatever the reason, it has to be convincing for making such a decision.