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How Do I Choose the Best EMR System?

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  • Written By: L.S. Ware
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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There are multitudes of electronic medical record (EMR) systems available on the market as of 2011. Choosing the best EMR solution can be a daunting task, as there are many factors to take into account. Budgetary concerns, compatibility with existing technologies, and suitability for special concentrations are among the top considerations. Deciding on a hosted or in-house solution is also imperative.

As with any purchase, the purpose and minimum required functionality of the product must be determined to choose the best EMR system. Hospitals will have a different set of base needs than a small ambulatory practice or an individual physician. Specialists will have additional needs and concerns to address.

Whether an existing electronic system exists is important too. If there is existing technology, then compatibility or data migration may be an issue. Without an existing computerized record, system implementation and transition of paper records will be of concern.

A hosted EMR system, where the databases and such are off-site, is an option for more flexible organizations where potential downtime caused by Internet connectivity issues is not as severe a risk factor. On-site solutions often provide more stability and minimize downtime. With either solution, a key concern is data integrity and security. Verify that the EMR provides adequate options to alleviate privacy and backup concerns, including data restoration in the event of a catastrophe.

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When looking for the best EMR, evaluate the available expansion modules and lab interfaces to ensure that both current and future needs will be met. Some companies will offer training for office staff and physicians. The usability of the EMR is important and can often be enhanced by customizations of the solution by both the company selling and the organization buying.

Costs for a complete EMR system will vary greatly depending on a number factors, including those mentioned here, such as hosted or in-house, added modules, and training. Additional things to consider and investigate include the support offered for the solution. Response times and issue resolution times are imperative in a medical setting. Certify that the company is stable and has sufficient support hours to find the best EMR.

EMR systems are continually evolving, and updates are inevitable. Check to see if updates are included in the purchase, part of an addendum, or entirely separate. Read all of the fine print and insist on clarification of all contracted terms. View demonstrations, acquire a trial version for testing, and ensure all questions are answered to choose the best EMR system.

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