EHR consultants advise health-care organizations about computer systems that enable them to comply with electronic health-care record requirements. Some national governments now require that the heath-care records of patients be stored electronically. This regulation affects doctors, hospitals, assisted living centers and any other type of health-care organization. EHR consultants analyze and assess an organization's current filing system and make hardware and software recommendations based upon the organization's individual needs.
Previously patient health-care records were maintained on paper and were filed on-site. If patients transferred to a different doctor or sought out services from a new hospital, their records were often not readily accessible. An electronic patient record, on the other hand, is able to be accessed from a common network and helps health-care providers properly address patient needs. Since health-care organizations do not specialize in information technology systems, they need to consult outside parties that have expertise in this area.
EHR consultants specialize in helping health-care organizations locate and implement a suitable system. To do this, the consultant will gather background information about the company, including history, strategy, culture, and current policies and procedures. Depending upon the health-care organization's budget and current work functions, EHR consultants will recommend multiple products. They often spend quite a bit of time interviewing employees in the organization to get a feel for how they are organized and what the organization is looking to accomplish. EHR consultants focus on helping the decision makers in a health-care organization evaluate a variety of options.
Consultants will attempt to provide a series of unbiased recommendations and assist with the decision making process. Ethical EHR consultants will inform the organization of the various benefits and drawbacks associated with each available option. They will also provide decision makers with overall costs and an estimated return on investment. For example, a small doctor's office with one location that has an existing computer system will probably receive a series of recommendations that includes several software packages and possibly one that includes an upgrade of the hardware.
Typically, consultants will also provide training and implementation assistance for the new system. Since the health-care organization's staff will need to transition to new procedures and software programs, EHR consultants may participate in initial training sessions that teach employees how to get the most out of the new system. They may also educate the organization on government regulations and how the software makes them compliant with those.