What’s on Your EMR Wish List?
Electronic medical records (EMRs) play an important role in the healthcare industry today, particularly when it comes to participation in regulatory programs such as the Quality Payment Program (QPP). The stakes are high when choosing an EMR system for your practice and it can be hard to know where to start. Whether you’re choosing your practice’s first EMR or you’re replacing a system that didn’t work out the way you’d hoped, selecting and implementing an EMR tool involves a delicate process that requires a great deal of attention in order to be successful. Allow us at MicroMD to provide some quick tips for getting through this process with your sanity intact and a software you’re excited to use!
Form a Team: Identify Your EMR Project Managers
First, you’ll need to determine if your practice is ready by confirming that you have enough time and resources to dedicate to this process and getting your staff to buy-in. Once you’ve accomplished this, identify staff members who are willing to be leaders for this project, and make sure that at least one of those leaders is a physician. This will help you make a solid decision, one based on the feedback of the people who will be using this software day in and day out.
Make a Plan: Decide What EMR Features are Best for Your Staff
Next, you’ll need to identify your goals and the benefits you’re seeking from an EMR system:
- List the features you believe an EMR system should have in order for you to accomplish these goals.
- Think about the hardware you’ll want to use and how you’ll want your EMR system to be hosted.
- Define your timeline and a target go-live date, and establish your budget.
Framing your EMR implementation project with these three foundational steps will help keep you on track as your team works together to coose the best EMR system for your medical practice.
Do your research: Review Multiple EMR Systems Before Making a Decision
Once you know what you need, start looking for it. If you plan to participate in a regulatory program like QPP, check certification sites to find EMRs that will allow you to do so. Visit vendor websites, watch videos, read collateral, and have conversations with sales representatives to see how each vendor’s products fit the bill for your practice – or don’t. Talk to colleagues at other practices to see what has worked for them, and when you’ve collected all this information and compare it to your specifications, narrow down your prospects to the three to five vendors that best fulfill what you’re looking for. This is your short list.
Compare: Narrow Done Your Favorite EMR Platforms
See how all the EMR vendors on your short list stack up against one another. Your goal here is to separate the good fits from the great fits. Schedule product demonstrations with each of the vendors on your short list and make sure the key players on your staff are in attendance. Use a script during your demonstrations to ensure you see the features that are most important to you and get a real idea how each system will work with your practice’s workflow. Get references and case studies from each vendor to see how their software performs in the real world and visit reference sites in person when possible. Finally, get price quotes and be sure to include all facets of pricing, remembering training and support costs. You want to be able to see the whole picture for each EMR vendor and decide whose picture is best for your practice.
Finalize: Make Your Selection and Sign the Deal
Choose the software that best fits the overall needs of your practice; fight the temptation to choose the cheapest vendor just because they’re less expensive. Remember, you often get what you pay for. When you’ve chosen the right EMR vendor for you, take advantage of any offers they have in place that will save you money. Finally, sign the contract and return it and any other pertinent paperwork in a timely manner in order to get in the implementation queue and meet your target go-live date.
The EMR selection and implementation process can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Stay focused, make your plan, and take it one step at a time and you’ll be able to choose a system that will increase your practice’s efficiency and allow you to reach your goals.