Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the recent Federal Stimulus program offers Medicare and Medicaid incentives for doctors that install and use an EMR system. These incentives have created new electronic medical records vendors looking to cash in on inexperienced users. When looking at purchasing an EMR software system, it’s important to remember that cost is just one of the issues to look at.
What is critical for every medical office manager to know is that an EMR system is not just a “little piece of software” to help the practice get organized. In fact, it is a huge investment. Getting stuck with a losing product, or a losing vendor can be heartbreaking, but there are ways to avoid the problem during the quote and proposal process. Three points should be on the checklist of any EMR system shopper, and they are:
1. How Experienced? – Has your electronic medical records vendor been developing and selling their application for more than five years? If not, you may want to move on. The Federal Stimulus has literally “created” many copycat vendors looking to profit from easy government money. Ask the EMR consultant for very recent references, and make sure to find out about their history first hand. It will save you a lot of money, and even more hassle.
2. Training Is The Base – Knowing how skilled your vendor’s EMR system training department is will make a huge difference when adopting a new medical record software product. Several avenues of training are key, as well, including remote, Web and in-practice options. A quality EMR software vendor will provide your staff with the quickest and most effective training available.
3. How Do They Support You? – Particularly once your EMR system has been initially installed, support will be critical to your staff’s ability to learn. If solving an issue with your software bogs you down every time one occurs, you’ll soon be running for the hills. Is your vendor’s support team available 24/7? Are there support costs you should know about? Ask the vendor for recent support references to ensure that you’ll be OK when a problem occurs.
The Federal Stimulus has changed the face of the medical records software industry markedly. Finding out which provider is trustworthy will mean a smooth installation – something every EMR system adoption should include.
Want to know more about securing the right EMR systems? See http://www.medical-software.org for a wide variety of electronic medical records purchase tips and tricks.