Question #2: How do I implement an EMR, and should I delegate this process to someone else?
Some related questions in determining how your practice comes to implement an EMR are: should we do it in stages or all at once? How fast should we adopt the processes? Should I adopt every technology available to me?
Answering these questions for your practice requires you to know your practice intimately, which includes knowing how it works and why it functions best that way. Pretty much all practices already have assisting technology in place with a practice management system, which no doctor could deny adds value to her/is practice by organizing time and patients. The practice management system is like the Honda of practice-assisting technology, and a great EMR–which is the one that best fits your practice–should compare as a Porche, possessing intuitive maneuverability and speed.
As far as delegation is concerned, doctors wonder if they should and if so, to whom? Many business managers–and your practice is a business–assume that a good technology ensures the effective execution of the technology, but technology cannot install or work itself. What this translates to in practice is that someone needs to own the responsibility of incorporating it into the operations hopefully to the point where people don’t even remember it’s working at all–the mark of a good technology is one which you use all the time but no longer have to figure out; furthermore it only comes into focus when it doesn’t work.
One option for doctors is to name an executive administrator who will be accountable for the EMR implementation, which includes installing, learning/training, and using it meaningfully. More importantly, as a private practice doctor, you need to trust this person implicitly because you are essentially putting your practice in their hands. Because your new EMR will infiltrate and hopefully streamline so many parts of your practice–which no one knows better than you – the wisest choice would be overseeing the implementation yourself. You will be able to adapt the EMR to your practice and your time-tested methods rather than be forced to adapt to its methods of completing a task you likely perfected years ago. Also, you won’t have to rely on another to understand your own practice. Knowledge is power, and if you don’t know every nook and cranny of your practice, you’re more likely to lose control of it to someone who does–which isn’t necessarily disempowering if you trust them. Lastly, implementing the EMR yourself–planned and over time so as not to overly stress yourself–will allow you to request changes to the software from your provider that would best fit your practice.
Which brings us to our final question, which we’ll continue answering in our next blog post. Until then please comment on this post to let us know your thoughts.
About Clinic Service: Founded in 1974 by James Grow as a medical billing company, Clinic Service has never strayed from its mission: To Maximize the Profit for Physicians and Medical Practices. We believe our market leadership and growth in medical billing and supporting services like EMR and EHR is a result of our focus on customer experience and our internal culture. The Clinic Service culture is founded on learning and personal growth.