As you’re searching for the perfect electronic medical record (EMR) to fulfill either your office’s needs or simply trying to achieve meaningful use standards, you have many aspects of your business and the potential EMR to consider. You can use the following five aspects of an EMR (or any IT, for that matter) as a checklist when sifting through the deluge of options out there. Good luck, and happy EMR hunting!
1) Effective and Accessible: You want an EMR you can actually operate and which does what it actually claims to do. There are several signs of trouble for information technology that could retard your practice. For example, the EMR could:
- Require constant hardware or manual software upgrades
- Collect either too much or irrelevant data that is difficult to organize and analyze
- Allow access only from office computers,
When selecting your EMR, I would recommend a web-based Software as a Service (SaaS), which means all you need is an Internet connection to access and use it. A SaaS will also be easier to implement as hardware and software installation is unnecessary, with updates taking place at the vendor’s secure server instantly.
2) Support/Service: You want training to get your EMR running quickly, and ongoing consultation to keep it running smoothly. Be sure to ask your vendor how much time and training your team will likely need in order to fully implement the IT. Furthermore, your vendor should provide ongoing and reliable support and follow-up. Even with an intuitive interface, your vendor should make it as easy as possible to learn how to use the EMR and other services potentially connected to it.
3) Flexibility/customization: You want a software and a local team behind it that adapts to you and your office’s needs. The flexibility of the EMR largely depends on the type of software/hardware you install or use, with the client-server setup being the most flexible, but also the hardest to maintain, update, and interface with other meaningful use software or solutions. Your practice is not the same as others, and your EMR vendor should take your needs seriously enough to scale the EMR to best fit your business’ needs. What you need depends on your practice. To avoid destruction of business profits, don’t buy more than you need or less than you want.
4) Current: You want your EMR to remain updated on code and standards. A cloud-based SaaS will likely remain more current than either the client-server setup or ASP, as the vendor can easily update the service for immediate changes. The other types of EMRs will take longer to update, especially if on-site hardware changes are necessary. Regardless of the type of EMR, practices must stay compliant with all of the changes in healthcare coming up, including those coming into effect at the end of the year to the ICD-10 codes, which determine how and what you bill, and thus, your reimbursement.
5) Cost: You don’t want something that’ll cost an arm and a leg. You want an EMR that fits your budget while filling your needs. For a hospital, perhaps the $45,000 EMR would fall in range and provide everything it and its docs require. For a private practice, however, the same EMR may not only cost too much, but offer too much compared to the needs of the office. How vendors price their EMRs depends on both the type of EMR and the company itself. EMRs that require hardware installation will cost more than those with less or no hardware, and an SaaS will likely charge either per patient encounter or per month as a subscription. You may also find EMRs with annual caps on their per-patient charges, or that have additional fees associated with them.
C-Suite, Clinic Service’s EMR solution, has an intuitive user interface, making it an effective tool. We can customize C-Suite to best fulfill your practice’s business and EMR needs, and as a no-hardware, no-software SaaS, you can access C-Suite from anywhere you have Internet. And it will always be current. As of April, the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services certified C-Suite as fulfilling all Meaningful Use Requirements (is that the incentive-monies dinner bell I hear ringing?). And you know the ICD-10 changes coming at year’s end? We’re already halfway there. Yep–we’re ahead of the change. Requiring only one to three weeks for scalable implementation, Clinic Service provides free and unlimited training for C-Suite operations. All of this for a great deal of $1.99 per patient encounter with an annual cap. Come and demo C-Suite, and see what it’s all about today!
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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.