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EMR Requirements Vary Depending on the Physician Office
What do you want your EMR to do? Everything!
What are your requirements for an EMR? Every practice has a different established workflow and setup for how the office flows. While you will probably need to make some changes to the workflow after implementing an EMR, you’ll probably want to choose one that is relatively set for accepting the way your office already runs. How do you want your EMR to check in/check out patients? Do you want it to have a screen showing available exam rooms, and who is in each room? Do you want it to function similar to an ER “board” showing all the patients and their chief complaint?
Why do you want an EMR? What do you hope it will improve in your practice? Are there particular types of needs that must be available to your practice? Do you require plotting of growth curves for pediatric patients, ability to view obstetric panels at a glance? What specifically are you looking for in your EMR that will save you time and money?
If you do many procedures in the office (biopsy, colonoscopy, treadmill tests, etc…) you’ll want to be sure these can be easily and properly documented to contain all the pertinent information, and in a way that is conducive to your practice style. If you currently dictate your procedure notes, you probably have a specific format you are already using for this, and would want to adapt any EMR you consider into this structure. Make sure your potential EMR fits into this.
If you are a photo-heavy practice needing pictures of dermatologic conditions, or ophthalmologic diseases, you’ll want to be sure your EMR candidate has a strong document/file system for storing and categorizing everything correctly.
Do you need your EMR to be able to fax the pharmacy for you? How does your potential EMR accomplish this? Is this a main feature of your EMR? How will it handle the day to day operations of your practice?
The All-In-One package
Do you currently use any billing software, (and if so, are you willing to change it to a different one) or do you outsource your billing? Many EMRs can be either EMR only applications, or have optional practice management software modules or links. That way, one software package can meet both your EMR and billing/scheduling/insurance needs together. If you are in love with your billing software that you are currently using, you can either find an EMR that interfaces to your program, or have the EMR generate superbills on paper and then enter them into your PM the usual way or pass them onto your billler. Generallyl EMR only applications (or EMR applications minus the PM module) are less expensive than the EMR/PM packages, but if you can eliminate or reduce staff time dedicated to billing, it may be an effective and efficient solution for you.
By creating a list of “must haves” for your EMR, you’ll be much closer at figuring out which one is right for you by quickly ruling out those that do not fit your needs.