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EMR Electronic Medical Records Hardware and Software Platforms
Choosing the Right Hardware and Software for your EMR
What EMR platform is right for you? This depends on a number of factors, including what technology your office currently uses. If you have a large investment in hardware (recently acquired – within a year or two), you’ll probably want to stick with that operating system. For example, if you have iMacs in every room, you’re certainly going to be searching for a Mac compatible EMR. There are a handful of platform independent EMRs that are based on Sun Java, which can be used on Windows as well as Mac OS X hardware. Probably the easiest decision you will make regarding your EMR vendor will come from picking your hardware first, then eliminating the ones that don’t immediately fit your hardware.
The next factor to consider is where and how you want to access your information. Most of us would like to use our EMR at any internet enabled computer we are passing by. If your EMR is a windows based client, that may be fine if you want to check your EMR from home, but what about while you are rounding at a local hospital? If it is important for you to have “anywhere” access to your EMR, you may want to consider a web based EMR that you’ll be able to login from anywhere. That way, in case you’re out of town and pass by an Internet kiosk at the local coffee shop, you can send your patients secure messages, check your upcoming schedule, or do prescription refills. Would you need PDA (Windows Mobile/Pocket PC) access? The number of PDA accessible systems is more limited, so that may make your choice easier by eliminating those systems that do not have a mobile system.
Web based solutions probably will be easier to upgrade, as many of these will be done at the vendor level, leaving the physician to worry less about this, but in office PC based solutions leave you to manage the day to day operations of the server and network. This may mean increased in house costs to manage IT issues that inevitably come up over time. If you’re a computer guru, this may be less important to you and you may want the ability to manage the security of your server.
Along with this you may want to consider whether or not your EMR requires a server or not. This computer would act as the brain of your EMR, which the individual computers in your network would talk to. Many in-office EMRs would require a central computer (with backups done regularly) to function properly. If you don’t plan on leaving your main computer turned on 24 hours a day, and connected thru a secure internet connection, you won’t be able to access your EMR outside the office.