Workflow is improved with user-friendly screens to locate patient data, consistent electronic data sets for every patient, and the elimination of duplicate records, Mr. Price said in his testimony, adding that digital documentation helps meet standards set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and other agencies that have oversight of hospitals and clinics.
Explore this issue:January 2007
I think the real benefit is that you can provide better care with an electronic medical record, Dr. Kuppersmith said. There is so much information in medicine that there’s no way you can keep up. EMR systems are starting to provide details that you might not remember. In addition, they provide information on drug interactions and notify you of potential problems.
Once the decision is made to purchase an EMR, consider the following recommendations from physicians and EMR providers:
First, set goals. Define what the system needs to do. Then select a physician champion, preferably one of your practice’s most influential physicians, and bring everyone on board. While this is easier in a solo practice, a larger group will need a team that must include the physician champion and a manager to help implement the system.
Ask colleagues about systems they’ve purchased and attend EMR presentations at association meetings. Find out if the EMR system you’re considering will interface with your current physician practice management (PPM) software. If not, you may need to purchase a compatible PPM-EMR system. Additionally, look at all the capabilities your proposed EMR will handle, to see if they meet your needs. For example, most EMRs will enable physicians and staff to create and complete tasks, find information, view labs, write prescriptions, and create patient notes.
An ASP or Client-Hosted Server?
Consider alternatives. The traditional EMR system includes a data server located within the physician’s office; patient information is therefore stored onsite. If the upfront cost of this client-hosted server is too hefty, ask the EMR provider if you can pay for it in monthly installments. Another option is an application service provider (ASP), where the patient data is located off-site on the vendor’s Web site.
Jennifer McDuffee of Nuesoft Technologies, a provider of PPM systems and ASPs, noted that from the end user’s standpoint, there is really no discernable difference between an ASP and client-hosted server.