Monday, May 16, 2011

5 Hints for an Easier EMR Implementation

This year, many doctors this will will start the EMR implementation process for their practices. Understandably, it could be seen as a very daunting process because converting your entire medical records system is a major undertaking and change is never easy. Questions arise such as which EMR software to buy, whether or not the staff will be able to learn it quickly and if the practice has enough money for the system they need.  Here are some helpful hints for an easier EMR implementation transition:

1. Explore All Options

Exploring all available options by speaking with an EMR consultant is the best method for EMR comparison.  Your consultant will ask what size your practice is, like how many providers are in one office, and what type of practice it is.  Ambulatory?  Inpatient?  Also, whether you're a specialty practice or not.  You will then be able to choose from an array of software and equipment that will best suit your needs.  Product demos are generally available for all software platforms to give the doctor and staff the ability to take it for a test drive before buying.  When looking for an EMR system, be sure that it is certified, meaning that it's been certified by the CCHIT and meets Medicare's meaningful use incentive requirements.

2. Carefully Calculate Costs

All businesses worry about budgeting - or at least the smart ones do. It's wise to speak to the practice's accountant before contacting an EMR consultant.  Remember, you will be receiving incentive money for 5 years, so your first year's payment can go toward the new system.  How much do you have in the budget to spend after that?  Along with the initial cost of the system, factor in the operating cost for the next 5 years.

3. Purchase the Right Equipment

With a budget in mind and after a consult with an EMR systems expert, the next step would be to pick out equipment to that works with the software. Generally, an equipment setup would include a desktop computer and at least one laptop or tablet to carry around to enter patient data.  A printer is necessary as well as a scanner for images.  An additional hand held scanner may be helpful for barcodes, such as for prescriptions. 
A cart work station may also be needed if using a laptop or tablet.  Medical devices are also available that can be attached to a computer via USB cable that are compatible with EMR systems that directly input patient data.

4. Have Tech Support Handy

Having a tech support team on speed dial cannot be stressed enough.  Their job is to help you with any software and equipment questions you might have about your new EMR system.  Many times, instruction guides for software is online and really hard to find when in a hurry and device manuals are about as thick as a phone book.  The quickest answers can usually be found through tech support's hot-line.  Be sure each one of your staff that uses the new system has the number on hand as well.  

5. Educate Your Staff

After all the correct equipment has been purchased and the software set up, your office staff will need to be educated on how to use it.  Be sure you know it as fully as possible in case they might have questions.  Hold training sessions or assign a project manager to teach the rest of the team.  Once again, have the number of your tech support easily accessible for questions.  The more training your staff has with the new system, the more comfortable they will be using it with the patients.


  1. Oh' thanks for sharing this "5 Hints for an Easier EMR Implementation" This information will really help. Keep posting!

    electronic medical records

  2. Every healthcare provider should switch to an EMR solution. Paper based records and prescriptions are a thing of the past now and it would be best for both doctors and patients to take advantage of their features and accessibility.

    Medical Billing I Free EMR

  3. Hi Krisha, I promise I will start posting more often! Thanks for your comment!

  4. Absolutely agreed, EMR Work Force! Everything else has gone digital and it's about time healthcare does as well. Thank you so much for your comment!