Thursday, December 22, 2011

What to Look For In Selecting the Best Pediatric EMR

A wise friend broke some devastating news to me recently: There will never be enough hours in a day to finish everything you wanted to get done. As a pediatrician, I imagine you have even less hours in your day and more things to get done than most of us. Like many other physicians, you’re probably keeping an eye open for a new EMR solution, if not actively shopping around for one – when you have the time. Choosing the best pediatric EMR for your practice does take a bit of time and honest effort, but is well worth it when you’ve done your homework.

When shopping for the best pediatric EMR to meet your needs, it’s important to actually take some time out and schedule a product demo with the vendor. The vendor will want to know if you already have EMR software implemented and if you’re looking for just an EMR, a practice management or an all-in-one solution including billing and a patient portal. Going through the demo with your rep allows you to see how the software works and whether or not it will work well with you. Do you like the user interface? Is it compatible with your workflow or does it require too much side-stepping? Most importantly, does it have the content you need? The following are five features that pediatricians should be looking for in an EMR:

Specialized Exam Templates – A pediatric EMR has well/sick child and well/sick baby exam templates to follow instead of adult exam templates that come with a primary care EMR.

Electronic Growth Chart – Growth charts aren’t a part of primary care, but obviously highly relevant to pediatrics. Electronic growth charts monitor and compare height and weight based on ethnicity and geography.

Pediatric Drug Dosage Calculator - As most EMRs come with an ePrescribe feature, a pediatrics EMR should come with a pediatric drug dosage calculator to catch dosage and interaction errors before the prescription is sent.

Immunization Management - A good pediatric EMR should include an immunization management tool to alert pediatricians when patients are due for their next round of vaccinations and to prevent duplicate immunization from occurring.

School Absence Excuse Template – A feature not found in general practice EMR is the school absence excuse template. Be sure to ask your vendor if their EMR has this feature because kids do get sick and sometimes have to miss a couple of days of school, no matter how hard you try to prevent it.

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