As the EMR market heats up, the concern for most doctors and administrators has been to get it right the first time. My conversations recently have led me to believe that many have been hasty in their choice of an integral part of their practice. There are aspects of certain EMRs that could use some improvement if not a complete ovehrall. My experience has been that when choosing a comprehensive system, a well-funded company like McKesson should be at the top of your list.
We choose to work with McKesson products such as Medisoft Clinical, Lytec, and Practice Partner. All proven entities in the EMR market, these products have shown over time to be the best option for overall digitized charts and reports. With a full line of billing and easy to access charting solutions, these systems are far superior to the average Joe.
Below are some issues that all practices face:
Preparing for implementation of new systems must be predicated on engagement of your staff. From the outset, the doctor must dictate influence and passion for a strategic initiative, not simply an IT initiative. Most practices underestimate the time and costs associated with a new system. Make sure you plan your schedule to have the time to learn EMR functions including clinical order entry, nursing and physician documentation, and clinical decision support.
Scanning in Data
The biggest headache for providers is what to do with all the boxes of medical records after installing an EMR. Manual extraction is certainly time consuming and will require some upfront investment to see it through. We suggest looking ahead at your appointments and scanning the data in before the patient arrives. Assuming patients come at least once a year, most of your data will be in the EMR in a calendar year.
Doctors generally do not like templates that come standard in EMRs. We suggest working with your vendor to create templates that mirror your work flow. This will make it easy to generate verbiage which will say exactly what you want for a given patient. Customizable templates can make the entire process much easier to navigate. Speech to text dictation can also be used. The newer technologies have exceeded expectations to allow the doctor to quickly document a visit.
EMRs are designed to issue alerts for adverse drug interactions and contain decision support tools. Many providers simply ignore or overlook them. It’s important to try and find a balance between lack of decision support and too many alerts.
HL7, the standard language for EMRs is still evolving. But currently EMRs cannot talk to each other. It is frustrating for doctors not to be able to get patient records in a format suitable for their particular EMR software. Soon we should see the industry coming together and offer data exports so that all can be accessed easily.
There is a significant shortage of qualified health IT professionals to meet the demand of EMR implementation and support. We are lucky to have a talented staff of experts in this area. Supporting EMR is a hot topic in the medical world and it is imminent that you retain a seasoned team to help you going forward.
Iron Comet Consulting is a certified Platinum Reseller for McKesson and is located in Stockbridge Georgia. We are a full service medical IT and billing company.