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Social Change of EMR

A chartless/paperless doctor’s office was once something only dreamt of in a Star Trek episode. Soon humans will utilize laser beams as a major mode of transportation; well possibly in the distant future we will transport ourselves via laser beam. The advancements in health care technology have made it possible to obtain a chartless (paperless) environment. Whether you are in private practice or part of a major health care organization, the latest technological push is towards EMR (electronic medical record) systems. The impact of EMR systems can be compared to a small earthquake; it has the potential to send shock waves through a health care environment long after the initial quake has passed. The installation and recovery from the implementation of an EMR application has the potential to be a cosmic social endeavor for any small practice or health system that is considering adapting such technology.

The implementation of EMR systems permeates through all sectors of an organization i.e. patients, providers, medical students, referring physicians, front desk staff, clerical staff etc... Embracing EMR technology is a daunting task even for those who accredit themselves to be computer savvy individuals. Notions of apprehension and fear of a paperless system is brought to the fore front by those who are deemed to commission the latest and greatest EMR technology.

President George W Bush is promoting a universal EMR system. During President Bush’s February 4, 2006 State of the Union Address he spoke of the need to increase the usage of EMR system in America, "We will make wider use of electronic records and other health information technology, to help control costs and reduce dangerous medical errors." (Doctors Gadgets Forums)

The initial hurdle is choosing an EMR solution, not all EMR systems are created equal. Often the largest challenge faced is determining the needs of the health system and evaluating potential product and vendors. A small physician practice does not require a completely integrated system with a myriad of bells and whistles. It is imperative to research the deliverable technology prior to forging an impetuous financial commitment with an EMR vendor. EMR technology is expensive; the price tag rises in accordance with robust functionality.

Thorough research should be conducted prior to choosing a vendor. Most reputable vendors have informative web sites regarding their product. Ask collogues for references; lastly do not be afraid to attend EMR conferences or vendor fairs. If you do not speak tech-ease, consider hiring a consulting to evaluate potential products and vendors. The EMR Road Show is an excellent vendor fair that travels across the country; it helps small practice whittle through some of the challenges faced when choosing an EMR application (Channa Bannis Director, The EMR Road Show™Facsimile www.emrroadshow.com ). A large health system should conduct an in house vendor conference; reputable vendors thrive at the opportunity to perform “dog & pony” shows for potential client contracts. Invite personnel from all areas of the health system to view and evaluate the potential products. Surveys are an excellent tool to measure vendor technology. Below is a comprehensive list that should be taken into consideration prior to choosing an EMR application, whether you are a large health system or small practice, these nine simple guidelines will ease you through the vendor process.

1.Workflow Efficiency – Choose a system that will best suite your office. Make sure the work flow will not require a major reconstruction of your physical space.

2.Specialty Content – Review the bells and whistle, determine if they will be useful to your staff.

3.User Flexibility – Determine if this is a user-friendly product, evaluate the skill level of the users.

4.Implementation Flexibility – Find out the details...
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