As a healthcare provider first begins the search for the best EMR software from the top EMR vendors, it is important to plan properly for the change. This plan involves focusing on the primary purpose for the purchase of EMR software. The primary purpose is related to a cost savings focus, an operational efficiency focus for the practice, or a focus on improving healthcare record accuracy and quality for patients. The purpose for adopting EMR software directly impacts the decision on which software to purchase, because different EMR software packages are better than others depending on what the ultimate goal for the software is.
The first step to choosing the best EMR software from the top EMR vendors is to consider the amount of money available to be spent on the EMR software. Standard cost-to-benefit ratios are often one of the best metrics to determine what the true benefits and costs are from implementation. All potential factors must be considered including additional staffing resources, medical dictation and transcription software and services, potential reductions in billing related errors, reductions in the related collection costs, reductions in office supplies, purchases of additional computer equipment, and reductions in space needed for records storage. All of these factors influence the true costs and benefits of EMR software implementation beyond the cost of the EMR software itself.
If the primary focus of choosing to purchase EMR software from top EMR vendors is to earn additional money, then another important analysis that needs to be performed is looking at the potential return on investment. This analysis looks more specifically at the net value gained from the purchase of EMR software over the costs to implement the software. The important factors to consider in this analysis are the financial impacts from reduction in paid staff time to maintain manual records, maintenance and upgrade costs to the EMR software, additional computer costs from integration of the EMR software with pre-existing programs and equipment, and additional computer equipment upgrade costs.
The second step to choosing the best EMR software from the top EMR vendors is to consider the technical functions that EMR software needs to have and the features it must possess. The software needs to be able to meet the minimum basic needs of the healthcare provider, however must also not be too technical to the point where the software is difficult to use or the software becomes much more expensive due to features never utilized. The software must be chosen to specifically meet the needs of the healthcare provider. Generic “one size fits all” EMR software often doesn’t meet the needs of a healthcare provider, because it may lack abilities that are unique to specific healthcare providers and practices.
Most of the top EMR vendors combine EMR software with Practice Management Solutions software. Because the software packages come from the same vendor, they are already well integrated with each other. The practice management solutions software incorporates database functionality and interfaced communication lines. By having these two software packages combined, the risk of duplicated records due to poor integration of two unrelated software packages is greatly lowered. The top EMR vendors combine the two, making the flow of data and information effortless and flawless.
Other important consideration for choosing EMR software from top EMR vendors includes reading reviews online from EMR software users in similar practices and organizational structures. These reviews are helpful in determining the level of success other healthcare providers have had using the system and can also expose any major flaws or glitches within the software. Another important consideration is the usage and licensing agreements available from the EMR software vendor. Many vendors will offer single physician licenses, group licenses limited to 5 or 10 users, and unlimited licensing. The costs associated with these license limits vary greatly however, therefore it is important to determine the number of licenses needed when determining the final costs of the EMR software.
Additional consideration necessary to obtain the best EMR software from the top EMR vendors is to determine if the EMR software company already has customers in the same specific practice type. The number of customers the software company currently has is also important. The length of time the company has been in business needs to be determined. Companies that just started often have basic programs that will need more significant modifications than companies that have been around for a while. The software must be customizable through templates or other means to adapt to specific healthcare focuses. The EMR software needs to be validated as produced by the company internally, externally, or outsourced. Software products not produced internally have a greater risk of problems often with less support in place to fix them. One other factor to consider is how often the EMR software is updated and patched for potential errors.
One of the top EMR vendors is Allscripts EMR software. Allscripts has many great features including an intuitive workflow that mimics normal practice documentation procedures and record maintenance and retrieval. It also allows multiple flexible financing arrangements. It also connects through an information portal to pharmacies, national labs, insurance companies, and other hospitals and healthcare facilities. Finally, this software offers the combined practice management solutions software for seamless workflow integration.
Another great EMR software is the award winning NextGen Product Suite. This EMR software system uses real time workflow processing between healthcare providers, hospitals, and patients. Unique features to NextGen are clinical templates for over 25 specialized healthcare provider practice types, disease management templates and automatic checks of potentially dangerous medication combinations with prescribing through the software.
One other excellent EMR software from one of the top EMR vendors is Medflow EMR. This EMR software package was created specifically for eye care providers and practices. This vendor has a proven track record of success, with a 100% successful implementation rate. This software also allows E-prescribing, diagnosis decision support, and a robust customer support system with specific experience related to the eye care industry.
Other great EMR software solutions include Benchmark Systems – MD Navigator, Centricity Practice Solution from GE Healthcare, Eclipse, Greenway PrimeSuite 2008, Medworxs, SequelMed HER, and SuiteMed IMS. These systems all feature fully integrated practice management solution packages as well, for seamless integration of the data flow.
Once the EMR software is researched and reviewed and specific vendors are considered, it is important to then obtain quotes of cost from the top EMR vendors. Electronic medical records play an important role in the healthcare system today. This role is set to expand significantly as the government continues to consider mandates on the use of electronic medical records. There are many factors to consider when choosing an EMR software, and there are many different options available. By focusing on primary questions during the research phase such as the primary purpose for the EMR software implementation and how that impacts the software need in relation to cost, operational improvements, or an improved standard of patient healthcare and record monitoring?