I Am Still Looking For an EMR

Written by Sheryl J. Cherico

April 3, 2014

I am still looking for an EMRA client told me this week, I am still looking for an EMR.  Are you still looking for an EMR?  If so, you are not alone.  Many practices are still struggling with the “right” EMR for their practice.Do you still have paper charts?  If so, you are not alone.  Just this week I stepped into 2 offices that are still on paper, and one of my personal Physicians is still on paper. (although we argue quite a bit).  If you are on paper, I am curious…what is the reason?  From what I have experienced, the biggest problems I see are:

1.  The cost – purchasing an EMR is very costly, although a vendor will tell you it is only $399 (more or less) per month per provider.  Have you ever heard of “hidden costs”.  An EMR is hidden costs at its finest.  You can expect to possibly need to purchase; new equipment, claims processing, software assurance, software support, hardware support, patient portal, reporting and more.  Now don’t get me wrong, some of these things are included.  Still, some are not.

Another cost, which is the biggest cost…is time.  How do you put a price on a Physicians time for building templates, learning the system, making mistakes while learning the system, or dropping patient volume to accommodate the learning curve.

2.  Some people in the practice want it, some don’t – who wins this battle?  It has nothing to do with age or experience.  If you really think about it, what is more convenient than thumbing through a paper chart?  What we fail to think about is what it takes to get that paper in the chart.  Do you have a medical records department?  Do you pay rent on that space?  Employees, benefits?  Do they receive information from other practices, patients, over a fax machine?  How is all that paper organized and tucked neatly into that convenient little chart?

3.  Don’t trust electronics – What if my computer crashes, or a fire destroys my systems?  Have a good backup and you will be fine.  HIPAA laws focus quite a bit on how to protect your ePhi. You have a better chance with electronic records than you do with paper.

4.  Can’t find the right system – you can demo, demo, demo.  They all do similar things, the difference is how it looks.  Some may be more user friendly, but at the end of the day, the results are the same.  Don’t get pulled into “paralysis by analysis”.  Pick a system and go with it.

If you are still using paper, take the plunge!  Trust me…you will be happier down the road.

 

Sheryl Cherico is the CEO of Tier3MD, an IT support group for medical practices. 1-855-MYTIER3