It's a basic fact: healthcare EMR adoption saves money. Lots of money. In fact, according to a 2010 British study, a full-scale adoption of healthcare EMR in the United States could save Medicare nearly $27 billion per year, with private payers saving upwards of $31 billion per year. That's some serious savings. What this study did not look at, however, is how electronic medical records can save the individual doctor and small clinic thousands of dollars per year, merely by bringing about new efficiencies in the workflow of a practice that weren't there before.
Properly planning the installation, workflow design and training involved in adopting healthcare EMR in your practice is key to its success. Many inexperienced healthcare EMR providers, some of whom have only recently jumped on the EMR bandwagon in order to profit from the stimulus program, simply do not have the planning experience that ensures truly efficient system adoption. In fact, many vendors survive merely on "getting the check" and then leaving the doctor or clinic "hanging out to dry" while they move on to the next customer.
This can be a harrowing experience, one which has soured many doctors to healthcare EMR, despite its massive benefits. But, there are questions that can be asked to avoid such a problem.
Important Healthcare EMR Questions
When selecting an electronic medical records software provider, there are a few important questions which should be asked. First off, ask yourself this: am I selecting my EMR vendor based on the lowest bid?
If this is the case, you may want to reconsider. The EMR software industry is a prime example of "you get what you pay for", and many doctors find that after choosing the "low bid" provider, they have been left hanging out to dry. What's more, this low quality healthcare EMR system usually ends up costing the doctor far more in training and support costs than he ever imagined. Recognize that the more inexpensive a product seems in the short term means that the "real costs" are typically longer term.
Are You Experienced?
At Medical Software Associates, we cannot stress the importance of experience as a factor in choosing your healthcare EMR vendor. Over the past 20 years, we've seen competitors come and go, each of them taken out by one prime factor: their inexperience.
Successfully serving a client base that demands a quick return on investment takes hard work and determination, and most EMR vendors simply are not willing to put in the time to serve their clients properly. When you add in the issues that come with developing, supporting and training for a healthcare EMR software product, most new vendors come up short.
If you have a good feeling about an EMR vendor, get a case study. Talk to some recently satisfied customers. If the company isn't willing to provide the contact details for a recently satisfied customer, a HUGE red flag should come up.
Will You Support This System?
With many healthcare EMR providers, support is simply not a focus. In fact, many vendors get paid simply by providing the installation. Once the installation is complete, it's "see you later" and on to the next customer. Avoid this kind of shop like the plague. In many cases, these companies are simply commission hounds looking to shift units, which will not help your practice in any way. If the EMR vendor you're looking at does not have a 24 hour dedicated support line, move on.
Be Skeptical, But Open
Adopting healthcare EMR into your practice is a complex decision, and one which should not be taken lightly. Being skeptical during the sales process will ensure you aren't victimized by fast-talking vendors with really very little experience in the field. While Medical Software Associates does get a lot of business from doctors who have been previously burned, we certainly would always prefer that you get it right the first time. Contacting us today is your first step.