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EHR Adopters Give Advice To Those Considering Electronic Medical Records

Tue, 11/22/2011 - 6:00am
Peter J. Polack, MD

Our practice went live with our own EMR system in late 2008. For the most part, this was uneventful. The reason for this was mainly due to proper planning. And credit for our implementation plan goes primarily to our administrator, our IT director, and staff members of our appointed EMR committee. Although some of the physicians were an integral part of the committee, we tried our best not to micromanage the process. We also made the decision to gradually roll out EMR, instead of trying to convert all our patients overnight. As a result, there was no loss of productivity for the entire practice. And these days especially, every dollar counts.

It is estimated that no more than 20 to 25% of medical practices in the US are using EMR as of this writing. Why? Practices site cost, waiting for the right EHR, and concerns about recouping their investment as some of the reasons why they’re holding off on their decision. For practices that are not yet using EHR, here are some words of advice that hopefully will guide you along the way.

Doctors tend to like gadgets so their inclination is to focus on the software. This is usually a mistake. As in many technology implementations, sometimes the who is more important than the what. The following is a list of implementation steps from a guide I wrote, Navigating the EMR Jungle. Notice that the software itself is not mentioned until step 5.

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