So now you’ve finally decided to move from the traditional paper-based system to the modern electronic health record system. You start to look for it. You feel overwhelmed, isn’t it? There are many companies out there that claim to make EHR systems. But this doesn’t necessarily mean it will benefit your clinical and operational needs. EHRs aren’t a one-size-fits-all thing. Choosing the right EHR that perfectly fits into your practice’s workflow could be a Himalayan task. The right EHR system will greatly help you to improve clinical efficiency in order to provide the best quality care for your patients.

The following are the essential steps to choosing the right EHR system.

  1. Review all resources: There are a number of resources that you can approach to take guidance. The Regional Extension Centers operate in all the states and provide free EHR adoption consultation. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society also offer guidance to help practices choose the right EHR system. You can also talk to other physicians in the same specialty to help you make an informed decision.
  2. Evaluate your needs: Every medical practice is unique and has varying requirements and demands for EHR. The EHR system that you choose should perfectly fit into your practice specialty and size. Make sure to take into consideration your future needs as your practice grows. Knowing what exactly you need will help you to match it to the EHR features that best suits your requirements.
  3. Define your requirements: This is a crucial step where you determine where your practice and patient information will be hosted. There are three hosting options available – self-hosted, cloud-based and outsourced. In self-hosting the server is put up in the medical practice and accessed by the staff. In the case of cloud based servers the medical practice accesses the software through the internet. Whereas, in the outsourced option the server is housed and managed by a third party.
  4. Choose the vendor: Now that you are clear with what you want now it’s time for you to choose the EHR that best fits your requirements. For this purpose you can request demos to see how the features work or send an RFP (Request For Proposal) inviting vendors to submit a proposal. These two options are an excellent way to assess the suitability of the EHR system.
  5. Decide on the cost: The cost is a significant factor to consider when choosing an EHR system. Make sure to determine the total cost of ownership. It involves calculating the costs of implementation, data migration, ongoing maintenance and ensuring compliance with laws.
  6. Negotiate contract: This is the final step where you pick a vendor and negotiate the terms of purchase of the EHR system. Make sure to understand all aspects of the EHR contract. You will need to negotiate for the on-going support services and for the HIPAA business associate agreement between your practice and the vendor.

While choosing the right EHR system and the vendor, make sure to take into consideration important factors like practice needs, EHR requirements, and budget. The above-discussed steps will definitely help you to make an informed decision to ensure that you purchase the right EMR system for your clinical practice.

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