Finding the right EMR for a practice can be a challenge. With hundreds of vendors touting their software, it is easy for physicians to get confused and for the buying process to move at a slow pace. Doctor need to first understand what the various feature differences among EMR software choices, before selecting the specific criteria that matches their individual needs. In order to help you succeed with EMR selection and implementation, we have compiled a list of important factors for you to consider.

1. Involve All Doctors in the Practice

If your practice has more than one doctor, you need to make sure you get buy-in from all doctors that will be using the EMR. This will not only help with choosing the right software for you practice but also facilitate the transition to actually using the new EMR.

2. Purchase an EMR That Fits Well with Your Speciality

It doesn’t matter what your specialty is: you will be able to find electronic medical records software that is tailored for your specialty. If you are not satisfied with any of the available choices, make sure the EMR you select is easily customized to fit your specialty.

3. Designate a Final Decision Maker

Make sure that someone in your practice is given the responsibility of making the final decision for the EMR purchase. Definitely give everyone an opportunity to contribute to the selection process, but avoid last minute debates and  power struggles by appointing clearly designating the ultimate decision maker ahead of time.

4. Be Diligent About Your EMR Vendor Agreement

Before you commit to purchasing the EMR, you should clarify the details of your agreement with the software vendor. Spell out what product versions and modules are included, what type of customer support you can expect, and what happens to your patient data if something happens to the vendor (e.g., goes out of business).

5. Plan the Implementation of Your EMR

Transitioning to electronic medical records involves a lot of moving parts. You should have a strategy for scanning (or inputting) existing paper-based records into the EMR. Also, take time to input each patient’s basic information. You may want to have a dedicated person for this, if you have the resources. At a minimum, make sure to have adequate training for anyone that will be using the system.

6. Consider Workflow When Implementing Your EMR

Your practice has been used to using clipboard and pens for awhile now, so be prepared for disruptions to your practice’s normal workflow. Try to anticipate how your EMR will be used (positioning of the computer terminal, the way the EMR will affect interactions with patients, etc.) so you will be ready once your system is up and running.

Selecting and implementing an electronic medical records system does not have to be a painful process. With some concerted planning and organization, you can optimize your chances of finding the right EMR for you practice and having a smooth transition away from paper-based records.