Choosing an EMR or EHR system for your practice is a challenging task. You need to select the right type of software that will fit your practice’s workflow and specialty. One of the main elements to consider when selecting software is whether to purchase single specialty or multi-specialty EMR. This decision should be made based on your practice’s specialty.

Multi-Specialty Practices

For multi-specialty clinics, it is advised that you purchase multi-specialty EHR opposed to multiple EHR systems for each specialty at your practice. A general, multi-specialty EHR will fit the general workflow of your practice and can connect all the specialty departments. If you install multiple systems for each specialty, you will have issues connecting all the various systems and it will be costly to setup and maintain them.

Specific Specialty Practices

This decision becomes more difficult for single specialty practices. For the more specific medical specialties, such as Oncology, Cardiology, or Nephrology, which have specific workflow, a specialty-specific EHR may be the best fit.

For example, cardiology EMR software is customized to deal with the unique characteristics of treating heart conditions. Cardiologists rely heavily on medical devices to help monitor and detect abnormalities of the heart so a cardiology-specific EHR will be able to integrate with ECG, ECHO, Spirometers, and other devices. This will greatly benefit a specialty-specific practice.

General Specialty Practices

For more general specialties, such as Internal Medicine, Family Practice, or Pediatrics, you may not need to purchase a specialty-specific EMR, since the workflow of a general EMR would suit your practice needs as well.

For example, a Family Practice clinic involves comprehensive health care, so a multi-specialty EHR would include all the various features this type of practice may need. Additionally, most multi-specialty EHR systems offer specialty-specific data and templates, and also offer customization options. Therefore, a multi-specialty EHR can still be tailored to any particular specialty focus of the general practice.

Other Specialty Practices

For the specialties that fall in the middle, such as Orthopedics or Pulmonology, it depends on specific practice. If the practice performs mostly specialty-specific tests or exams, a specialty EMR may be the best fit as it will have more functionality than a multi-specialty EMR. However, if your practice performs more general tests and exams that are similar to other specialties, then you may find a single specialty EMR too specific and would work better with a multi-specialty EMR.

Generally, single specialty EMR will fit your practice if it is a single specialty practice. However, you need to analyze the workflow of your practice to determine if a multi-specialty EHR would be better in your particular case. Ask other similar practices what type of EHR system they have implemented. Also, talk to EHR vendors to determine the functionality of their EHR systems and how it could benefit your practice.