EMR is Just a Tool – Use it Only if …

I was visiting a Client in Los Angeles. He started up a new practice. He wanted to start with an EMR software that was a complete system to help him get started in the right way.
When we first talked last year, my first thought was that just like many others, he would want a system that can do everything without having to pay anything.

I was surprised when he emphasized that he had two objectives.

  1. A system that was powerful enough to help him with clinical documentation and manage the business of a medical practice.
  2. Someone who can be a ‘partner’ to help optimize the practice workflow and bring in efficiency.

What was missing here in the goals was – ‘how much’. He did not talk about pricing at all. Out of the four packages that were offered, he chose number 3 which had more value services, unlimited training, and immediate phone support when he needed it. He ended up paying a couple hundred dollars a month more than what he would have paid otherwise, but what he ended up getting was far more valuable.

During my time at this clinic last week, I found that he had been able to set up an extremely smooth workflow, and his staff was trained and happy. They knew that EMR Software was a tool that they needed to use optimally.

I did not see any of the standard negatives I see at other practices struggling with EMR Software implementation. I have seen some practices with the same software struggle. Part of the problem was that there were compromises made in the level of training they purchased.

In a nutshell, here are some things we did together:

  1. Optimized Templates that would take care of 80-90% of patients within 90 seconds or less.
  2. Front Desk optimized patient registration and scheduling process.
  3. Empowering Patients to help with intake data to reduce their paperwork and staff’s time doing data entry.
  4. Creating Notes such that billing is error-free with minimal rejection.
  5. Setting up Management Reports to help practice owners and providers stay on top of Practice Finances by spending less than 5 minutes per week.

In short, if you like the EMR System you are looking at, make sure you get adequate training and services. EMR Software should be a tool to help re-engineer your Practice and optimize workflow.

Author: Chandresh Shah

Chandresh Shah specializes in Healthcare IT and Medical Billing. He knows the market inside out; what works, what doesn’t. He advises and works with small business owners.