EMR system refers to a record-keeping system for storing managerial records. The system enables one to access patient records from a central location. This system impresses a lot of patients as it is easy to navigate due to the state-of-the-art technology. The system also helps in streamlining the charting process, allowing one to improve office efficiency and provide better patient care. It also adapts to different medical specialties and workflows. This ensures that each provider gets the best from the implementation of the process.
Installation of EMR Software
Installation of the EMR system requires a number of steps. These include a planning process, whereby members of the project team gather information concerning the software from a number of clinics and hospitals that have had experience in the installation and use of the system. Here, they ask relevant questions concerning the software with leaders and high-level users who also share with them relevant documents concerning the implementation of the software. The members of the project team can also discuss the process of implementation with a number of vendors, hence providing a basis for the development of the implementation plan.
Implementation of the EMR plan
The process of implementing the plan consists of a number of tasks which include analysis of the flow of work, adjustment of facilities, setting up of hardware, software design, improvement of a support system, filling in of old data and training (Kirshner. M, Salomon H and Chin H, 2004). Team project members should clearly identify their goals and make worthwhile decisions concerning the project. This also involves identifying the technologies that would be used to allow the inclusion of infrastructure. These include network connection in the patient room, use of scanners, monitors, tablet locking stations and wireless devices.
Work Flow Analysis and Design
This can be achieved through conducting an analysis of how tasks can be accomplished using the old system. This involves conducting an analysis of existing work processes and designing new workflows which can be achieved using tools available in the EMR. An example is the replacement of paper phone messages with electronic ones. Most of the EMR and Medical Billing software systems are client centered. In this regard, all the data and information concerning the patients could be stored in the server and can be accessed by different clients. This makes work easy in the office due to improvement of performance and reduction of errors.
During installation, choice of the appropriate server is of immense importance. This is because the server acts as the home base for all the computers in the office. This ensures that data gets protected from viruses, theft, fire and power disruptions. One should also take into consideration an automatic nightly back up for the patient data to ensure proper reliability. The server chosen should also be able to hold a large workload of data to enable it meet the necessities of the office as it grows with time. This reduces the costs of having to purchase another server when the office grows bigger.
Use of PC Tablets
When choosing client computers for the office, one may decide to use wireless tablet PCs, based on their intended use and efficiency. These can be connected to the server through a wireless network. This allows for movement from room to room while documenting the patients’ visits electronically. This helps an immense deal in reducing costs as only one PC tablet may be required per treating provider hence saving on hardware costs. This requires the employees to acquire training for both the EMR system and tablet PC. This may be time consuming and expensive at times leading to consumption of excess funds.
Another option could be installation of work stations which get connected to the server through a wired network. The work stations can be positioned strategically in the office to enhance easy accessibility when treating patients. This method can be demanding as it needs a lot of computers. It is however, effective for high volume offices with a large number of staff.
When installing an EMR, the clinic or organization should be mindful of time constraints. This can be done by ensuring that all the activities that could be affected by the installation get conducted before the system can be implemented. EMR systems can take one to two years to be installed and obtain full reimbursement. The system must complete the first stage of federal requirements within the first years or even longer if the vendor backlogs begin to build.
Advantages of EMR system
The EMR has a number of advantages as compared to paper records. These include the fact that it has an increasing storage capability and can store records for longer periods of time as compared to paper recording system. The EMR can also be accessed from remote sites at the same time and information can be retrieved from the system almost immediately. The records also get updated continuously and become available for use everywhere and can be accessed from any unit work station when needed. This enhances fast and effective running of activities in the clinic. It also prevents loss of documents through misplacements or damage. This can be caused by rain, carelessness or ageing.
The system can also provide medical alerts as well as reminders. This helps in keeping the office staff updated and up to date. It is also able to recognize abnormal lab results or threatening drug interactions. This helps an immense deal in research as clinicians are able to identify different types of upcoming viruses and infections (Delpierre.C, Cuzin.L, Fillaux.J, Alvarez.M, Massip.P and Lang T, 2004). The system also links the clinicians to protocols, care plans, critical paths, and literature databases of healthcare knowledge. This helps in equipping the staff members with valuable knowledge concerning their fields of specialization hence enabling them to provide effective services to the patients (Sittig.D, Kuperman.J and Fiskio J, 1999).
Disadvantages of EMR system
However, the system contains some disadvantages which include the substantial learning curve. This puts a large number of clinicians who do not have technical knowledge under training. This is because they need to be the core users of the system who need to undertake data entry as well as retrieval of information. Installation of the software is also expensive. This is because; some clinics may require a number of servers and computers for the system to be effective, depending on the number of staff and customers in the clinic.
EMR is an efficient record keeping system. This is because it gives room for easy retrieval of data and information. It also enhances safety and confidentiality of information. Organizations should take time to learn how the system works and identify its strong points and weaknesses. This will enable them to device the best ways of implementing the system. They should also consider the time frame in which they require the system to be installed and go live. This enables them to schedule their activities effectively and implement different ways of handling the changes. Proper recruitment and training of employees can also be put in place appropriately.
Delpierre. Cuzin. L, Fillaux. J, Alvarez. M, Massip. P and Lang. T. (2004). A systematic review of computer based patient record systems and quality of care: more randomized clinical trials or a broader approach? New York: Qual Health Care.
Kirshner. M, Salomon. H and Chin H. (2004). An evaluation of one-on-one advanced proficiency training in clinicians’ use of computer information systems. United Kingdom: Med Inform.
Sittig. D, Kuperman. J and Fiskio. J. (1999). Evaluating physician satisfaction regarding user interactions with an electronic medical record system. Oxford University Press: United States.