Pediatric healthcare professionals rely on electronic medical records (EMRs) to capture patient information and store medical data. These days, EMRs are regularly replacing paper records because they eliminate many of the risks and disadvantages inherent in paper-based information.
These include poor handwriting, unauthorized access, risk of theft, risk of damage, difficulty in retrieval, and the need for physical storage space.
EMR systems allow pediatric practices to organize patient records efficiently.
They ensure record protection, patient safety, prescription medication tracking, and the management of long-term illnesses. Nevertheless, with numerous pediatrics EMR vendors in the market, choosing one that meets your practice’s needs can be challenging. Here are some of the key factors you should take into consideration when choosing your pediatric EMR system.
1. Your requirements
Not all pediatric practices are created equal. So, their expectations of an EMR system will not necessarily be the same either. EMR products have a vast array of possible functions – from patient admission and patient scheduling, to medication lists and patient analytics. You want to choose the one that’s most suitable for your needs.
Think about the main reasons you are making the switch from a paper process to an EMR, or why you are considering switching vendors. Answering these questions should help you develop a list of must-have requirements for your new EMR system.
Some EMR products are designed with a particular medical practice specialty in mind, while others are more generic and provide a broad range of capabilities.
EMR systems that have a generic target market may not deliver the features you require as a pediatric practice. On the other hand, if you choose a pediatric-centric EMR, users are more likely to experience a familiar, intuitive workflow.
The staff in a pediatric practice should be spending most of their time and energy thinking about the treatment of patients. Your EMR system should facilitate pediatric processes and not be an impediment. Healthcare is already a complex discipline. The last thing you need is technology further compounding this complexity.
Usability is crucial. If a demo version of the EMR is available, run a few tests with your team on the common functions you would be using during daily routines. You should be able to hit the ground running from the beginning. If there is a sense of confusion or ambiguity about what to do or where to go when you are using the EMR for the first time, future users are likely to encounter similar problems as well.
Over time, pediatric EMR users become highly skilled in their use of the system. Nevertheless, the developer of the system will always have unrivalled knowledge of the application. Therefore, the availability, reliability and quality of support available to you and your team is important.
Reputable EMR vendors will typically provide 24/7 support. This is essential because you don’t know when you are going to encounter a crippling system problem. Support should not just be reactive, it should be proactive as well by prompting you to perform upgrades, install new features, and fix bugs.
5. Vendor long-term viability
When you procure a pediatric EMR, you are entering into a long-term relationship with the vendor. At a minimum, you should settle for a vendor who shows promise of being in business for a long time. It is obviously not possible for you to predict this with absolute certainty, but you can get a feel by reading reports from market analysts, as well as by reading recent press releases from management.
Also, the vendor should demonstrate a realization that technology, regulations and the markets are constantly changing and that they are keen on keeping up with these changes.
Get it right
EMR solutions can be a means of streamlining your pediatric practice’s functions as well as improving your bottom line. Still, EMR systems are not a silver bullet. The EMR solution you choose should match your practice’s needs both now and in the future. Consider these five factors and you are bound to get an EMR application that you will be content with for a long time.