Electronic Medical Records Implementation Thoughts
The company I work for, Solano Dermatology Associates, has decided to move forward with EMR (Electronic Medical Records). We have five locations, multiple providers and a large staff. This makes sense to have everything digital. Being a fan of technology, I’m all for the move and will be an integral part of implementing, training and maintaining our system.
We have purchased a system that is robust, that can handle our needs of a large practice, and can be tailored. While such a system is an expensive endeavor, our government has provided incentives to move in this direction and show meaningful use of such a system. It’s certainly wise to take advantage of incentives when they are being offered. Particularly since the government has outlined that when the incentives are gone, they will start implementing disincentives (paying lower reimbursements on all medicare claims if you are not using an EMR program).
One of the factors in our decision was the ability to host the application on outsourced servers, where hardware costs, design and maintenance of hardware, and backups of our data are out of our hands. Then using the power of the internet to access our program from any location we choose. Now a browser based program would have been nice, but there are few options and widespread disagreement about security. Personally, if I can bank online I should be able to deal with health records online. The government somehow has made our health records a matter of top security and has demanded the highest level of security for EMR systems.
For this, we have chosen a system that will allow us to VPN (virtual private network) into our outsourced server and run our software remotely. This is easy enough to do, but not as easy as going to any pc with an internet access and a browser and logging in.
While our decisions will result in a productive useful EMR, we’ll never really know if there was an alternative that was equal or better at functioning to our liking.