Q: What should I look for when selecting an EHR?
A: There are many EMRs on the market, but only a handful are developed for small to mid-level practices. You should schedule a demonstration of the software to make sure it meets your needs.
Q: How much is going to cost?
A: You want something not too expensive, as you are trying to build your revenue stream and not go broke in the process.
Q: Is it hard to learn? Do they offer some free training?
A: You want to find an intuitive system familiar to your workflow, so you can hit the ground running. Free training at the start can also help round out any questions you have and make you more comfortable.
Q: Do they offer a free trial?
A: You want to be able to try the system before you buy it. Like test driving a car, getting your hands on the system before purchase allows you to truly understand the layout and how easy it is. You also want to try the full system, rather than a limited version, so there are no surprises.
Q: Do they have implementation specialists familiar with new practice startup?
A: Once you have started working with a salesperson from an EMR company, ask them if you can speak to an implementation specialist regarding getting started. Usually, this person can serve as a consultant to help you create a plan on running the practice and ensuring you don’t overspend on services or hardware you do not need.
Q: How will you handle billing?
A: One of the biggest considerations when starting your new medical practice is how you will be paid. Some business owners prefer to start with a “Cash Pay” option, where your patients pay for each visit as they come in. Others choose to hire an internal biller who manages payments through a practice management software. Many choose to use an outside billing service to manage claims. Have a conversation with your implementation specialist to determine which option is best for you and your practice.
Q: How will you host your data?
A: Another item to consider is how best to host your software. Many practices are moving to cloud based or cloud hosted EMRs. Others are sticking with the conventional “Office Hosted” option, where your database is stored on your practice’s main computer or server. Discuss what option is best for you with your implementation specialist.
Q: What kind of hardware/tools will your new practice need?
A: Again, your implementation specialist will help you determine what hardware would be required to make your office run smoothly. It is very important to know what software and tools you will be using in your office prior to purchasing hardware so you do not overspend or buy equipment not suitable for your needs.