Pitfalls to Avoid When Opening a
Step 1: Where to Begin / Choose an EMR Wisely
You are looking to open your new medical practice, but don’t know where to begin. You have your office space picked out, and now you need to set it all up. But where to start? First, you should decide on an EMR (Electronic Medical Record) to run your practice. There are numerous things to think about when looking. You want something that is not too expensive, as you are trying to build your revenue stream and not go broke in the process. You also need software that will grow as you grow. Finally, you want something easy to learn and use. As you already are heavily involved in starting a new business, you don’t want to get bogged down with a difficult EMR startup:
- Cost Effective
- Easy to Learn
- Easy to Use
There are many EMRs on the market, but only a handful that are developed for small to mid-level practices. You should schedule a demonstration of the software to make sure it meets your needs. When choosing one, please consider the following:
- Do they offer a free trial?
- Do they offer some free training?
- Do they have implementation specialists familiar with new practice startup?
- Do they offer Practice Management software or billing options?
Step 2: Determine Your Needs
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 help as a consultant to help you create a plan on running the practice and ensure don’t overspend on services or hardware you do not need. There are several things to consider as you startup:
- How will you be billing (insurance vs. cash based / fee for service)?
- Will you employ a medical biller or use an outside service?
- Will you need a cloud based EMR or do you prefer office hosted?
- What kind of hardware/tools will your new practice need?
How Will You Handle Billing?
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.
How Will You Host Your Data?
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. Again, please discuss what option is best for you with your implementation specialist. They will help you determine what option will be right for you, as well as 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 that is not suitable for your needs.
Step 3: Opening Your Practice
Now that you have chosen your EMR, determined your billing option, established what tools/hardware and additional software you need, now it is time to put it all together. You may decide to hire an IT person to set up your computers and network for you, or maybe you can set up your computers yourself, and have your ISP (Internet Service Provider) configure your network for you. Then you can reach out to your EMR sales executive and implementation specialist to set up and install your software package(s). You should schedule your new staff people to come in and work with your implementation person to get you and the staff trained and ready to go. Some EMRs offer some free training options (webinars, videos, etc.), and others may offer paid training options (onsite or remote) as well. Once all of your equipment is installed, and you and your staff are trained, you are ready to open.