Why is the United States so far behind most western countries in implementing the use of Electronic Medical Records (EMR). The US is nearly 20 years behind in this technology. Most other industry segments have invested heavily in technology, and reaped the benefits in time and cost savings.
There are many reasons why the US healthcare system has fallen behind. What are they?
Doctors are not tech savvy
EMR changes much of how a healthcare facility operates. How all of the daily functions flow and are tracked will be revamped. Many physicians are not comfortable with technology, and they might have to rely on the advice and expertise of others to implement EMR software systems. Having experienced trouble with previous systems and implementations is a common problem. Physicians are often stretched too thin to see their way clear to allocating the time and resources to getting the process started and completed. Office staff that have been following a familiar system also resist the effort and confusion a new system can bring.
Too many choices?
There are hundreds of EMR solutions on the market. Making the right choice takes a lot of time and investigation. It is important to select a solution that can be customized to fit your practice. This is important for workflow management, and the cost of this customization should be thoroughly checked out when buying a product. It is also important to find out how much support the vendor will provide when implementing the system. There are horror stories in the market where software arrives and then users are left to fend for themselves. Instead of creating efficiencies, many roll outs create time loss and frustration.
In an ever fast paced electronic world, bells and whistles in a software program may not be the answer. Find out what you really need and what efficiencies can be realistically gained. Measure productivity costs if you can. Once you feel comfortable with the answers you get from an EMR provider, take a deep breath and move forward. It may take some time to realize the benefits, but they will come. Your return on investment (ROI) should not be too difficult to calculate. Your vendor should have studies available. Look them over and see if they make sense to you. Calculate your practice hours and the efficiencies that you can realize. A good choice here can mean excellent rates of returns and the opportunity to grow without having to substantially add to the staff.
Always take the time to see if the vendor has references with practice similar to yours. A few call to the sources can give you valuable insight into what you will face as part of the process. Usually a fellow practitioner will give insight you can’t get from anywhere else.