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How to choose a new EHR for an independent practice

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When deciding to purchase and implement a new electronic health record (EHR) solution for an independent practice, there are a number of considerations to review. A new EHR, as with any new technology, can be a significant change for the independent physician and clinical staff. With the right information at hand, however, choosing a new EHR for independent practices can be a smooth and beneficial process.

The first question to ask is where the practice needs a new EHR or a new EMR, or electronic medical record. Many healthcare professionals use the terms interchangeably, but they are actually slightly different. The office of Health Information Technology (IT) clarifies the differences between the terms:

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are digital versions of the paper charts in clinician offices, clinics, and hospitals. EMRs contain notes and information collected by and for the clinicians in that office, clinic, or hospital and are mostly used by providers for diagnosis and treatment.

Electronic health records (EHRs) are built to go beyond standard clinical data collected in a provider’s office and are inclusive of a broader view of a patient’s care. EHRs contain information from all the clinicians involved in a patient’s care and all authorized clinicians involved in a patient’s care can access the information to provide care to that patient.

Another question to ask when choosing a new EHR is whether the system enables independent physicians and their patients to communicate with each other using seamless, secure messaging. Elation’s EHR solution provides this capability and more, to support the physician-patient relationship.

A critical question for a new EHR for independent practices is whether the system will be cloud-based or server-based. The difference between the two is quite simple: with cloud-based EHR systems, data is stored on external servers and can be accessed with any device that has an internet connection, while server-based EHR systems store data within the practice on a personal server. With cloud-based EHRs, much of the implementation and maintenance burden is shifted to the Software as a Service (SAAS) provider, allowing the doctors and the practice to spend less resources on the installation and upkeep of the server and more time with the patient.

Finally, a new EHR for independent practices must come with vendor support and minimal training requirements. With Elation’s EHR solution, training takes less than one hour. Elation is simple and intuitive – proficiency comes quickly. In addition, Elation’s support of independent practices is available 24/7, so providers can focus on their patients without interruption.

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