How EHR/EMR Software Can Benefit Your Practice


Electronic medical records are no new product in health IT. The government has taken several steps to ensure EMRs are being used to their full potential, from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Each Act comes with its own requirements: meaningful use, quality reports, etc.

Though these are designed to support and improve healthcare, practices are struggling and providers are beginning to lose morale. Despite the hefty costs, it’s important to remember that there are several merits of investing in an EMR software for a medical practice:

Enhance practice workflow: The biggest benefit EMRs provide is their ability to improve efficiency. With e-prescription services, quicker turnaround on lab results, and fewer errors in data, practices are able to increase their productivity and minimize costs of extra personnel, storage areas, etc.

Doctor in medical team discussing patient report at tablet computer in hospital

Enable quality care: The smoother a practice runs, the better services it can offer. Features such as patient portals allow patients to have their questions and concerns addressed promptly due to direct contact with their physicians. Some EMR systems also give providers access to patient records from anywhere, making remote monitoring that much easier.

Family consulting with a doctor

Expand physician coordination: Some patients require care from multiple healthcare providers across various practices and it’s vital for communication among these providers to be timely and effective. EMRs make patient data easily available for physicians so they can be sure to have all necessary information, such as drug allergies to avoid incompatible medications, and lab results to avoid repeat tests.

Encourage involvement: One of the most valuable advantages of EMRs is motivating patients to be more involved in their medical care. This helps patients feel more comfortable and reassured regarding their health and also keeps them informed on which habits they should improve and/or change to maintain their wellness.

Ensure correct information: With overall improved efficiency, providers can also confirm that they are accurately diagnosing patients. Better outcomes allow patients to feel safe and grow with trust between patients and their physicians. Decreased liability and lower risk is also a bonus for the practice.

EMRs will help to cultivate a practice and bring in revenue. If providers can make it past Medicaid reimbursements and meaningful use stages, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Financing vs. Paying Cash for your EMR investment

Financing vs. Paying Cash for your EMR investment

This question often arises: How should I pay for this EMR solution investment?

The discussion can easily begin with the question: Where am I in my practice? A physician just getting started in a new practice has different financial considerations than that of long-term, established practice. There are also many factors between the just getting started and well established. So, with this thought in mind, where do you begin the process? Outlay cash or finance? An argument can be made for the decision on either side.

Before serious consideration into this matter, please consult your own certified financial advisor.

The Pros and Cons of financing:

The cost of money. Investing cash while depreciating assets.

Example: The price of $20,000 over 5 years, (estimate).

The investment of $20,000 over five years can grow by about $9,000 assuming an annual return of 8%. $20,000 can become $29,000

The interest paid on $20,000 over the same five (5) year period can cost over $4,000 dollars assuming an interest rate of 8%. The cost of $20,000 can now go up to over $24,000.

Medical stethoscope and dollar bills

Depending on the financial status of your practice, the facts and figures demonstrated by the financial institution can help to determine your best choice.

There are many different financial institutions and varieties of financial products. The choices and rate options can be confusing as well. Payment terms can be negotiated and no penalties for early payment can help to guide you in the process of making a decision.

It may also be important to consider the benefits of the Section 179 tax code. This new law, created in 2003, allows medical offices to write-off up to $100,000 of computer software/hardware expenses in the first year of ownership, even when purchased under a lease or financing agreement. Before 2003 if the property for business had a useful life of more than one year, the cost had to be spread across several tax years as depreciation with a portion of the cost deducted each year.

Under the new law, there is a way to immediately receive these income tax benefits in one tax year. The provisions of Internal Revenue Code Section 179 allow a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation to fully expense tangible property in the year it is purchased. Read more information on the benefits of the Section 179 code.

To speak with an EMR Experts consultant regarding electronic medical record software or financing options please complete our Contact Us Form

How to purchase an EMR System

How to purchase an EMR System

Healthcare, along with construction, education, and retail are ranked as being the slowest adopters of Information Technology (IT). With more pressure than ever from government, insurers, and patients, why is healthcare still so far behind?

Doctor showing reports to nurse practioner
Get the team involved

There are currently over 200 PM/EMR software vendors vying for your business, making the search for the right software a difficult and daunting task. Because of the technical nature of the product, it is difficult for the average consumer to understand the inner workings of software and its potential pitfalls. The software business is really very different from other types of businesses because a company may spend 2-5 years developing a product with all expenses and no revenue. Once the product is finished and ready for the market place, it can easily become a free for all of “how many sales can we make this year?”. As a result, software companies rely heavily on a strong sales team with big commissions to sell their product. This is bad news for the consumer as what you see is not always what you get.

EMR Systems generally have three price levels. The first level is your boxed systems for a small one (1) to two (2) provider offices. These systems are usually older products with a large client base that will provide you with the basics. These types of products generally run below $3,000. The second level is your more customized systems for Small to Medium-sized offices. These products will often require on-site installation and training because they need to be customized for each application. Prices for these products usually run between $5,000 to $35,000 depending on the number of providers. For example, a small one (1) to two (2) provider offices can expect to pay between $5,000 to $15,000. A larger office of 5-10 providers can expect to pay around $3,000 per additional provider, bringing the total cost to around $25,000 to $35,000. You must keep in mind, however, that with most system quotes, hardware, installation and training are not included.

Not all software is created equal. Products that may look similar at first glance can be entirely different. Judging a software system’s ease of use, customization flexibility and the vendor’s willingness to make customizations for you require you to look at the software system and its company in greater depth.

Multi specialty doctor

First things first. Before you contact any EMR software vendor, you will want to decide what you hope to accomplish with the implementation of this software in your office. What problems are plaguing your office? Are you looking to improve organization, eliminate paperwork, increase efficiency, reduce staffing, improve your billing, deliver a higher quality of service to your patient’s or simply just have an electronic way to do billing. By accomplishing these goals what can you save? Now set your budget.
Once you have a plan in place start looking around to see what is out there. Ask your colleagues what they are using and if they are happy with it. Do your research, most companies have fairly informative websites and some even have online demonstrations.

Be realistic when purchasing anything high tech for your office. This stuff may be easy to use by the doctor or computer whiz who made it but extremely difficult for the average user. Doctor Smith’s way of running his office and documenting his patient’s visits may not be the same way you do these things.

Get the right people involved to help make this happen. As you put a higher emphasis on the technology you are increasing your dependency on this technology. No patient wants to see you crawling under a desk while on the phone with Dell’s Tech Support. You only need to know how to use this new software not fix its problems; put someone else in charge of this job and make sure they will be available in case something goes wrong.
Your staff can often be a huge hurdle in the implementation of new technologies. They fear that technology is there to replace them or inconvenience them. Your office’s inefficiencies often are what gives them a paycheck at the end of the week. It’s expected for staff to have a certain level of resistance towards the adoption of new technologies in your office. Get them excited about the new technology and let them know how this is going to provide them with new opportunities in your office.

One thing remains a constant, and that is that there is no shortage of software that has been abandoned because 1)it did not live up to what it said it would do, 2) it was too difficult to use, 3) it simply was not convenient enough, and/or 4) the support was so bad that simple problems turned into big problems real fast.

This article “EMR System” is courtesy of:

Health Technology Review, a website focused on providing unbiased information on healthcare IT and Electronic Medical Record software.

How to purchase the right EMR Software for your practice


Implementing an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software in your office can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your practice’s success. Unfortunately, buying the wrong EMR can be disastrous. To buy the right EMR you need to be able to see past the smoke and mirrors. Relying solely on your EMR vendor to make the right hardware and implementation recommendations can be a big mistake. Here are some tips you can use to help ensure a successful EMR implementation.

Set realistic goals. What do you wish to gain out of an EMR? Many offices purchase EMR software in hopes that it will automatically provide them with all the benefits that were promised to them. The right EMR software can help you reduce your number of staff, reduce your expenses, reduce medical errors and reduce documentation time. To realize all these benefits you need to set milestones and implement the right plan.

Perform a cost-benefit analysis. All offices work differently and have different inefficiencies. It’s important to have realistic expectations of what type of Return on Investment (ROI) can be expected. It’s important to look into these items before you begin looking at vendors so that you have an idea of what type of budget you will have available for your EMR as the cost of EMR software (not including hardware, implementation time and training) can range between $1000 and $45,000 and there is no silver bullet.

Medical stethoscope and dollar bills

Seek out unbiased sources of information. Distilling fact from fiction in the medical software industry can be difficult. Even many of the awards that are given to the different vendors for their products are often very biased. The internet offers many unbiased information sources on EMR. You may also want to consider bringing in the expertise of an IT Company or EMR consultant to help guide you through the process of selecting the right vendor.

Leveraging hardware to improve your EMR functionality. It’s a great thing when you have technology on your side to manage your patient’s records and become more efficient. To do this it’s imperative to select the right hardware based on your office’s needs and user experience. Involve the right IT company from the beginning to ensure a successful implementation.

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