Comparing EMR (electronic medical records) vs. paper medical records, it’s easy to see why the former is the clear choice for any anesthesiology practice.
Though anesthesia paper charting is the tried, trusted, and true method for medical record keeping, it has its downfalls. Paper records are clunky. They can be tough to interpret. And they’re not always immediately accessible.
EMR software brings record keeping into the 21st century with its ease of use and functionality. An investment in EMR also positively — and quickly — impacts a practice’s bottom line.
Let’s explore what it takes to integrate EMR software into an anesthesia practice’s daily operations.
Transitioning From Anesthesia Paper Charting to EMR Software
Implementing anesthesia EMR software involves these seven steps:
- Evaluating your practice’s needs
- Auditing existing technology
- Demoing EMR software
- Selecting an EMR provider
- Digitizing paper files
- Installation and training
1. Evaluating Your Practice’s Specific Needs
While there are many EMR software programs available, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. That’s because every anesthesiology practice is different.
Evaluating your anesthesiology practice’s existing procedures and needs makes it much easier to determine which EMR software is the best fit. No one wants to buy a service that doesn’t deliver what you need or can’t be adapted.
2. Auditing Existing Technology
Some EMR software also requires purchasing accompanying hardware. Others — particularly those that are cloud-based — take up a lot of bandwidth.
Giving your office’s technology a good once-over ensures that you’re ready to integrate EMR software. It also prevents the need to purchase additional hardware — your initial investment to use EMR is made once.
3. Set up Product Demos
Before diving head-first into using EMR software, test out a few. Think of it like buying a car — you always test drive it before you buy.
Product demos show you a software’s actual functionality as well as its interface. You can also double-check on specific concerns, such as data security.
Demos also serve another purpose — they help you evaluate the company providing the software. Consider:
- How helpful was the company?
- Did the sales rep quickly breeze over the software or did they take you on a deep dive into it?
- Were all your questions answered?
- Could you see your practice successfully partnering with the software provider?
4. Selecting the Right Software Provider
The key to a seamless transition from paper charts to EMR is partnering with the right software provider.
The right EMR software provider acts as a true partner in the transition to anesthesia computer charting, covering everything from installation to ongoing service and upgrades long before you start using the product. It’ll also take the time to understand your practice and be willing to work within your practice’s means.
5. Digitizing Paper Files
Just because you’re using digital medical records doesn’t mean your paper charts are null and void.
In fact, your paper files can serve as the foundation of all EMR templates and forms. This reduces the software’s learning curve and makes it easier for your staff to start using it immediately. When they start using EMRs, your staff will find electronic forms that are familiar.
6. Installation and Training
Integrating new software anywhere is intimidating.
One of the biggest concerns anesthesiologists have about paper charts vs. EMR is the time it takes to get up and running. Their fear is that not only will it take several disruptive weeks to install, but also even more time to learn.
Installation and training typically isn’t a major ordeal. As long as your anesthesia EMR software company understands your practice and its day-to-day, integration happens with limited interruptions.
For reference, here’s what our installation and training process looks like — it only takes two days!
7. Test, Test, Test
Once your new EMR software is ready to go, it’s not exactly time to roll it out.
Take a few days to test it out. Consider it a real-world simulation.
Running tests is critical — it’s a double-check for software competency among staff members and the program’s functionality. You may even discover a software deficiency the provider was unaware of.
No one wants to be in the middle of dealing with a patient only to encounter a user error or software glitch.
Converting From Anesthesia Paper Charting to EMR Software: Beyond the Upgrade
Converting to a paperless medical charting method is an ongoing process.
The software will need occasional updates, and additional training may be required. Working with the right EMR software provider means you’ll have a partner long after EMR makes your old paper records obsolete.
With these seven steps, the transition to EMR software is quick and easy. You’ll be enjoying the benefits of modern medical record keeping before you know it.