There is no doubt that a quality EMR system is going to make things faster and more efficient in a PT setting. However, not all of these systems are designed the same. Some of them are really good and others leave plenty to be desired. It is important to carefully evaluate several features of them before you choose one to implement for your PT practice work environment.

When possible, try free trials of EMR systems before you move forward with buying one. The “hands on” ability to navigate through it and see what it has to offer is very important. You want the system to be one that allows proper documentation of patient records to be fast but also accurate. You want the system to be something that your staff uses without any difficulties.

Looking at these 4 things in your EMR system will ensure it is a success when you implement it into your PT practice:

#1 It must be understandable and simple to use

The program has to be straightforward in terms of how easy it is to use. It should be well set up for navigation so that the PT staff has no trouble getting around in it. It also needs to be set up so that all patient information is easily saved. Staff should be able to be trained in how to use the EMR system but also to see the logical flow of the information that they enter into it.

Maintaining and updating the system should be easy, too. You want to make sure you get free updates as they occur. That way your EMR system will not become quickly outdated. If that occurs then the money you invest in it won’t pay off over the longer term.

#2 The EMR system should be able to be customized

The EMR system has to be something that your PT practice can customize to get what you need out of it. You should never settle for a program where you have to accept what they offer and then change your business practices to fit around it. The customized features should also be very simple to set up and change. This way you can get what you need accomplished in house. You won’t have to hire an expert to help you get the EMR system operational at the level where you need it to be.

#3 A good EMR system should be feature rich

When it comes to EMR systems, you will find plenty of features offered. Some of them offer basic features and others have more advanced ones. There are some features you want to make sure your system will have. First, you need to make sure you get customer support functionality so that the EMR software provider can stand behind their product. You never know when you may need some additional assistance with the system. It is important to know that you can call someone and that they will walk you through any concerns that may have come up.

Other features you want to look for include voice technology for PDAs, laptop computers, desktop computers and tablets. The ability of the EMR system to effectively recognize speech is going to save you a great deal of time when processing the documentation. It will also significantly reduce the amount of mistakes that may occur.

#4 The cost should be a factor but look on it as an investment

Consider that what you will pay for a EMR system is an investment in the PT setting. It will allow staff to get documentation done in less time. It will reduce duplication and errors. You want to make sure that the cost of implementing the system, including training the staff, is going to be of value.

Keep in mind that you will find EMR systems in all price ranges. Those that are the most expensive may not really be any better than one that is moderately priced. Take the time to evaluate all of your options and you will find that you get something you can rely on and that you can justify the budget for.

“I am all on iPad in clinic now and I can tell you WebPT is even more amazing when it’s right in the room with me.” Kenji C, PT, Clinic Owner, Oregon

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