Limit EMR Investment Appropriately, but Don’t Skimp

Posted on May 24, 2010 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In a recent EMR webninar I attended, I heard some really good counsel that was worth sharing here on my blog:

Limit EMR Investment Appropriately, but Don’t Skimp

When people go into an EMR implementation I’ve seen all sorts of approaches. I’ve seen the phenomenally cheap to the no limits buying. Both of those are recipes for failure.

The problem with the phenomenally cheap is that you’re going to end up not investing in the IT products and software that will make a huge difference in your EMR implementation. For example, you might buy a cheap scanner which 2 months later you realize was a horrible idea since you’ve literally burnt through the scanner and it no longer works. Instead, if you’d spent money on the right scanner (which do feel expensive), you wouldn’t have to worry about getting another scanner for 5-10 years (if even then). (See my EMR scanner suggestions on this page.)

That’s just one example. There are many more. Interestingly, the opposite seems to happen when it comes to EMR software. Doctors will spend insane amounts of money on EMR software. I can’t figure out if doctors just don’t realize that there’s a number of very reasonably priced EMR software out there or if they just think that the more they pay for an EMR the more they’re getting.

I guess you could make the case that when you pay more for an EMR you are getting a more robust software platform. In some cases this is absolutely the case. The problem for small practices is that they don’t need or want a more robust platform. In fact, they end up buying this really robust EMR software platform which is so robust that they don’t have the time, money, or energy that’s required to configure the millions of available options and customizations that would make the software great for their clinic. This leaves them with a generally unusable EMR software and an unhappy user of EMR software.

There’s dozens of other examples where doctors need to find the balance between limiting their EMR investment, but not skimping. This is the art of an EMR selection and implementation.