I recently received a question from a surgical specialist regarding the choice of an EMR system. I have posted the question and my answer and encourage sugical specialists who are currently using EMR systems or who have gone through a process of selection to provide feedback on this question. I do not believe that there has been nearly enough attention to the needs of specialists when it comes to EMR system selection, so any feedback or advice that you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
Q: I am a plastic surgeon in Quebec looking to change to an EMR type of format. Would you have any suggestions of where to begin???? Apologies for the open ended question.
A: I believe that surgical specialists face a different set of requirements in terms of their need for an EMR. In my experience there is a much greater need for efficient transcription (and a business case in terms of savings) than for the full primary care type EMR which is more easily adaptable to medical related specialties.
That being said, if you are interested in pursuing an EMR for your practice, I would suggest that you speak to surgical specialists in your region to determine whether there is a system or systems that are predominantly used. The advantage will be that there could be existing interfaces to hospital, lab and medication information that will be useful to you. I am not aware of specialist EMR systems in the Quebec market, so this will take some research.
My advice would be to spend some time on the CanadianEMR site to learn a bit more about requirements. Then develop a clear inventory of your needs and prioritize the list e.g. you may find that the ability to use speech recognition and integrate transcription is more important than access to medication information in your practice. Once you have defined your top 5 priorities, use that list to short list potential EMR systems. If you cannot find a system that will meet your needs and assist you in your practice, it may be more prudent to wait for an appropriate system to become available rather than attempting to implement a system that requires a lot of workarounds.
To add your comments and suggestions, please click on the 'Comments' link.