EMRs have now been used in Canada for some time — in some practices, 10 years or more — but, more importantly, by a large number of non-techy middle and late adopters. These are the physicians who have adopted EMRs because they saw the writing on the wall that an EMR will be the future primary mechanism in which patient information is recorded and information is generated and shared. EMRs are also complex software applications and as anyone who has used an EMR will attest, they certainly are not perfect. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and all have their gaps. Some of the gaps are related to functionality that should be in the EMR, but is not built in — the responsibility of the vendor. Other gaps are completely out of the control of the vendor and are related to provincial or national requirements such as standards for data sharing, processes for referral and consultation, etc.
That being said, from the user's perspective these differences are immaterial. You need the tools at your fingertips that allow you to do the job at hand. If you have used your EMR (or EMRs) for one year or more (i.e. you are through the implementation and orientation phases), what are the gaps in your system?
To provide some broad categories, these gaps could be related to any of following:
- The ability to easily enter information into the EMR
- Data queries and the ability to generate reports from your EMR
- Information sharing with colleagues or patients
- Investigation ordering
- Information privacy
- Medication management
- And any others you can think of...
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