In August, the Medical Group Management Association released the results of its annual survey of its members on issues that challenge them the most in their professional lives. In this edition of Practice Makes Perfect, we address No. 23 on the list: selecting and implementing a new practice-management system.
Best way to implement practice-management systems
Practice-management systems are quickly becoming the fax machines of the medical technology world. Like the fax, the functionality is still needed, but a bigger, fancier tool is poised to engulf it. Faxes gave way to the Internet the way practice-management systems are giving way to their more comprehensive electronic health-record system brethren.
But what if you don't feel you are ready to make the leap to EHR, yet still need a practice-management system? You can't implement a new practice-management system without at least thinking about an EHR, but you can still make smart choices if you need to make a purchase while knowing that your office will not be described as paperless any time soon.
You may be focused on the practice management system for now, but chances are you will be implementing an EHR in the years to come. It is important to understand how the product interfaces with an EHR. Optimally, you will want a single, integrated patient database. The idea of multiple, interfacing databases goes back to the days when EHRs were first intended to sit alongside practice management systems. Very few are keeping this strategy going forward.
Derek KosiorekInformation technology expertMGMA Health Care Consulting GroupEnglewood, Colo.Submit a letter to the Modern Physician Reader Blog. Please include your name, title, company and hometown. Modern Physician reserves the right to edit all submissions.
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