The Absolute First Step For Implementing Your EMR/EHR Solution

This post is for:

  • Providers considering an EMR solution for their office
  • Vendors seeking to sell to the Providers

A goodly proportion of failed EMR implementations (in fact, probably most of them) stems from skipping an all important first step that must be taken for any new software initiative:

Problem Identification and User Requirements

It’s easy to get swept away by all the exciting promises made about the improvement in office workflow, revenue, and the heavenly feeling of being rid of paper files. But!…..Software choice is nowhere near the beginning of the process. First, you must:

#1: Answer the question: “What problem are we trying to solve?”
#2: Identify all factors that can impact the decision making process.

To paraphrase an old saying:


If you don’t know what you want the software to do,
no software can take you there.


So…#1: What Problem Are We Trying to Solve?

In other words, why do you want to implement EMR software anyway? And be specific; no vague statements about better patient care, getting incentive money, or keeping up with Dr. Jones.

Some examples to get you started:

  • Capture dictated notes
  • Document photos/imaging
  • Display graphical information across a WAN between satellite offices.

This is the type of information that you will use to create a checklist for researching EMR solutions. It doesn’t do any good to look into a solution that is incapable of meeting your identified needs. Wastes your time and the vendor’s.


Search for the solution to a problem,
not a problem to fit your solution.


Once you know what you want the software to do, you must identify factors that can impact your decision making process.

Some examples:

  • The current infrastructure of your office and/or building
  • The design requirements of the network needed to support all the hardware
  • The current skill sets of your staff vis a vis using a computer
  • Whether you will have dedicated IT support or not
  • Whether the solution must be Web-based (SaaS or on demand) or on-premise (installed on your own computer or server)

I know none of this sounds the least bit glamorous but if you don’t take these steps your path to implementation will be full of backtracks, twists, and dead-ends.

Providers: You are already investing a large sum of money for this. Make certain your choice is right before signing the check.

Vendors: Make sure your prospective customer has done his homework so you can sell the best possible solution.

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