Surprisingly enough electronic medical records have been around for years, long before the meaningful use incentives came along. A few software vendors offered ophthalmology EMR systems along with their practice management systems. Strangely enough when the meaningful use incentives were introduced we also saw a name change, we went from EMR to EHR virtually overnight. Thankfully more than the name changed as there were now requirements that had to be met in order to achieve meaningful use. For the software vendors they were now required to become a certified product for their users to obtain the incentives. This started a long journey into today’s EHR (electronic health record). In the beginning many physicians were worried about being pushed to use a system that may or may not be a benefit to their practice. The number of companies offering EHR grew in leaps and bounds. By the time stage two requirements were required over half of those companies had dropped out, leaving practices scrambling to find a new vendor. I guess the upside of this was that the real players were identified. So what makes a true player in EHR?
First and foremost, longevity, is your vendor in it for the duration? The requirements are only getting more stringent and it takes hard work and dedication to stay on top of the requirements. Another key factor that has really become apparent is specialty, many vendors focus on so many specialties that they truly do not place a lot of focus on each individual one. In ophthalmology this is critical as it is such a unique industry. With all of the testing equipment and special requirements you really need a vendor partner that understands your practice inside and out. You also need to take into consideration form customization and workflow. Can the forms be customized by physician to follow your current workflow to enable a smoother transition? Does the system help you meet the new MIPS and MACRA requirements?
There are so many requirements to keep up with and meet it is imperative that your software vendor is in the game. Choose a vendor with the experience you need to assist you in getting the most out of your system. With all of the changes in ophthalmology EMR over the years, make sure you have selected a vendor that makes your success a top priority.