Selecting a hardware configuration that will unlock the power of your Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software system will ensure that it is used to its full potential while meeting your budget. Most EMR & Medical Billing software systems are Client/Server-based applications. This means that all your patient’s data is stored on a single computer in your office that is designated as the “Server” and is the accessed by multiple workstations called “Clients”. This design allows for easier management of your software, better performance, less errors, and increased scalability. The end result is a more reliable system that is able to grow with your office.
Picking the right server is extremely important. The server is the homebase for all the computers in your office. Reliability and Performance are the two most important aspects when making your decision. With a paperless office you will be able to do more with less staff and with greater organization. This in turn increases your dependency on your computers and increases the importance of having a system that is always available when you need it. You will want to ensure that your data is properly protected from viruses, theft, fire and power surges. An automatic nightly backup of your patient data is a minimum requirement to ensure proper reliability. It is also highly recommended that you keep a backup of your data off-site in case of theft or fire. Secondly, choosing a server that will meet the increase in demand while your office grows will ensure that you will not have to purchase a new server for the next three to five years because of a decrease in performance. The following chart should help you to decide which server is best for you.
Client Computers (Workstations, Tablets & Laptops):
You essentially have two options when picking the client computers for your office. Again it is important that you pick a style that will complements your practice while making it fun to use and learn. Both of these client styles have their benefits.
1. Wireless Tablet PC’s – Connected to your server via a wireless network, these Tablet PC’s will allow you to roam from room to room while documenting your patient’s visits electronically. This is the most popular way to use an EMR because of its incredible functionality and cost-effectiveness. Because you only need oneTablet PC per treating provider you will save on your hardware costs as opposed to outfitting your office with multiple workstations throughout your office. The downside to the tablet is that there is a steeper learning curve as you will be challenged to not just learn the EMR but also the Tablet PC features.
2. Workstations – Connected to your server via a wired network, these workstations would be strategically positioned throughout your office so that they are easily accessible while treating patients. Some offices will place a workstation in each treatment room while others will place workstations between rooms or just in their most commonly used exam or treatment rooms. The latter would generally mean that you would treat two to three patient’s before going to a workstation to enter in their information (Progress Notes, ICD Codes, CPT Codes). This method can get expensive simply due to the large number of computers that can potentially be required. However, it is a bit more “technically friendly” and is great for high volume offices with a large staff and more hazardous offices where Tablet PC’s are too cumbersome or where the steeper learning curve involved with the tablet is not acceptable.
For more information about how EMR Experts can help your office convert to a paperless record system please Contact Us.