Published 3/1/2007

Choosing the right EMR system for you

The AAOS Practice Management Committee’s EMR Primer includes an introduction to electronic medical records as well as a list of questions to ask EMR vendors and a sample evaluation form. AAOS members can download the primer for free from the online Practice Management Center, but here is a sampling of the type of questions you should be asking during demonstrations or when you request a proposal.

System functionality

  • How do I locate a patient’s record in the system?
  • How do I move back and forth between various parts of a given patient’s record?
  • Does the system have orthopaedic templates? Can our doctors customize them to our specific needs?

Technical aspects of the EMR system

  • Did you develop your applications software or was it developed by another party?
  • What features does your system offer to ensure the privacy and security of our patient information?
  • Does the system allow me to view information on multiple patients simultaneously?

Questions about the vendor

  • How long have you been selling EMR systems?
  • How many orthopaedic practices use your system?
  • What distinguishes your company from other vendors?
  • What distinguishes your product from other products?

Implementation, training, and operational support

  • What kind of implementation support do you offer to offices like mine?
  • What kind of initial training do you offer?
  • What kind of follow-up training do you offer for new employees?
  • Do you have staff available to help us 24/7?
  • If not, during what hours of the day?

Cost and other issues

  • Does your system offer the ability to start small and add components incrementally?
  • What would the initial charge be for training the physician(s) and staff?
  • What about in the future?
  • What are your fees for maintenance, and what do these cover?