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.
- 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?