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If you’re considering setting up an electronic medical records system, Mark Deis, MD, has some advice: Do it sooner rather than later. Deis was one of the pioneers of a new system at the Cleveland Clinic’s Independence (OH) Family Practice Center. He offers the following tips for a good experience with your electronic medical records system:
— Shop around for a vendor that has the type of system you need. There are a lot of systems to choose from. Make sure you get a system that is compatible with the other computer systems your practice uses so you can interface easily.
— Make sure your system meets the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
— Look for a vendor that will work with you to customize the system to meet the specific needs of your practice.
— Make sure your vendor will offer good support during the implementation process. For instance, when the pediatricians at the Cleveland Clinic went live with the system, the technology firm that developed the system assigned a staff member to every doctor and to the triage nurse. "That’s the kind of support you need. If you have a question, you don’t want to have to spend five minutes looking for someone," he says.
— Make sure you have 24-hour telephone support when the system is up and running.