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    Does the proposed EMR (Electronic Medical Records) system present a strong business case?

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    Does the proposed system present a strong business case? Why or why not?

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    Computerizing medical records could restore order to the office and improve the quality of care for patients. When the waiting time for patients grows, keeping track of the patient charts can prove to be difficult. Frustration among physicians and staff can begin to mount. With the installation of an Electronic Medical Records System (EMR) any medical practice can be moved to a different, higher level. Patients will tend to be seen right away or at least on time. Clinicians will be able to code visits easily and accurately, which helps bills to be paid more quickly. But the question really is, how important is an EMR system?

    Hindsight is 20/20. The cost of doing nothing will cost a physician's office or clinic more in the end. Ask the healthcare providers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Many healthcare providers lost all of their patient records and have no way to reconstruct the medical histories and treatment plans from their destroyed files. Every practice needs to make a full assessment and make the possibility of an EMR system a priority. There are steps that can be taken to gradually reduce paper, improve productivity and move into the electronic age.

    Healthcare providers do, however, have legitimate concerns, whether this is a single doctor office or a part of a multi-specialty facility. The concerns are the same:
    ? The high cost of procurement (hardware and software)
    ? Implementation expenses
    ? Decreased productivity during training periods,
    ? Fear of the unknown by physicians, and
    ? Concerns about return on investment (ROI).
    These concerns should not be roadblocks to the successful implementation of an EMR that meets the needs of a particular practice. Health care providers should not wait around for a natural disaster to occur, steps should be taken now.

    Whether its purpose is to streamline the workflow, save the providers/staff time or improve the practice's bottom line, the benefits of an EMR system has been widely documented. Physicians have realized that the choice to implement an EMR is no longer a matter of 'if' but of 'when'. However, moving to an EMR is not a small undertaking. Just as with any other major process or technology change, the clinics need to dedicate time, resources and diligence to the selection and implementation processes.

    Some key steps ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution offers an analysis of the business validity of an EMR system with special attention on Application-Based EMR Systems and Imaging-Based Electronic Patient Record Management Systems.