Customizable vs. Cookie Cutter EMR
by Leigh-Ann Renz, 10.14.13
Should You Use EHR / EMR Templates or "Canned Notes"?
When using EHRs, people often want them to work directlly "out of the box" or fresh from the download. There is an expectation that you should be able to just start using your new practice management system, as you can with many other types of software. Many times users are surprised that they need to put in their own data before they can effectivetly use their EMR.
On the other hand, many EHR users have very specific forms and templates that they need to do business; they want to be able to exactly reproduce these specific documents within their system and become frustrated if that's not possible. As a software provider, you can't satisfy everyone's needs, as they are so diverse. Every practice is different, and it's a major challenge for EMR vendors to balance these two competing interests.
Should You Use a Cookie-Cutter or Customizable EHR?
"At its core, the EMR software needs to be as set-up as possible right out of the box. However, it also needs to provide as much customization as possible so that when the out-of-the-box features aren't right for a particular practice, it can be changed to fit their needs. It's a funny little balancing act that has more basis in art than science. However, when done right, it makes a huge difference." How do you make this balancing act work for your practice?
If you are still looking for an EHR...asking the right questions of your potential vendors is crucial. Find out exactly how much information is pre-programmed and how much will have to be set up; get a realistic estimate from the provider about how much time it will take to get your data in the system and go live. If there are specialized templates that your business uses, make sure that you can implement as required and find out how much time and labor (and therefore money) this will take.
If you are already using an EMR...and aren't comfortable with the software's balance of pre-programmed and customizable features: identify your ideal scenario and relay that to your vendor. Find out how they can help you. A few calls or emails to your provider might be able to offer a satisfactory solution or even just help you identify what steps you can take to come closer to your ideal. It's never too late to find out if there's a better way to organize and use your data!
To see how PIMSY handles the balance between cookie cutter and customizable, schedule a free, live Web demo. We'd love to show you how you can use PIMSY mental health EHR right out of the box and customize it to meet your specifications.