2n1 Integrated PM-EMR
Some practices that have long had practice management (PM) systems are now faced with the need to add electronic medical records (EMR). Is it possible to buy an EMR that will interface with your current PM system? The answer is usually yes, although some systems are not compatible. The thinking usually is that it will save you money by not having to buy new PM software, and it will reduce the training needed to learn a new system.
But you need to remember this: programming an interface between existing PM software and a separate EMR system can be complicated, and it’s hard to avoid glitches. If you work with two separate vendors, you have to rely on different levels of support, kinds of contracts, and separate sets of personalities.
An integrated system, in which all elements are programmed to work together, is by far the best choice for a number of reasons:
If you enter data into a PM database, it is immediately available to EMR and the other way around. A shared database gives you a seamless exchange of information on files, forms, and charts.
While EMR is great, PM remains at the heart of the practice. No cash flow, no practice. So you need to make sure that the vendor moved from practice management to EMR, a newer concept. If they were not both designed to work together, you’re facing increased opportunities for glitches. So look for a vendor that took it one step at a time, PM then integrated PM and EMR.
A single vendor can give you a single source for technical support and enhancements.