This topic has come up in many recent blogs. When is the ideal time to buy an EMR? Is it now so the customer can display meaningful use to get the stimulus money? Should customers wait to find out what the certification is going to be and make sure their prospects will be certified?
Bottom line, the ARRA stimulus “incentive” has inhibited and skewed the compelling reasons for EMR implementation by dangling the 44k per provider. Physicians should not want to implement an EMR simply because of the stimulus, they should want to because EMR systems have proven value over the years prior to ARRA. When implemented and used properly, an EMR can increase patient satisfaction, limit wait times, increase patient flow, improve E&M coding, decrease insurance premiums, increase work/life balance and the list goes on and on.
Someone made a very good point saying that the stimulus money should be more directed to the interoperability of these different systems rather than the adoption. EMR has been evolving for over 20yrs, interoperability is lagging however. Leave the EMR selling to the vendors, we will convey the compelling reasons for EMR adoption, the government doesnt need to sell it by throwing money at it (which it has been doing for all of our nations problems).
Now the physicians are in a defense mode and uncertain who is telling the truth out there. You have some companies offering financing…are you kidding me? First of all, if you need to finance a system, you cant really afford it. Plus, you are paying interest so the system will cost you more in the long run. You also have some sales folks assuring their prospects that their system will be certified…by who may I ask will certify them? How do they already know this info? Am I missing something here?? I have also heard of vendors guaranteeing meaningful use. MU is up to the customer, not the vendor. How can they guarantee this?
Point is, Customers need to do their due diligence. Research, research and more research. Hire a fancy consultant if it makes you feel better, but dont let them persuade you to a program they think is “cool” or are partial to. Make sure your decision is based off your own and your staffs opinion because you are the ones that will be using the program everyday and your business depends on it.
So should you buy a EMR now or later? The answer is….depends. If you have already done your homework and found a system that completely fits your business model and you have staff buy in, I have to recommend implementation as soon as possible. This way you are ahead of the curve and can even have a better chance of attaining the stimulus money. If you are waiting until all final MU and Certification criteria is completed, you may be behind in attaining the stimulus money, however you at least know the criteria and can make more informed desicions about EMR selection.
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