Denver — New research by technology selection management site, SelectHub, has concluded that while medical practices know what they want from EMRs and practice management systems, it’s hard to find the resources they need to buy them. With more than 1,000 EMRs and practice management systems from which to choose, finding the time to select a system is tough, and planning a budget is difficult as well, respondents said.
The study, which phone surveyed more than 100 medical practices and physicians over the last 18 months, found that practices had a long list of reasons for buying new software. The data suggests that practice leaders will take the initiative if they find a compatible system that boosts productivity and includes the latest options.
The top reasons practices cited were that their existing system didn’t have enough features (22%), was inefficient (20%), required too much manual work (17%), was outdated (15%), too complicated (5%), difficult to use (3%) or not centralized (2%). Only 1% said their old system was unreliable. Another 23% said that this was the first time they were evaluating an EMR or practice management platform.
Respondents agreed strongly about some capabilities they wanted, including billing (92%), charting (62%) and integration with labs (55%). This emphasis on billing capabilities, which aren’t available as part of a free-standing EMR, could mean that practices have come to prefer integrated EMR/practice management software. Other popular features named by survey respondents included tablet integration (47%), e-prescribing (43%) and scheduling (30%).
In contrast, just a handful of respondents said they wanted their systems to be Meaningful Use compliant (10%) and HIPAA compliant (5.3%). The fact that respondents favor tablet integration squares with broad industry trends, which are prompting medical software vendors to create mobile-first versions of their software.
The majority (67%) of practices wanted to host their EMR or practice management system online, while 32% were willing to consider either online-only access or on-premise installation. Just 2% were interested only in on-premise systems. After many years of adaptation, practices seem ready to cede some control over their software to avoid the hassles involved in managing it themselves.
Despite having a relatively clear idea of what they wanted, however, making the actual buying decision wasn’t easy, practices reported. Almost all (91%) said that time was an issue, followed closely by having the budget in place for the system (90%). Surprisingly, given EMRs’ reputation for complexity, just 10% said that it was tough to find systems that were easy to use. Despite the spate of high-profile data breaches in the press in recent years, just 1 percent said they had security concerns.
SelectHub is an awarding-winning software selection platform making IT/software sourcing more agile and collaborative. The platform supports a comprehensive set of evaluation stages from requirements gathering to vendor shortlisting, demos and user trials, RFI/RFPs and contract negotiation. SelectHub customers include Hunter Douglas, Advanced Energy, QEP Resources and the State of Colorado. To learn more, please visit www.selecthub.com.
Name: Michael Shearer