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I’ve been asked for opinions on what the best EMR system would be for a hospital. While I can’t provide the answer due to a conflict of interest, I will list the most popular systems currently used in the United States (in no particular order):

  • Cerner
  • McKesson
  • CPSI
  • Epic Systems
  • GE Healthcare
  • MEDITECH
  • QuadraMed
  • Siemens
  • Eclipsys
  • MEDPLUS

Some of the problems I’ve noticed with hospitals during their implementation phase and selection of an appropriate EMR is the lack of research in the area of implementation ease. While extensive research is put into cost and how well the system handles hospital’s needs, there are areas in which hospital administrators fail to ask themselves:

  • How are the online tutorials for the EMRs?
  • What is the support structure i.e. would the hospital be able to find enough consultants who have used the system to help them when they “go live?”
  • Can the EMR handle a large-scale hospital?
  • Diverse Team: You need a diverse team consisting of physicians, medical residents, nurses, pharmacist, technicians etc who need to be “Lead Coordinator” i.e. the go-to person or persons. A physician will not know the needs of the pharmacy, the pharmacist will not know the needs of a nurse, etc. Different roles, different work flow, different needs…

The most important advice, create a diverse team of healthcare professionals who are technologically savvy to begin with. The implementation of EMR requires speed and most importantly, efficacy. It is better to work with someone who has some sort of technical background either playing with websites, programming, or what Silicon Valley-ers like to refer to as ‘hackers’ (someone who knows or dips their hands in technology during spare time, and can make the computer do what they want, whether or not it wants to) than someone who doesn’t even know how to install a program in Windows.

Because when problems arise, you will need someone who isn’t afraid to act or at least is tech-savvy enough to search for the answer on forums instead of waiting for customer service in the morning. After all, in hospitals, time is life.

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[Last modified: 12/08/07]