Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Affordable EMR Medical Software Options: Is ASP Right for You?

The benefits of electronic medical records (EMRs) are well-documented, but smaller physician practices have been slow to adopt these valuable medical software programs because of the high costs associated with implementing the healthcare technology. But with wider availability of high-speed Internet connections and more sophisticated vendor solutions, physicians are finding they can add an EMR system to their practice without breaking the bank.

You can thank the application service provider (ASP) model for the advent of affordable EMR software programs. In the ASP approach, another organization houses and maintains the application and related computer hardware; physicians simply access it remotely over an Internet connection and pay a monthly or annual fee. The hosting organization assumes responsibility for securely storing patient data and supporting the expensive computer hardware. The model is particularly ideal for small offices with fewer than 9 physicians.

A September 2005 survey by the Medical Group Management Association found the most widely cited barrier to implementing an EHR/EMR was a lack of capital resources. For these physicians, the ASP model gives access to a comprehensive electronic health software system without the enormous capital costs traditionally associated with robust EMR systems.

To be sure, the ASP model is not the best choice for every physician, so you'll want to do your homework. In particular, make sure the software vendor takes the appropriate steps to safeguard patient data, that they regularly backup such information, and that they offer a wide range of user support and service.

One thing is for sure. The ASP model eliminates the many hassles and costs associated with operating medical software. When a doctor uses the ASP model, there is no software to install or expensive hardware to purchase and maintain. All that is required is a computer and a web browser. You simply log onto a secure website and are ready to go.

1 comment:

John Feeney (Bluegil) said...

Great Post. Identifying the major challenge, lack of capital for small firms. Few outside the medical community understand the structure our doctors/technicians are subjected to. The concept your medical files/records/tests/digital images could be stored in numerous locations and these systems might not communicate with each other "On-line" adds an administrative task too the process.

As with law firms our professional people, which we need in our daily life, is facing the daunting challenge of bringing a totally out dated system into the modern age. However unlike the competitive advantage other industries have, vendors see these two markets as a the un-tapped cash cow. Or simply put, an area to raise margins or profits at their expense.

Current topic with regards too is health care is Personal Medical Files. Whether a disc or smart card or USB stick. Right now, facilities request atleast a 30 day turn-around. If this subject gets more main-stream the burden placed on the system, as is, will be overwhelming. Painful as it seems the need to upgrade our capabilities is upon us. Doctors are doctors, not technical IT or Business Process Managers (BPMs) they need support, not only finding feasible solutions (Cost) but more vendors that tailor or understand their needs.