5 Tips for Choosing the Right Electronic Medical Record System

| October 5, 2023 | By

The days of flipping through stacks of manila folders to find patient records are long gone. Electronic medical records (EMRs) are changing how information flows through modern healthcare practices for the better, allowing teams to tap into the benefits of cloud-native solutions, patient self-service, and other tech tools that make everyone’s life easier. 

The result? Now your EMR can be far more than just a filing cabinet replacement. If chosen correctly and used well, your EMR can streamline daily operations, enhance patient engagement, and support your practice’s financial health as you grow. 

Here’s how to select an EMR well-suited to help you achieve these goals. 

1. Evaluate your practice's needs. 

Just as a pediatrician wouldn't use an orthopedic hammer, your EMR system should be a tailored fit. Start your selection process by thinking about what your practice uniquely needs. 

Understand the role of EMR in your practice

Your practice’s list of electronic medical record system uses may be longer than you think. EMRs aren’t just about storing patient data. Effective EMRs, especially those with operational intelligence features like real-time analysis and data visualization abilities, help turn data into actionable insights, allow for more efficient office workflows, and empower providers, admin teams, and patients themselves to elevate patient care. 

Align potential EMR systems with your practice's size and specialization. 

Your practice speaks a unique language based on what you do, where you’re located, and who you serve. Are you in radiology or another specialization? Do you operate a small clinic or work out of a large hospital? Regardless, ensure that the EMRs you’re considering have the features you need, such as advanced scheduling tools, integrated imaging and lab data transfer, telemedicine capabilities, and secure patient portals with educational resources. 

2. Prioritize usability and comprehensive training.

Your EMR is only useful if your team uses it. Here’s how to select a system your team won’t be able to imagine life without:

Prioritize user-friendly design.

Today’s innovative healthcare software solutions facilitate secure, HIPAA-compliant data sharing. This fosters collaboration and enhances care opportunities. It also can help a practice locate and fix leaky financial practices.

Leverage customization options for a tailored experience.

Ensure you can customize your EMR to make your common workflows as accessible and efficient as possible. Workflow automation can help here. Ask yourself which parts of your current system require the most repetitive work and see if you can automate any of those steps. Your staff will thank you! 

Check for robust training and onboarding resources. 

As you transition to a new system, a library of extensive vendor-provided training resources can allow for faster adoption of brand-new tech. 

3. Emphasize interoperability for seamless integration.

For modern healthcare to work seamlessly, everything needs to be in sync. Enter interoperability and integrations that make running your practice easier. 

Make sure your EMR’s data exchange processes work well. 

EMRs aren't just standalone systems. They're part of your practice’s vast information network. The magic happens when these systems talk to each other (and do so quickly and effectively.) Interoperable EMRs and other integrations that make EMRs run better—such as those offered by Royal—ensure this conversation is fluent and meaningful.

Select systems that don’t create silos. 

Whether non-integrated systems cause missed opportunities, poor data flows, unreachable data, or inefficiency, one thing is clear: Moving forward, these obstacles shouldn’t be options! Your EMR should integrate nicely with the other systems you use, whether they’re picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) for imaging, laboratory information systems (LIS) for results, or any other systems integral to your workflows. 

When your various systems communicate seamlessly, your operations become more efficient, and your ability to provide stellar patient care becomes much more comprehensive. 

4. Assess vendor reputation and support.

In the world of healthcare tech, you need vendors that are responsive, proactive, and great to work with. 

After all, imagine what happens when a system glitch occurs during peak patient hours, or you realize it’s time to install an update that doesn't fit your workflow. Finding a true partner that’s invested in your success, is constantly innovating to serve you better, and leverages a cloud-native platform to get you updates when you need them (not months later!) is key. 

Our clients couldn’t agree more. Here’s what one of them had to say: 

“Switching to Royal, with its fully cloud-based system, has significantly reduced the burden on our local IT team. Royal manages everything in the cloud, conducts regular updates, and keeps us informed. When an update is released, it's seamlessly integrated without any hassle on our end. This efficiency gives us peace of mind.” — Kerry VanHees, Director of IT, Intermountain Medical Imaging 

5. Ensure top-tier data security and compliance.

Last—but certainly not least—you must ensure that the electronic medical record system you choose makes life, work, and care safer for everyone. 

To do so, consider the following: 

  • Ensure your EMR options adhere to essential regulatory standards, including HIPAA, Meaningful Use, ISO/IEC 27001, and any others that may be applicable.
  • Ask your EMR provider about the measures they have in place to protect data. (Hint: Multiple measures should be layered together, with no one-tier, basic security system in sight.) 
  • Make sure your integration partner has similar systems in place too!

Ready to move your electronic medical record system from paper to pixels?

Navigating the world of EMRs can be intricate, but with Royal's innovative solutions and demonstrated expertise, you'll always be a step ahead of the game. If you’re interested in learning more about how to make your EMR run better for you—whether you work in radiology or any other healthcare setting—check out what we offer to see what it’s like to run on Royal.