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If you’re considering setting up an electronic medical records system, Mark Deis, MD, has some advice: Do it sooner rather than later. Deis was one of the pioneers of a new system at the Cleveland Clinic’s Independence (OH) Family Practice Center. He offers the following tips for a good experience with your electronic medical records system:
• Shop around for a vendor that has the type of system you need. There are a lot of systems to choose from. Make sure you get a system that is compatible with the other computer systems your practice uses so you can interface easily.
• Make sure your system meets the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
• Look for a vendor that will work with you to customize the system to meet the specific needs of your practice.
• Make sure your vendor will offer good support during the implementation process.
For instance, when the pediatricians at the Cleveland Clinic went live with the system, Noteworthy had a staff member assigned to every doctor and to the triage nurse. "That’s the kind of support you need. If you have a question, you don’t want to have to spend five minutes looking for someone," he says.
• Make sure you have 24-hour telephone support when the system is up and running.