Thursday, October 25, 2012

Choosing an Electronic Record System Not an Easy Decision

The federal government has been dangling the carrot of financial incentives in front of physicians as a way to encourage them to implement electronic health records (EHR) systems in their practices. A plethora of EHR systems has been flooding the market over the last few years, but choosing among them involves a careful balancing act that weighs cost and functionality. Because so many psychiatrists are in solo or small-group practices, they do not have support staff to sift through the options and make recommendations, and different practices will have unique needs as they select an EHR system. To remedy this problem, APA, through its Committee on Electronic Health Records, is developing resources to help APA members negotiate the maze of competing systems.

In the latest issue of Psychiatric News, the committee's chair, Steven Daviss, M.D., notes that the committee is testing the ability for APA members who have used a particular EHR system to rate several characteristics and will make those reviews available to other APA members. Resources already available include minutes of the committee's discussions, information on federal incentives for physicians who adopt EHR systems, information on privacy and security issues, and a slide presentation by committee members on several aspects of using EHR systems. These resources are available at Read Daviss's column about choosing an EHR system in Psychiatric News.



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