Gadgetry is a red herring in the EHR search

Many EMR companies, knowing that you are shopping for an unfamiliar and complex product, want to impress you with gadgetry: they show you iPads, high-end computers, and handhelds. Others seek to win you over with fancy anatomical animations and other graphics within their EMRs. While these features may look tempting, you are being manipulated.

All good EMRs should be able to show you any picture you wish and run on any device you choose. In other words, many of the features you see highlighted in an EMR’s marketing materials are not nearly as unique as they seem. If you see a particular device that catches your eye, write down the name and ask other EMR vendors whether their software is also compatible with that device: odds are it will be. Also observe how the EMR displays its graphics and animations, and cross-check these features with other vendors.

The true benefits of an EMR are not seen in these superficial details. If an EMR focuses primarily on gadgetry and cosmetics rather than substantive features of clinical importance, consider it a red flag. These eye-catching elements will not deceive those who have used EMRs before, but they can be distracting and misleading to first-time buyers.

Exactly how an EMR handles your daily repetitive tasks is the most important question in your EMR search. Don’t let vendors gloss over this critical issue. If the EMR you choose increases your charting time or compromises your documentation or workflow in some way, you will wish you had never purchased it.

Much more than just an electronic toy that everyone seems to have, an EMR can be a major boost to your career and a huge time saver. With the correct programming, some EMRs can reduce your charting to minutes a day and become one of the biggest allies in your practice. Don’t be distracted by gadgetry.