Sunday, January 08, 2006

Choosing an EMR company: unexpected difficulties

Our IT lead physician arranged a meeting for our group with the OntarioMD IT transition specialist assigned to us. Each FHN has access to a transition specialist to help with the process and the (often very complicated) forms we have to do.

Our transition specialist told us how the subsidy program works, and showed us a power point presentation about the program. She explained what the different configurations for the server are.

Our FHN has some problems. There are 9 of us, working in 7 different offices. Three of us work in a two physician practice with a non-FHN partner. We did not know how the EMR would work in this case.

The transition specialist explained that the non-FHN partners would not be eligible for the IT subsidy. The FHN negotiates as a whole, so there is only one IT contract for the whole group. Our non-FHN partners would not be negotiating with us, and we each would have to make separate agreements with them. This introduced the possibility that some practices would have a mix of physicians using and not using EMRs.

We knew about the other FHNs decision on software; our IT lead wanted to explore a few more options before deciding on a demonstration, and we agreed to do this.

We were also told to apply now for free broadband access from SSHA, as it takes from 2 to 4 months for them to install this. We were given forms to fill and fax back to SSHA. The forms include authorization for both cable and ADSL (over phone line) broadband, and you have to fill out both. SSHA decides which one should go in your office. At the same time, we were also given forms to fill for the rVPN (remote Virtual Private Network); this enables access to the practice software from other places (for example, home or cottage). I have put a link to a glossary on the right side if you find all these acronyms to be confusing.


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