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By efficiently collecting data in a way that it can be easily shared across multiple healthcare organizations and leveraged for quality improvement, EHRs can significantly improve public and population outcomes. Beyond data collection, EHRs can help with reporting and surveillance as well. This, along with immunization registries and electronic laboratory reporting, can lead to the prevention of or a reduction in the number of disease outbreaks in a given area. Disease management is also bolstered with the right EHR system.

When shopping for an EHR that can support your public health outcomes, there are some things you should consider:

Price

Over the past decade, local health departments across the U.S. have seen their budgets dwindle while their expenses continue to rise. Because of this, price is perhaps the number one criteria when it comes to selecting an EHR system. To be sure the solution you invest in meets your needs, choose one that not only supports federal compliance and reporting but also local public health reporting.

Training

Your new EHR system will require your organization get up to speed as quickly as possible. You may have a large number of staff members, including schedulers, those involved with patient registration and checkout, Medical Office assistants, billers and providers, who will need to be trained.

Since not all training is equal, it’s important to recognize the kinds of resources your staff requires and compare them to the training your potential EHR vendors provide. Is online training and phone support enough, or will you need onsite training instead?

Also, once training is over, your staff will need ongoing support. Be sure to speak with each vendor to understand what kind of support you can expect once you sign on the dotted line. Continue Reading

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