Time to call out another myth that EMR salespeople love to use to sell their EMR system. Here’s the question and answer that will be familiar to many:
Doctor: Do you have templates for my specialty?
EMR Salesperson: Of course, we have tons of templates for your specialty.
Available templates is one of those myths that is perpetuated by many EMR companies. The problem with the question being asked is that “EMR salespeople” wouldn’t know the difference between a good and bad EMR template if they tried. Add in the idea of specialty specific templates and it’s no wonder they don’t know how to give a doctor a real answer to that question. They are also so far removed from the EMR template development that they can’t reasonably answer that question. So, stop asking the salesperson.
Instead, ask to see all of the specialty specific templates. At least then you’ll know up front the quality (or lack therof) of the EMR templates offered for your specialty.
I’d personally even take it one step further. Ask the EMR vendor to make a change to one of the templates you like. The harsh reality of templates is that almost every (and possibly EVERY) template you get from an EMR vendor is going to need at least some modification to make it look the way you want it to look. You might want to reorder the data, brand the note, add in missing options in drop down lists, or some other edit. Regardless of how big or small, you’re going to be editing the templates you’re given. Better to know up front the process for editing the template. If the person showing you the template baulks at your request to modify the template, that’s a really bad sign.
I’m not hammering on templates either. They can be very effective if created correctly. Just don’t expect a set of practice changing templates right out of the box.