When physician practices are selecting or replacing an EMR, there’s an important question that is often overlooked. That question is, “Who owns the data in the EMR?” Each EMR vendor may view provider-created data differently from other vendors. Therefore, it is advisable for you to probe a bit deeper rather than accepting a simple answer from your vendor that might not tell the entire story.
Though the growing trend within the EMR industry is to allow healthcare professionals to export their data from the EMR at any time, EMR data portability is still a controversial issue. Most vendors believe that it is not in their best interest to provide physicians with the tools to access their data in a portable format. This is due to the fact that they want you to continue to use their software. Some vendors will even tell you that you own your EMR data, but then they don’t provide a way for you to get the information out unless you use their software. If that’s the case, do you really own the data? At a minimum, if you are no longer happy with the vendor, they should allow or provide you the ability for a one-time export of your data to another EMR.
This becomes an important consideration if a provider decides to have a hosted or SaaS EMR. With a SaaS EMR, not only does EMR data portability mean that you could move to a new EMR if needed, but it also means that you can store your EMR data locally if you want. Just be sure that the EMR data can be locally hosted and supported by whichever server platform you are using, whether it is Windows or Linux based.
Ownership of EMR data is also important to consider with SaaS EMR vendors that might sell the aggregate data across all users of their EMR to a third-party data mining company. This means that the EMR vendor is providing a very low-cost solution, but at the expense of your patients’ health records being sold. Is this worth the cost of admission? You may very well end up losing patients depending on what methods are being used to contact your patients with various offers.
There are so many things to consider when selecting an EMR, but finding out who owns your data is an important question that needs not be overlooked. If you aren’t sure how to start your EMR search, www.emrandhipaa.com is a great resource that can help.