Electronic Medical Records: Questions to ask before you buy


Last week I provided a short video commentary on why there is growing urgency for American healthcare to get fully digital.  Yes, it was a bit cynical. However, from the volume of hits on my streaming video site I know that it got your attention.

So now that I've got your attention, I'm offering up a second video covering some of the questions you'll want to ask before you buy an electronic medical record solution for your practice.  This doesn't begin to address all the questions you need to ask, but these are some of criteria I would want to consider before taking the leap.  I hope you find this helpful.  For more information, check out Microsoft Health and the articles, audio-casts and videos in my House Calls for Healthcare Professionals library.

Bill Crounse, MD  Senior Director, Worldwide Health    Microsoft Corporation

Comments (18)

  1. tam henry says:

    Hi, I wonder if someone can help me with this question:

    Question 1.

    All records have to be electronically tracked whenever they are moved from location to location.

    The following tasks have to be done by Library staff – put them in order of importance the top being the most important to ensure that availability of records is as high as possible:

    tracking in, printing clinic lists, filing, tracking out, pulling clinics, maintenance of library, merging temporary files with original files, sending records to other sites in the Trust, maintaining the actual record in good order, requesting records from other sites in the Trust, dealing with clinician’s requests for records (reason unspecified).




  2. hlthblog says:

    Dr. Henry,

    Thanks for writing.  I have attempted to address your comment/question in an e-mail.

    Best always,

    Bill Crounse, MD

  3. Guest says:

    Amalga (aka Azyxxi) has RTM-ed – why don’t you blog about all the nice features it has 🙂 ? I bet lots of us – readers of this blog would be excited to know about them.

  4. hlthblog says:


    You are correct, and that information will be forthcoming very soon.  In the meantime, interested readers can learn more about Amalga at http://www.microsoft.com/amalga.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  5. Guest says:

    I am sureit will be as good as Vista! We are all looking forward to it!

  6. Mark says:

    Why is it that Microsoft won’t do things in ways that are standard, like posting video in a format you can view it.  I’ve loaded Silverlight just to view this blog, and it doesn’t work,  Yay, another victory for MS, the duplicate someone elses work and require you to use it, even if it doesn’t work!

  7. hlthblog says:


    Thanks for your comment.  The problem is more likely due to my own coding errors, not because of Microsoft Silverlight.    If you can’t see the video player, try refreshing your browser.  If you are still having trouble viewing the videos on this site, let me know.   I’ll check with our Silverlight team and find out what I’m doing wrong.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  8. Mark says:

    I have refreshed the page, I’ve done it in Firefox 3 and IE8, none of which works.  I’d do it on my linux box, but silverlight doesn’t work there.  Why not use something supported across all platforms like Flash?  Because it isn’t about interoperability, its about lock in.  Flash works for YouTube which has LOTS of video that does work, in fact, you could put your video there, link it from here, and it would function on ANY platform that has graphics, instead because of MS, it is only viewable using silverlight which means Windows or Mac, and evidently not my Windows XP Pro using Firefox or IE8

  9. hlthblog says:


    Thanks again fo writing. Our Silverlight team has informed me that Silverlight currently does not support Firefox 3.  That support will come online shortly after FF3 emerges from beta.  Silverlight 2 supports IE8 and the team recommends that installing Silverlight 2 Beta 1 may address your issues.  You can do that here http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/resources/installationFiles.aspx?v=2.0

    As to your other comments, I stream my video using Silverlight because I’d rather not have to point you to YouTube or SoapBox or subject you to ads on my site.  I would also add that Flash (like Silverlight) requires a download and installation.

    I hope this information is helpful.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  10. @Mark – I’ve just watched the video in IE8 on Vista SP1 and it worked fine.

    I’ve reverted back to FF2 from FF3 as I was having a load of unrelated issues (looks like they still have some work to do)

    FWIW it worked okay in Safari as well on my Mac

  11. hlthblog says:

    Thanks for adding to the discussion "offbeat".  Your comments are very much appreciated.

    Bill Crounse, MD

  12. Mark says:

    Finally got it running with the Silverlight Beta.

    Yes, you do have to download flash to get it to run, but 98% of the world already have it and that includes (linux, mac and windows)

  13. hlthblog says:

    Thanks Mark,

    I’m glad you got it working.   I learned something too.

    Best always,

    Bill Crounse, MD

  14. I believe that the future is certainly electonic medical records.  There are many systems a doctor could use.  Here are some considerations when deciding:

    How is the product licensed?

    What does each license actually provide?

    How soon are licenses released when a user exits?

    What technical support is available, and when?

    How much does technical support cost?

    How is text imported into the system?

    Which image formats will the system support?

    What printers will the system support?

    What if you need to replace the system?

    Is everything in writing?


  15. Yes, i do agree with you.Because many questions are raised before we buy a electronic medical record solution.But,anyways As <a href="http://www.medicalcharting.com/">electronic health records</a> have the potential to improve health care services.

  16. Online Electronic Medical records aiming to bring revolutionary changes in health care sector. It really helps for patient and doctors to main health records confidentially.

  17. Electronic health record helps to improve doctor and patient relationship and makes to lead healthy life

  18. Jay Andrews says:

    There are both advantages and disadvantages to electronic medical records. Many argue that positive aspects of employing a medical records system outweigh disadvantages.But it’s an individual opinion..

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