When you choose a practice management (PM) system or, it is important to ensure that your computer systems are fully compatible.
Subscribing to the wrong software may mean that your computers cannot fully handle the software. Your system could crash, become unsuccessful or run some other risk. It may not operate at fully efficiency, leaving you to miss out on functionality.
Part of shopping for software, then, requires that you ask vendors all the questions you need to about the system first before you make a commitment to a specific system. Knowing what your equipment is capable of, too, can help.
Shopping for PM or EHR workstations
With computer purchases, you will need to understand some key measures of system capacity before you buy. Check with your vendor to find out what minimum requirements would allow you to run your software system.
From there, you can look for the specific systems you want, depending on the type you need:
• Tablets: In a tablet, you need to look for a mainstream system such as an Android or iPad. Or, if you choose another system, then you will need to ask your vendor if it will be compatible.
• PC/Mac desktop or laptop: The specs of your desktops should be sufficiently high enough to allow the software to run quickly and efficiently. You should consider these hardware recommendations: 1) RAM, 2) Processor Speed, 3) Internet Speed.
As you shop for computers, there are a few hardware considerations to keep in mind. There are a variety of different computers on the market today, and many of them of fully capable of running the PM and EHR software you need. After your vendor tells you what specs you should look for, you are ready to begin shopping.
Here is a bit more information about computer specifications, with an idea of what you should probably look for:
• RAM—Your computer’s Random Access Memory allows it to process a certain amount of information at once. The higher this number, the better. It is typically measured in Gigabytes (GB). You should consider 2 to 4 GB of memory an absolute minimum, generally speaking, for EHR or PM software. Your own vendor may require more memory. With technology quickly advancing, try to invest in the highest RAM you reasonably can.
• Processor Speed—This is how fast your computer can process information. Faster is better. Speeds are measured in Gigahertz (GHz). Look for at least 2.5 GHz or so. Faster processors will help you load your software quickly and keep moving. Your vendor may recommend a faster speed.
• Internet Speed—This is not technically a computer specification, but it is a very important consideration as you implement your system. Broadband Internet connections are generally recommended, if broadband access is available in your area. Speeds are typically measured in Megabits per second (Mb/s). You should look for a minimum speed around 3 Mb/s. If you can access higher speeds, you should.
There are other computer specs, but these three are very crucial for determining how quickly your EHR and PM operate.
1. American Academy of Family Practice Physicians. “EHR Hardware Basics.” Aafp.org. http://www.aafp.org/practice-management/health-it/product/hardware.html. Accessed: July 2017.