Choosing the right EHR hardware for your practice

The right electronic health record (EHR) hardware can make your practice more efficient, productive, and secure. It can streamline your workflow, improve patient care, and ensure compliance with the latest regulatory requirements. However, with so many options out there, how do you pick the right hardware for your practice?

This guide will delve into the pros and cons of various hardware options, empowering you to make an informed decision for your organization. But first, let’s demystify EHR hardware.

What is EHR hardware?

EHR hardware refers to the physical components that support electronic health record (EHR) systems, including computers, servers, networking equipment, and other devices that are used to store, process, and transmit patient data. It is crucial for ensuring that EHR systems are reliable, secure, and scalable. EHR hardware also plays a critical role in protecting patient data from unauthorized access.

What are the different computer hardware options for EHR systems?

One of the most important decisions you will make when implementing an EHR system is choosing the right computer hardware. There are three main options to choose from:

1. Desktops

Desktop computers are typically fixed in one location and hardwired to the network, providing a stable and secure connection for accessing and inputting patient data. Many healthcare organizations use desktop computers because these are generally less expensive than laptops or tablets. Desktop computers are also relatively straightforward to set up and maintain. Plus, there are many different vendors that offer desktop computers, so you can choose one that fits your specific needs and budget.

However, desktop computers take up more space than laptops or tablets and often require additional hardware, such as a microphone or stylus, to support voice or handwriting recognition programs. Moreover, if staff need to access the EHR system from multiple locations, you will need to set up desktops in each room.

2. Laptops

Laptops provide a more flexible and mobile solution for EHR workstations compared to desktop computers. They allow staff to access patient data from various locations, including hospitals, clinics, and patient homes. Additionally, laptops can be easily transported to patient rooms, enabling clinicians to share on-screen information directly with patients.

However, laptops can be heavy, and carrying them around several times a day can be cumbersome. This can lead to fatigue and discomfort for staff members. Additionally, laptop repairs are generally more expensive than desktop repairs. Out-of-warranty repairs may require sending the laptop to an off-site repair facility, which can result in downtime and disruption to workflow.

3. Tablets

Tablets pack the power of desktops and laptops into a sleek, lightweight form factor, enabling users to effortlessly move between rooms and locations while accessing and inputting patient data. With the aid of a digital pen or voice recognition software, users can input data as naturally as they would on paper charts, further streamlining the EHR workflow. 

However, using tablets for accessing EHR systems also has downsides. For one, users may need some time to learn how to use a stylus, or handwriting programs may not accurately interpret all medical terminology, requiring additional review and input. Tablet touchscreens are also susceptible to scratches and damage, requiring the use of protective cases or covers. Moreover, repairing tablets tends to be more expensive than repairing desktops or laptops.

Which EHR computer hardware is right for your company?

The best option for you will depend on your specific needs and budget. If you need a reliable, secure, and inexpensive option, then a desktop computer is a good choice. If you need a more flexible option, then a laptop may be right for you. And if you need the most portable option, then a tablet may be the way to go.

Still confused about which computer hardware to use for your EHR system? Our IT experts can assess your needs and recommend the best hardware for your healthcare organization. Contact us today for a consultation.

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