Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting Started With OSCAR - The Basics

After your decision to get an EMR, and your evaluation of the open and closed options available to you, it is time to plunge in and get started.

For new OSCAR users, you have a number of choices available to you starting with doing it yourself, or getting help.

If you want to do it yourself, you should join the OSCAR Users email list and review the installation instructions.

If you decide on getting help, you can contact one of the OSCAR Support companies.

OSCAR is very flexible and runs today in both large and small clinics. Most clinics run two servers - a main server which everyone one uses day to day, and a backup server which is used in the unlikely case of a failure in the first machine.

Since your EMR is supporting your real time business, and no one enjoys having a queue of patients piling up in their lobby, the two server configuration is very popular.

Not everyone runs their practice on two servers though. Some elect for a single server, and some run three.

In the case of running a single server, you would use OSCAR's manual backup mechanism to ensure that if you had a failure, you would not lose your data. Of course, if you only have one server and it fails, you will need to create a new OSCAR in order to put your backed-up data back into use.

An increasing number of clinics have elected to run three OSCAR servers. These clinics tend to run two servers onsite, synchronizing their data in realtime, and a third server offsite, generally synchronizing via a daily batch process.

Other than servers, you will need to get a decent and secure local network in your office (either wired or secure wireless will work with OSCAR).

High speed internet access is needed if you plan on accessing your data when you are not in your office. As OSCAR has very good security and uses encryption on all its communications, most people do leverage their internet connections so that they can access OSCAR from wherever is most convenient.

One accesses OSCAR via the web browser (e.g. Firefox, Safari, etc,...) you have on your computer. OSCAR is very efficient and so you do not have to run out and buy all new equipment in order to start. Most clinics will use their existing laptops and desktops when they first start.

Many OSCAR clinics use dedicated document scanners to get rid of the paper which arrives everyday. Most would agree that a good quality scanner, such as the Fujitsu ScanSnap s1500, is an investment worth making.

Network capable laser printers are another popular inclusion to a busy OSCAR office.

OSCAR allows you to start small and grow as needed.

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