To provide patients a modernized standard of care, electronic health records (EHR) have become a necessity. These systems are designed to advance practice organization and efficiency with care, as well as create effective patient engagement throughout all points of care.
Whether you’re implementing an EHR for the first time or looking to switch to a new system, it can be a difficult decision. There are a lot of options out there today, many being complex and multifaceted. There are also many factors that will influence what will work best for your specific practice needs.
Note – EHR and EMR (electronic medical record) are often used interchangeably. But there is technically a difference between the two. EHRs not only replace paper charts, but can also streamline important functions like billing, ordering prescriptions and tests, managing your practice and communicating with patients.
You want to make the best decision for you, your team and your patients when choosing the right system, so here are some factors you may want to consider.
Ease of Use
The right EHR should help your practice and make day-to-day operations easier, not more complicated or frustrating. Choosing an EMR system that is specific to dermatology is important. When it comes to EMR systems, one size does not fit all. The system should remember your most frequently ordered tests, what you typically prescribe for certain conditions, etc. In addition, EMR systems may have dermatology templates that can slow you down. Instead, use a template-free EMR system that has dermatology knowledge and workflows built-in. Some EMR systems even use an adaptive learning engine to store treatment preferences, so you don’t have to build templates at all.
Other features to look for include:
- An iPad-based application that helps you interact with patients rather than turning away to type on a computer.
- The ability to capture structured data and insights.
- An advanced patient portal that’s easy to use.
- Cloud-based apps so you can access the system from your mobile device if needed.
- Integrated photography for documenting exams for records.
The right EHR should effectively and intuitively gather information so you can utilize it the best way possible. If it’s capturing structured data, it’s gathering information that can be uniquely analyzed and identified to provide actionable insights. A dermatology EHR should capture clinical data needed at the point of care. Once that’s set, it’s beneficial to be able to dig deeper into how the patient care data relates to your financial and operational data, so you can make encompassing, big-picture actions. It can also allow you to apply report filters such as date, facility, ICD-10 code, tax ID and more.
Looking up codes on Google or staying late to type notes shouldn’t be needed anymore. Based on the data you captured during the visit, your EMR system should automatically generate suggested ICD-10, CPT and modifier codes, as well as prescriptions, lab requests, written notes, completed encounter forms and patient education handouts. This saves you and your team time and removes the need for typing, so you can finish documenting before the patient leaves. Advanced suggested coding automation at the point of care can also help you improve billing accuracy, justify higher coding levels and reduce claim denials, which helps increase your income. Structured data makes all these automated features possible.
Patient engagement tools, portals and kiosks can be effective ways to communicate with patients and make their experience more accessible and convenient. See what engagement options your possible EHR choices have. Ask vendors about what options are currently available, what’s planned for the future and which features are included with the EMR system versus add-ons.
For VitalSkin supported practices, we’ve chosen the EHR provided by Modernizing Medicine to help our providers and team members advance their level of care and efficiency. This includes practice management tools to support office workflow and business operations services for billing and collections.
Need assistance with your practice management systems? Our practice management experts are here to support you. Schedule a consultation today!