In healthcare today, electronic health record (EHR) systems are being used more and more to increase practice organization, efficiency and engagement. For good reason – these systems make it much easier to streamline practice operations as well as increase patient information security.
If you’re planning to enter the EHR world for the first time or looking to upgrade your current system, there are a lot of factors involved in choosing the right EHR. There are a variety of options available to doctors and healthcare organizations, with varying levels of capabilities and complexities. What will work best for your practice depends on your specific needs.
Please 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 assist with important functions like billing, ordering prescriptions and tests, managing your practice and communicating with patients.
Certainly, you want to consider your needs, your team’s needs and what’s best for patients when deciding. But what specific features should you consider? Here are a few factors to think about.
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 or more catered to dermatology can be beneficial. 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. Some EMR systems even use an adaptive learning engine to store treatment preferences, so you don’t have to build templates.
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.
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.
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 HER 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.
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 use 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 some help with your practice management systems? Our practice management experts are here to support you. Schedule a consultation today!