Every health care provider’s office used to have shelves or filing cabinets full of manila folders, storing patient data. Over recent years, the U.S. government has implemented incentives and requirements designed to shift the nation’s health care record-keeping from paper to electronic format, and most providers now recognize the necessity of making that transition. Below, we take a look at how a digital system can benefit your patients and your practice, and describe five of the most popular EMR software products.
What is EMR or EHR Software?
Very simply, an Electronic Medical Record is a digital version of everything that used to be in one of those manila file folders. The term EHR (Electronic Health Record) is also applied to this type of record-keeping. Originally, EMR referred to a patient’s electronic record within just one single health care practice, while EHR referred to the total digital picture of the person’s medical history. However, with the growing trend toward universal access to this information, the two terms are now used interchangeably.
Benefits of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software
The use of EMR software offers so many benefits to providers and patients that we need to divide them up into different categories:
- Administrative Efficiency: With increasingly easy user interfaces, and wrap-around services that handle of coding, billing and insurance claims, today’s EMR software is taking a big piece of the workload off providers. In statistics published by the federal office of Health Information Technology , physicians with at least 2 years of experience with best-practice EHR systems reported the following outcomes: 72 percent stated that EHR software produced financial benefits for their practice, 85 percent stated that it makes their practice function more efficiently, and 92 percent stated that it produces clinical benefits for the practice.
- Better Risk Management: When all decision-making is clearly documented, evidence-based, and supported by current best practices, providers are legally safer. With high-tech platforms that offer offsite storage and automatic data backup, there are fewer vulnerabilities. Furthermore, EMR systems are updated automatically to reflect the latest federal regulations for keeping patient information secure.
- Error Reduction: In today’s medical landscape, it’s typical for patients to move between a number of providers, and every transition. runs the risk of losing information. “When patients are admitted to hospitals, more than half have at least one discrepancy in their medications,” according to an exceptional in-depth piece of reportage by a Stanford University physician. Electronic medical records alert emergency room staff to patient allergies or other conditions, even if the person is unconscious.
- More Accurate Prescriptions: Electronic medical records allow providers to prescribe and order medications for patients online, displaying all the other medications that the patient is taking, as well as any allergies they may have. Some systems also display with medications are covered by the patient’s insurance. In addition, the problem of deciphering physician handwriting is removed.
- Increased Patient Compliance and Satisfaction: Since clinical summaries and instructions are available to patients after they have seen a provider, they have a much better overview of their condition. They have a better track record in complying with treatment regimens, and they are more motivated to pursue lifestyle changes.
- More Use of Preventive Care: The University of South Florida Health Online site notes that EMR systems result in more patients coming in for preventive checkups, screenings, vaccinations, and other kinds of care.
Five Top EHR / EMR Software Solutions
Calling itself an “End to end practice management solution”, DrChrono not only stores patient records and offers a HIPAA-compliant patient portal, it also handles scheduling and clinic workflow, billing, and patient engagement. They offer an option in which the DrChrono team does all the coding and revenue cycle management for a practice. They will even bill patients, submit claims, and process denials, as well as present you with analytics and charts. Free API and SDK allow practices to build their own apps with DrChrono functionality, and the platform partners with Apple to work on the iPad and iPhone.
Advanced MD has many of the same practice management tools as DrChrono, and they emphasize their smart EHR dashboard. This dashboard automates the total provider workflow, showing “task donuts” including everything from patient reminders to consent forms, room usage, charting, prescriptions, and more. Tasks are prioritized and scheduling managed for you. AdvancedMD is more complex and has a steeper learning curve than some EHR systems.
Another web-based solution combining practice management, electronic medical records and patient billing, Kareo offers a simpler approach. Quick setup and no contract makes this software easy to try out. More affordable than some systems, Kareo is especially designed for independent practices and individual providers. Kareo also offers a HIPAA-compliant telemedicine module, opening the door for the revenue benefits associated with video consultations.
Available either on the premises (loaded into your practice’s computers) or on the cloud, Compulink includes lab integration with its EHR, and features a HIPAA-compliant patient portal. Their special features include an electronic pharmacy connection with prescription renewal processing, and a billing module that handles credit card processing. Compulink is also customizable to different types of practices.
CareCloud is certified according to U.S. Meaningful Use requirements, and it offers an EHR solution integrated with practice management and billing services. On a single screen, the provider can see full patient information, including medical history to appointment calendar and billing status. The platform also works on mobile iOS devices. It’s not as easily dividable into separate modules as some competitor products, so it’s best for practices that plan to use all of its features.
Do you need additional help?
If your practice is trying to find the best options for keeping Electronic Medical Records (EMR), we can help. As a Managed IT Services Company that specializes in Healthcare IT, we handle the technology needs of healthcare practices all over Michigan. We have extensive experience in helping them find the best EMR Software that fits their specific needs.