Electronic Medical Records / Electronic Health Records
The Obama administration enacted the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act in 2009 as part of an initiative to increase public spending and generate meaningful economic activity. Under HITECH, the government envisaged expenditure of close to $36 billion to create a system for managing health records on a national scale.
HITECH carried with itself both incentives and fines. These really pushed the implementation of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Electronic Health Records (EHR)software solutions. Read more.
Compare EHR/EMR Solution Providers
Freedom to Care
Charting is Customized to Your Workflow
Role-based Views & Preferences
Create Custom Health Plans
The Most Inclusive EHR and PM Software
Very Rich Graphic User Interface
Unlimited Document Upload
Voice and Handwritting Recognition
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Robust Specialty Content
Connected to 50,000 Pharmacies
Open and Interoperable
The EHR Rated #1 for Usability
Automated Appointment Reminders
Intuitive Drag-and-Drop Scheduling
Easily Query Your Database
Making It Easier to Practice Medicine
Flexible, Web-Based Training Sessions
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Credit Card Processing
Beyond the Traditional EMR
Low Start-Up Costs
Automate Orders for Specific Diagnosis
Meaningful Use & Quality Programs
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Clinical Documentation Tools
An EHR You'll Love to Use
Real Time Patient Workflows
Rapid Charting Capabilities
Intelligent Task Management
Excellence Never Sleeps
Real-Time Access to Patient Results
Meet Requirements for Confidentiality
Store, Capture, and Access Patient Info
Practice Without Boundaries
Patient Portal and Education
Award-Winning EHR Designed for You
Clinician Friendly Medical Documentation
Intelligent Order Entry
Improving Healthcare Together
Easy to Send and Receive Information
Access Clinical Content
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Acute Care and Ambulatory EMR
72% of Stage 7 U.S. Hospitals use Epic
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Make Your Practice Perfect
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Built-in PQRS data verification
Compliant “two-way” e-Prescribing
Imagination at Work
Simple, intuitive interface
At-a-glance view of everything needed
One-click problem entry and search
Quality care is customized care
Single sign-on for both EHR and PM
Specialty-specific clinical templates
EHR designed with You in mind.
Patient Timeline & Vitals Analysis
Certified as a Stage 2 Meaningful Use
Fast, free, and easy to sign up
Flexible enough to fit into any workflow
Doctor-designed and approved
Automated electronic encounter form
Bright Note Technology™ for chart entry
Built-in protocols & reminders
Advanced Technology. Simple Solutions.
Meaningful Use Stage 2 Certified
Medics FlowText voice-to-text
Specialty-specific templates & workflows
Meet future healthcare needs today.
Flexible templates for 30+ specialties
Developed by practicing physicians
Complete patient care from anywhere
Trusted by Doctors since 1998
Fast, mobile charting
Pre-loaded specialty-specific templates
Built-in eligibility verification
An EMR That Truly Supports Your Practice
Secure patient messaging
Simplified detailed code searches
Handwriting and voice recognition
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PC and iPad compatible
Bi-directional lab integrations
Pre and post treatment photo management
An EHR that lets you focus on care
More than 85,000 providers
Offline charting with PatientSync
Content for more than 27 specialties
Changing health care from the inside out
24/7 refill requests processing
Monitor all clinical messages
One-click chart summaries
The #1 cloud-based EHR for doctors
Charting in minutes on any devices
Manage refills with just two-clicks
E-prescribing of controlled substances
The Template-Free EMR
Gets faster and smarter as you use it
Charting at the speed of your mind
Use free text written in any language
Solving Real Problems for Real People
Manage schedules seamlessly
Accurately captures applicable charges
Automatically populate billing codes
#1 in Quality of Care!
Schedule across multiple facilities
Built-in intelligent E&M coding wizard
Import results from medical devices
#1 provider of ACS & Therapy software
Standard SOAP note format
Extensive reporting features
Real-time scheduling & conflict checking
All apps in one seamless user interface
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Reduced clicks to increase productivity
Take Your Practice to a New Level
EMR charting at the speed of thought
500+ specialty-specific note formats
Variety of data input methods
EHR/EMR Software Buyer's Guide
Just a few years ago, EMR and EHR were considered to be different types of medical records. EMR was referred to records of a specific instance of illness (say appendicitis) while EHR referred to longer duration records concerning the overall health of an individual. This distinction is now slowly going away and EHR is becoming the dominant data type.
Compliance with the HITECH Act requires medical practices to demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs. This implies e-prescribing, data sharing and demonstrable proof that a practice’s use of EHRs has resulted in improvement in patient care. There are strict requirements to ensure privacy of patient data and prevention of unauthorized disclosure.
While in theory a medical practice can implement only limited functionality and stay compliant with the law, vendors found that once electronic records were being maintained, they could be used very fruitfully to make practices far more efficient.
Benefits of EMR/EHR
Studies show that a small practice of just five physicians and associated staff can achieve the following benefits from their EHR implementation:
- 101% increase in total billing
- 96% decrease in transcription costs
- 100% decrease in chart supply costs
- Annual increase in revenue per practitioner: $ 461,868
Nearly half a million in additional revenue per practitioner annually is a big incentive for getting the EHR implementation right.
Getting Ready for an EHR Solution
As you decide to evaluate and license an EMR/EHR system, answers to the questions listed below could prove important:
- What are the benefits you seek from the system?
- Are your present workflows well designed and documented? Understanding the areas that can be improved makes it simpler to look for EMR /EHR systems that are strong in those specific areas.
- Will there be a requirement to integrate the EMR /EHR system with other solutions? Do you want an interface with your laboratory or hospital? Do you have a practice management or a billing system that you need to connect to? These issues need to be known before you short-list solutions.
- Does the new system require to be integrated with your medical equipment and devices?
- In which format is your data? Can it be easily imported to a standard database or will you need to change the format or structure of your data?
- What is the expertise level of your administrative staff? Do you anticipate hiring additional staff to handle this solution?
- What features of an EMR /EHR system are critical to your practice?
Selecting the Right Features
Broadly, there are eight different feature groups for any EHR system. Once you’ve defined your needs, you can select those that are important to your practice. These groups are:
- A robust web portal and patient portal
- Records of Physician / Patient interaction
- Physician support modules
- Data lifecycle management & System administration
- Support for mobile phones and tablets
- Security and compliance modules
- Physician Quality Report System (PQRS)
The features of each of the above subgroup are listed in succeeding paragraphs. Notice that billing and practice management do not form part of basic EHR modules although they can be linked and can sometimes be offered in the same package.
This is a website created by the EHR solution. It performs actions similar to what the practice’s reception would do. The portal offers two versions, customized for practitioners on one side, ad patients on the other side. The web portal automates and streamlines repetitive tasks and save patient data in a standardized format, which saves everyone a lot of time. Some essential features to look out for are:
- Patient registration, patient data management, patient login and account management
- Patient medical history records and management
- Creation of patient care chart
- Handle instructions specific to individual patients
- Patients follow-up, patient communications
- Information and support for caregivers
- Claims and reimbursement modules
- Appointment scheduling, intake forms, health education, etc.
Records of Physician / Patient interaction
This group relates to the documentation of patient interaction and overall health
- Handle physician’s clinical notes, SOAP notes, voice transcription
- Record and handle patient care instructions
- Order and record diagnostic tests
- Follow up on specimen collection
- Record and classify test results
- Assist in communication between physician, patient and their family
- Handle prescriptions and correct dosage
- Handle patient specific medication, suggest alternates
- Prevent drug-to-drug interactions, check for known allergies and drug interactions
- Direct transmission of prescription to preferred pharmacy
- Support latest version of clinical codes and simplify data entry
Physician Support Modules
- Record and manage patient authorizations and consent
- Automatic scheduling for routine and preventive patient care
- Various alerts and notifications to patients and caregivers
- Two-way communications between physicians and patients
- Handle cases of multiple physicians seeing a common patient
Data Lifecycle Management and System Administration
- Handle external documents
- Data lifecycle management, ensure compliance with regulations
- Securely handle legitimate demands on data. Share data with authorized agencies
- Ensure specified standards of patient care are achieved
- Assign tasks, ensure follow up and link to patient records
- Provide support for hospital workflow
Support Mobile Phones and Tablets
- Implement rules pertaining to “Bring Your Own Device” to allow physicians to use the device of their choice
- Entry of patient data as it is generated
- Review of patient details on mobile devices
- Handle referrals
- Handle appointments and communication with patients
- Synchronization with the main system
Security and Compliance Modules
- User authentication and rights
- Role-based access control and control over data access
- Controlled and secure data exchange with authorized agencies
- Compliance with patient privacy rules
- Set up administrative and financial rules
- Compliance with regulatory provisions
- Certifications: Certified EHR, CCHIT, ONC-ATCB
Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)
This is not a mandatory requirement under HITECH but proper implementation of PQRS helps practices gain 2.5% in their Medicare reimbursements. They avoid a 2% penalty and get 0.5% extra initiatives. When shortlisting EHR systems, ask vendors how they have implemented PQRS.
Quality of User Interface
If there is one thing practicing physicians are concerned about, it is data entry. Most practitioners are worried that they will waste valuable time entering patient data into the system. This is a genuine concern. Most modern EHR provide automatic transcription of notes, and sometimes voice recognition modules that populate data fields in-real time during the visit
When it comes to hosting the solution, there are two options: on-premises or in the cloud. Pricing usually depends on the number and type of users.
There are several advantages of running the solution in the cloud. The primary ones are:
- There is no requirement for additional infrastructure. The entire setup is managed by the vendor. You only use PCs / tablets that connect to the data center over the Internet. Costs of initial set up are low, payment is monthly; even small practices can afford a solution.
- Expenses on rental are listed as operating expenses. This can help reduce your taxes.
- You do not need any specialist staff to handle the solution or the database since the vendor handles all of these.
- Security and compliance are often far better than what is possible with a solution that is hosted in-house.
- Connectivity to smartphones and tablets is available instantaneously without any extra effort or cost.
- Upgrades are automatic.
However, do remember that once you commit to a cloud-based solution, you are dependent on Internet connectivity to access your solution; you will need to build in some redundancy for the Internet connection to your practice. Also, there are issues of control over your data. You will need to see the vendor’s policy statement about how they will assist you move your data out in case you choose to end your contract with them and move to another vendor.
Buying a solution outright frees you from the rental and data ownership issues and may make sense if your practice is very large. However, you must be prepared for high initial costs, qualified manpower requirements, backup and security issues, compliance and upgrades, etc.
In today’s environment, it often makes more sense to go in for a cloud based solution unless you have some very specific requirements or you are looking for very large scale deployment.
All medical practices will eventually migrate to EMR / EHR solutions. Doing so will take them to better standards of patient care, greater savings, better compliance, and improved overall efficiency.
During the selection process, it is important to assess whether the solution is easy to use in your own practice environment. This single factor can have a big impact on adoption and whether your implementation is a success or not.
In many cases, it makes sense to choose a cloud-based solution that costs much less upfront and can be set up with the least amount of effort. Even small practices with no technically qualified staff can implement a cloud EHR.