In 2010, six companies were selected by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to test Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software, and provide the certification for use. These six organizations were dubbed as the ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Bodies (ONC-ATCB). These six were to decide if the EHR Software was meeting the criteria of Meaningful Use (MU) which was previously implemented by the US Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The ONC Certifications make sure that the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Software System possesses the technological potential and features, and meets the safety & security requirements that comprise the criteria of Meaningful Use (MU). This certification by ONC also makes sure that a well-defined and compatible format for patient information is in place, which can also be moved to and from other EMR Systems.
A total of 500 ambulatory practice products, and 275 inpatient practice products are now ONC-ATCB certified. Moreover, they also meet the EMR/EHR Meaningful Use (MU) requirements. Since this certification plays an important role in the market image of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software, the number of ONC-ATCB certified software vendors will continue to increase as they apply for the certification. This software can be either a complete EHR or simply a single module.
Healthcare Providers need to realize that having a single certified product may or may not entitle them to incentives under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.
For instance, a vendor could be certified for an e-Prescribing (e-Rx) tool. So, providers should make sure that they use two or more modular EMRs that in total are able to completely meet the ONC-ATCB certification criteria. The following points could be kept under consideration during the evaluation of certified EHR software:
|Electronic medical records||Electronic health records software (EHR) is a software that assists in developing and storing patient medical records digitally. This unique system assists physicians in tracking patient histories, notes, medications, and demographics. The most popular features of EHR software include e-prescribing, E&M coding advice, and SOAP notes. Quality Electronic Health Records Software (EHR) also offers lab integration, voice recognition, tablet support, and device integration.|
|Medical billing||Medical billing modules or Medical Billing software manage the development of patient statements and submission of insurance claims. Key functions of such systems include claim scrubbing, e-claim submission, coding, payment posting, eligibility inquiry, and reporting.|
|Patient scheduling||This module is designed to automate the entire process of scheduling patient appointments. Core features of a good patient scheduling module may include sending reminders through phone, text message, and email, automated follow-ups, and multi-location support. Such modules are usually offered along with a billing module in a practice management software suite.|
|Radiology information systems||A radio information system (RIS) is one that manages the workflow and operations of radiology imaging centers or large medical practices having radiology imaging departments. Such EHR Software or modules automate the entire process of storing, operating, and distributing patient medical images and related data.|
|Picture archiving and communications systems||PACS is designed to manage, store and retrieve DICOM images. Such systems are often used in combination with a RIS (Radio Information System) to perform the radiology workflow proficiently.|
|Medical accounting||The term Medical accounting refers to a system designed to automate accounting processes for medical practices. Major functions of such systems include general ledger, A/P, A/R, and financial reporting.|
Today over 600 companies provide EHR/EMR and Practice Management Software and with this growing competition selecting the right electronic medical records software or practice management software is always a very difficult choice. EMRFinder understands your problem and provides a complete and comprehensive catalog of specialty-specific potential EMR Software, perfect for your practice needs. There are many things to be considered when thinking to start using or switching your current Electronic Health Records Software (EHR Software). This buyer’s guide covers every necessary aspect to consider before making a final decision.
The term EMR Software or EHR Software (Electronic Health Records) is basically used for the electronic documentation and maintenance of medical records for patients via computer or a mobile device. EHR Software essentially improves the efficiency of practice by helping in making more accurate documentation of the encounters resulting in improved profitability. Its usability has been recognized and it became a part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) in 2004.
Besides financial profitability, practices have seen the following benefits of using an EHR/EMR Software:
Specialty-specific software enables physicians and other medical professionals to store detailed clinical information, such as demographics, medical history, social history, lab reports, etc.
Specialty-specific EMR Software or EHR Software must be fairly customizable to the unique style and documentation requirements since all medical practices have a specific need based on the background and medical specialty. For example, Pain Management or Dermatology specific EMR software should include the ability to store before/after photos and to annotate on images. Similarly, specialties like Pediatrics, Oncology, Podiatry, Ophthalmology, Neurology, Nephrology, Dialysis Centers, Rheumatology and Chiropractic Care require their unique set of features to simplify adoption.
Because of the massive adaptability requirement, every EMR Software is not suitable for any practice. As an EMR Software designed for hospitals or multi-provider clinics does not necessarily support a solo or a small practice. So what are the factors that will make an EHR Software vendor viable for your medical practice?
From solo to large providers and multi-specialty clinics, every practice has its unique set of challenges that must be addressed by the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software vendor some of which are listed below.
Small or solo practices with small office space and a limited number of staff members are generally short on the budget compared to larger practices. Due to these constraints, many providers simply prefer cloud-based EMR software and employ Free EMR Software or choose an affordable EHR Software vendor with a low fixed monthly fee.
Often belonging to the same medical specialty, the medium-sized practices require unique features such as interoperability, dedicated customer support, multi-device support as well as extensive reporting functionality to keep an eye on the overall performance of the practice, as their budget is also comparatively larger.
Larger medical practices usually offer medical services that fall under various medical specialties (e.g. Orthopedics, Pain Management, Surgery, Chiropractic Medicine, Family Medicine, etc.). Comprising fifteen to twenty medical providers, these practices often require support for multiple users to access the systems simultaneously. Scheduling software and a scalable solution to accommodate multiple locations, providers, and resources such as Dialysis Chairs, procedure room allocation, etc. are also the requirements of larger practices.
Hospitals or enterprise organizations have the most elaborate list of requirements, which are usually documented in the form of an RFI or RFP to assess and shortlist vendors that can meet them.
Hospitals or enterprises are often the target market of EMR software companies such as Athenahealth, McKesson, Epic, Cerner, eClinicalWorks, Allscripts, NextGen, drChrono, and Meditech, etc. and they usually provide ideal EHR software solutions for larger corporations such as ACOs, PCMH, IPAs, CINs (Clinically Integrated Networks), and Public Health Departments, etc. These EMR software companies usually offer features like integration with multiple other software and medical devices, inventory management modules, interface with local labs (LIS), machines and diagnostic equipment along with drug dispensing (pharmacy management software), and electronic medication administration record (EMAR), etc.
Electronic Medical Records (EMR) consist of various software, all with different functionalities and applications. Here are a few tips one should consider before selecting an EMR Software:
The safety and security of patient data and medical records is a principal concern for not only clinicians and medical providers, but their patients as well. A strong EMR Software ensures the safety and security of medical records and all the related patient information and guarantees HIPAA Compliance providing them privacy (especially during the patient’s communication with their doctor via Patient Portal). Top EMR Software Vendors from today (AdvancedMD, PrognoCIS, Modernizing Medicine, Chirotouch, Kareo, etc.) use data encryption technologies and other advanced tools in every section of the EMR Software to make sure that they safeguard patient records.
Due to its various advantages, Cloud-based EMR has grown more popular among physicians lately. A Cloud-based EHR software is mostly device independent and supports multiple devices such as Smartphones (iPhones and Android phones) iPhones, iPads, desktop computers, and laptops. The EMR software can be accessed from any location at any time provided that internet access is available. The Cloud-based EHR Software technology usually requires minimum or no maintenance or upfront cost making it ideal for doctors running small clinics and private practices. Some of the Cloud-based EMR Software vendors include ChartPerfect, Care Cloud, AllegienceMD, CureMD, ChartLogic, etc.
One of the characteristics of a strong EMR software is that it is ONC-ATCB certified and complies with the guidelines and protocols defined by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC). The software vendors who comply with these measures go through severe testing and conform at a benchmark level set by the federal body. This testing ensures that all areas of the software are checked for example Patient Portal, the way the software communicates with Pharmacies via E-prescription (e-Rx), HIEs, labs, hospitals, etc. Most of the EHR vendors nowadays have all the details related to their compliance with the standards established by the ONC (Click here) present online.
Today when it comes to the world of computers and digital devices, Apple is the undisputed leader in the US. Therefore, it won’t be odd if healthcare providers today specifically look for EMR Software that works on Mac systems (Mac EMR Software). However, unfortunately not all EMR software vendors support Mac devices, therefore when looking for an EMR system it is essential that the EHR Software has built-in support for Mac so that the software can be used with existing systems and any further investment in new computers can be avoided.
Certain specialty-specific Electronic health records (EHR) systems must offer unique tools for that specialty for clinical documentation. For example for gastroenterology, the EMR system should include specific tools that should be able to document clinical workflow and specify the area of concern (e.g. issues concerning the GI tract) and must offer much more than capturing raw data or text. (Gastroenterology EMR Software).
When selecting an EMR System, one of the basic and most important decisions that you need to make is if you want the EMR Software solution by itself or integrated with a Practice Management System for scheduling and billing. Having an integrated EHR and PM solution has its pros, yet there have been instances where practices chose an EHR by themselves, as they had some unique needs that EMR Software vendors could not be met or they had already made large payments for separate Practice Management solutions and could not replace it, in fact, were bound to use it.
With competition rising every day in the field of healthcare IT, many EHR Vendors who provide integrated Practice Management solutions included in the software bundle easily outclass competitors with standalone EMR Software including the ones that offer a specialty-specific EMR Solution. EHR software providers with integrated Practice Management systems often tend to offer widespread reporting competencies to monitor how the practice performs and manages administrative tasks better.
Like all other software solutions needed by a medical practice, it is very important for a healthcare organization to have a strong billing system to be able to communicate with insurance companies and to charge all the services rendered. Medical Billing Software works best when integrated with EMR software. The clinical documentation complies with all the mandatory standards and forms a financial document that is sent electronically to insurance carriers or financiers so that they can validate and process at their end. This helps streamline operations and various administrative tasks and makes sure everyone is on the same page where financial matters are concerned. By using the Medical billing Software system, practices are able to produce patient statements, confirm patient eligibility, and generate claims, and much more. Medical billing solutions integrated with EMRs prove to be ideal for healthcare organizations who wish to manage to bill in-house.
Different EMR Vendors offer varying prices. Some EMR Software sellers offer their services for free, while others provide specialty services for extremely high costs. In both cases, there always might be chances of several hidden costs that might be revealed later. When selecting an EHR Software, make sure you finalize your budget and discuss all the hidden costs included in the contract with your potential vendors. Also, make sure you ask them about the charges for services such as support and training.
With technological advancements happening every second, life has become faster than ever. To keep up with this fast pace, people in all walks of life like to rely more on handheld devices especially because of their handiness, mobility, and a number of other uses. Like all other professions, the field of medicine also relies heavily on the use of technology more and more. Doctors nowadays, need an EMR system with which they can use Tablets or iPads to take down notes about symptoms, patient history, and electronically prescribe medication to the patients and a mobile application synced with all the mobile devices being used in the practice.
Though some doctors and physicians might be very proficient with technology, at the end of the day, they are not IT professionals. They always prefer software that is easy to use, so that not only their transition process from their existing systems (paper or existing EHR) is smooth, but also their everyday experience with their Electronic Health Records software goes without any hindrances. An EMR System that is too complicated to understand can waste a lot of time resulting in users being aggravated. Also, there are some EMR companies that provide users with training free of cost, so at the time of selecting an EMR software, make sure that you ask the vendor to train you and other staff members of the practice to have a better grasp of the software and if there will be any additional costs involved for training.
All medical providers work in their distinctive manner and have unique needs according to their specialties. Therefore, most of the EMR Software Vendors today ensure that their EHR Software is specially tailored for a specific specialty or a number of specialties. This was a predictable conclusion of the EMR Software journey, as more and more healthcare providers were required to switch to Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems. Most of the EHR software companies at that point in time were essentially focused on selling their software to all healthcare providers regardless of their specialties. But the specialty-based medical providers soon realized that the software did not meet the requirements of their practices. Therefore, the demand for specialty-specific EMR systems increased. To meet that demand, EMR software vendors started producing specialty-specific EHR software and as a result of that, today there are several unique EMR systems available for almost all the specialties like Cardiology, Anesthesiology, Family Medicine, Orthopedics, Urology, Optometry, Pulmonology, General Surgery, Alternative & Holistic Medicine, etc.
When you adopt an EHR software for your practice, it eases your routine tasks and helps your practice in so many different ways. But what will you do when your software faces a technical issue? It is normal for any software application to malfunction from time to time. This is when you should pick up your phone and contact the customer service representative of your EMR software service provider. An efficient customer support service addresses all of your concerns and issues and tries to resolve them in a knowledgeable and skilled way. Only a customer service rep can understand the issues or changes in the behavior of your Electronic Health Records software application and then the rep can pass on your concerns to the appropriate department to get your issue fixed. A good customer service representative always ensures customer satisfaction. On the other hand, a bad and rude customer rep will only make things worse. Most of the EMR software vendors provide customer support as a part of the plan that you are paying for, while some of them charge extra for this service. Before implementing an EHR software you should make that clear with the vendor if there will be a special support team assigned to the practitioner within the package or not.
The EHR industry, like everything else, goes through constant changes all the time. Whether it’s new innovations or updates in technology, or changes in legalities, the EMR industry is always changing. Following is a list of such changes that you should keep track of.
A recent study shows that only 25% of the physicians have shown interest in the web-based EHR software systems and only 50% have adopted it as an initial model that will ultimately transit to cloud-based software. The cloud-based EMR software cuts down the costs of having and maintaining all the hardware and client servers. It can be hosted on any device which has a web browser. That is why healthcare software vendors are switching to cloud-based EHR software.
Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 (previously known as Meaningful Use) created the Quality Payment Program that:
Epic EMR Software one of the top Cloud-based Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software & Practice Management (PM) Software provider in the United States, is taking drastic steps to help identify potential cases of Wuhan novel coronavirus in providers. The medical update was sent this week to health care customers to make sure all EHR workflows strictly follow the necessary CDC guidelines. Continue Reading
athenahealth EMR Software, one of the largest EMR Software vendor in the United States by athenahealth inc. has added new order sets to help with the detection coronavirus. The new screening tool added to the EMR software network will help speed up the diagnosis and overall patient monitoring. Continue ReadingMore