Due to the data-intensive and complex nature of oncology, this medical specialty presents unique challenges when it comes to buying specialty-specific EHRs. Many oncology practices have tried using generic EMR systems offering customization to cater to this niche, but none of them have been satisfied with their software selections.
Thankfully, there are numerous health IT vendors offering EMR software catering to the specialized needs of oncologists, but here again, many of those systems are unable to adapt to the unique workflows of different oncology practices. Since EHR software specializing in oncology aren’t exactly cheap, we recommend clinicians to do careful prior research to determine their precise needs before they buy a specialty specific EMR software.
In order to assist you in understanding the criteria to be used and features to look out for in a potential oncology EMR system, we have prepared a buyer's guide for you. Below are some unique features of Oncology EHR Systems that you should consider before buying.
Unique Features of Oncology EHR Systems
- Compatibility with ultrasound, MRI, CT, and PET scans and other diagnostic image formats
- ICD/CPT codes specific to oncology
- Cancer Registry
- Chemotherapy management and automation
- Pre-designed templates
- Built-in interface with labs (Quest, LabCorp, etc.)
- Integration of patient education materials
You must also understand that all Oncology EMR software are not equipped with everything that is needed to facilitate your practice workflow. Oncology itself has several branches of specialties and each of them are distinct from the other. Thankfully there are EMR vendors out there who understand that all oncology specialties are not alike. They appreciate the fact that although all oncology-specific EMR software share a lot of similarities, clinicians should be able to easily customize the EMR to fit their specific needs. To help clinicians with this, oncology EMR software offer a variety of pre-designed templates such as:
- Radiation therapy
- Skin cancer
Selecting an oncology EMR software is no doubt a daunting task, but having some familiarity with the basic selection criteria along with some of the features that are customized for your specific specialty can really help you make the right choice for your oncology practice.
The right EMR for oncology practice will be customized to deal with unique features of diagnosing and treating cancer. Practices specializing in oncology utilize a variety of imaging tests when treating patients. Such imaging tests include CT scans, mammograms, ultrasounds, PET scans, MRIs, and other similar scans. The right oncology EMR software should be compatible with numerous image types from various imaging equipment and their software. It should be able to easily receive and analyze large amounts of medical data generated for each of your patients. Also, the EMR software should also be able to connect with labs for blood tests and other similar work-ups.
Other things you must consider while buying the right EMR for your oncology practice include your practice size, number of doctors, workflow design, and certification. Considering the size or the number of users in your practice is important because some EHRs charge you per user. System Design becomes significant when you have multiple doctors operating from different locations and need to use the same EHR. For this, the EHR software must be accessed from the cloud. The certifications are important because they make sure that your EHR vendor is HIPAA compliant and meets Meaningful Use objectives.