Speech Therapy EMR Software

Speech Therapy EMR Software Buyers Guide 2024

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by Nicole Jenkins
Last Updated: Jul 10, 2024

Ultimate Guide to Speech Therapy EMR Software

When it comes to implementing an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software system, the features and needs of speech therapy practices are not like those of their common medical specialties. Speech-language pathologists need to automate their tedious routine work like, data documentation, accessing clinical information, coding for reimbursements, etc. Speech Therapy Electronic Health Records (EHR) Software helps to meet operational needs to boost productivity.

Other than this, speech therapists need some unique features for their practices. They have complex document management needs. Speech therapists also have to follow the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s (ASHA) guidelines.

Each practice has its own needs. Some practices want full-fledged software for clinical documentation and support services. Others need practice management features like appointment-making and billing capabilities to streamline administrative and financial tasks.

Main features of Speech Therapy EHR Software

To have a good understanding of how the software works, it is advisable to learn about the different features and functionalities of the software. Before choosing a Speech Therapy Electronic Medical Records Software, we should check if the software system has the following key features:

Data documentation

Speech therapists need to record large volumes of data in the EMR software system. The software must have enough storage to manage and handle all the medical data efficiently.

CPT & ICD coding

The speech therapy electronic medical records software should be able to read and reference the set of CPT and ICD codes. Top vendors also offer the feature of selecting favorite codes, which are used very frequently. The coding capability helps practices get paid faster and improve financial accuracy.

SOAP notes templates

The Speech Therapy EMR Software should include speech therapy-related SOAP note templates to enhance the charting process. For example, swallowing exams, voice exams, cognitive-communication exams, etc.

Custom lists

The Speech therapy Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Software must offer speech therapy-specific lists. These lists are for lab orders, procedure orders, and radiology orders.

PQRS reports

The EHR software System must contain pre-loaded G-codes and modifiers to automate PQRS reports. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can avoid Medicare Part B payment penalties with the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures.

Electronic scheduling

It is necessary for a good speech therapy electronic health records software to offer an electronic scheduling feature. Through this capability patients can easily book appointments online without the hassle of calling the clinic, improving patient satisfaction scores. Patient scheduling helps to improve access to care for patients receiving care for various swallowing disorders and cognitive communication disorders.

Features to Look for in an EHR Software

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 about 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 and Electronic Health Records Software is used for the electronic documentation and maintenance of medical records for patients via computer or a mobile device. EHR Software System essentially improves the efficiency of practice by helping to make 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.

EMR Software Benefits

Besides financial profitability, practices have seen the following benefits of using EHR/EMR Software:

  • Improved practice efficiency
  • Streamlined administrative tasks
  • Improved profitability and revenue cycle (Medical Billing Services)
  • Improved Patient Engagement (via Patient Portal)
  • Decreased stationary costs
  • Improved collections due to more organized claims
  • Automated alerts and reminders helping patients return to the office when necessary and notifying the practice about any potential risk
  • Enhanced Security and Safety (Cloud Storage & Back-ups) – Cloud-based EMR Software

EMR Software by Specialty

Specialty-specific software such as Speech Therapy EMR Software enables physicians and other medical professionals to store detailed clinical information, such as demographics, medical history, social history, lab reports, etc.

Specialty-specific 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, Speech Therapy EMR software should include a library of speech and language exercises and resources to be accessed by therapists to support therapy sessions. Similarly, specialties like Pediatrics, Oncology, Podiatry, Ophthalmology, Neurology, Nephrology, Dialysis Centers, Rheumatology and Chiropractic Care require their unique set of features to simplify adoption.

EMR Software by Practice Size

Practice size is an important consideration to make before selecting an EHR system. 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 Provider Practices

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.

Medium-Sized Practices

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.

Large practices

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

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.

Tips to consider when choosing an EMR Vendor

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:

Security

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 ( WebPT EMR Software, PracticePro EHR Software, AdvancedMD EMR Software, athenahealth EMR Software, Tebra EHR Software etc.) use data encryption technologies and other advanced tools in every section of the EMR Software to make sure that they safeguard patient records.

Cloud-based EMR software

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 electronic medical records 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 WebPT EMR Software, Care Cloud EHR Software, AllegienceMD EMR Software, etc.

ONC-ATCB Certified EMR Software

One of the characteristics of a robust 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.

Mac EMR Software

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 EHR software vendors support Mac devices, therefore when looking for an EMR system it is essential that the 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.

Specialty EHR software

Certain specialty-specific Electronic Health Records (EHR) Software systems must offer unique tools for that specialty for clinical documentation. For example for speech therapy, the EMR system should include specific tools that should be able to document clinical workflow and specify the area of concern (for e.g. issues concerning the throat, voice disorders etc.) and must offer much more than capturing raw data or text. (Speech Therapy EMR Software).

Specific Services

When selecting an EMR System, one of the basic and most important decisions that you need to make is if you want the EHR Software solution by itself or integrated with a Practice Management System for scheduling and billing. Having an integrated EMR and PM solution has its pros, yet there have been instances where practices chose an EHR by itself. Since they have unique needs that EMR Software vendors could not meet or they have invested in a  separate Practice Management solution.

Integrated Practice Management Software

With competition rising every day in the field of healthcare IT, many EHR Software 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.

Integrated Medical Billing Software

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. A Medical Billing Software works best when integrated with Electronic Medical Records 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 EHR systems prove to be ideal for healthcare organizations who wish to manage to bill in-house.

Hidden Cost

Different EMR Vendors offer varying prices. Some EHR Software sellers offer their services for free, while others provide specialty services for extremely high costs. In both cases, there are chances of several hidden costs that might be revealed later. When selecting an electronic medical records software,  ensure to finalize a budget and discuss all the hidden costs included in the contract with the potential vendor. Also, it is suggested to inquire about the charges for services such as support and training.

Mobility

With rapid technological advancements 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.

Ease of Use and Training

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 to be aggravated. Also, there are some EHR companies that provide users with training that is free of cost. The training programs ensures that providers and staff members can use the software system proficiently.

Specialty Based EMR Software

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 of 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 the 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 Speech therapy, cardiology, Anesthesiology, Family Medicine, Orthopedics, Urology, Optometry, Pulmonology, General Surgery, Alternative & Holistic Medicine, etc.

Customer Support Quality

The implementation of EHR software eases routine tasks and helps practices in many different ways. But what happens when there is a  technical issue with the system? It is normal for any software application to malfunction. This is when an efficient and hands on customer service comes in handy. An efficient customer support service addresses all user concerns and resolves them promptly. Only a customer service rep can understand the issues or changes in the behavior of an Electronic Health Records software application. A good customer service representative always ensures customer satisfaction. On the other hand, an incompetent 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 ensure with the vendor if there will be a special support team assigned to the practitioner within the package or not.

Market Trends to Be Aware Of

The EHR Software industry, like any industry goes through  changes all the time. Whether it’s new innovations or updates in technology, or changes in legalities, the EMR industry is always evolving. Following is a list of such changes that you should keep track of.

Cloud-Based Services

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 the healthcare software vendors are switching to cloud-based EHR software.

Meaningful Use or MACRA

Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015 (previously known as Meaningful Use) created the Quality Payment Program that:

  • Repeals the sustainable growth rate formula
  • Changes the way that Medicare pays physicians for value over volume
  • Streamlines multiple quality programs under the new Merit-Based Incentive Payments System (MIPS)
  • Awards extra payments for participation in eligible alternative payment models (APMs)

Latest in EHR Software News

athenaOne: A Powerful Medical App Loved by Doctors

Developed by athenahealth EHR Software, athenaOne is among the top rated medical apps on the Apple App Store. athenaOne has garnered this reputation largely due to the many benefits and conveniences which it offers, through its robust set of tools and features.

Its ease of use and intuitive user interface has made it a favourite among US healthcare providers, helping practices beat industry benchmarks. Doctors have noted faster workflows, which allow them to quickly complete notes and place orders.

athenaOne currently sits at a 4.6-star rating on Apple’s App Store, and is more than powerful enough to support healthcare providers through their day!