With the ICD-10 grace period ended and talks of implementation taking the healthcare industry by storm, search engines are firing up around the globe. The search for an efficient, reliable practice management software is at its peak, and why shouldn’t it be? Not every EMR out there can conform to the brand new set of regulations making its way down the healthcare practices; physicians are looking for a safe haven.
With innumerable choices in the market, shopping for practice management software can be overpowering and searching for the right fit can be even worse.
It’s important not to lose track of what you want, what you really want. Make a list of features you’re looking for or even just the ones you need at the moment. The ICD-10 grace period deadline has made its way to most of the headlines and so tries looking for one that complies with all the regularities. However, it’s suggested you think through; the ever evolving healthcare industry might surprise you when you least expect it. Changes such as the Affordable Care Act might take a different turn once the elections are over, which means things could tip either way. Physicians might be able to comply to the same regularities if the act stays, or in case it doesn’t, well then we can only cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Once you get your hands on the list of features, make sure you prioritize them. Instead of randomly choosing which one’s important, try making the process a little intense this time. Think about your practice type, your patient portal and what you could do to make the most out of your resources. Keep a look out for programs that excel in the features you need most, whether it’s document management and automation, online payment processing, client collaboration tools, or financial management and accounting. Anything you need, counts.
Another thing to look at is the budget. Time for some reality check; regardless of the features of the EMR, or the ease of accessibility and utility it brings to your practice, you must always check you budget once you’re done with the list. It’s always important to make your list of needs/wants first just to bring more clarity. Knowing what you want is the first step to success, well at least in the case of EMR. Gather up those finances and see if the right EMR fits your budget or not.
Moving away from the tips of making an efficient EMR shopping decision, let’s now talk about what the software alone. Here are a few things you should absolutely be paying attention to when choosing the right fit.
Firstly, and most importantly your EMR/EHR must be meaningful use certified and must comply with evaluation and management documentation standards. These standards help certify that healthcare payers have the evidence they need to reimbursement you. Moreover, Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs offer monitory incentives to individuals who certify “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology.
It’s essential to get paid, right? A good practice management software will take care of this important pillar and make the process fast, painless and convenient for all the parties involved. Make sure you talk to the consultant and place great emphasis on knowing more about the company’s billing features. In most cases, the program might autofill a bill with services from charts allowing you to view the bill and chart side-by-side.
In the practice management industry, charting is everything. A practice management software that doesn’t support charting in real time tends to bring about unnecessary stress and inaccurate, incomplete charts. Paying attention to your patients is always more important than the computer’s screen, which is why make sure you’re looking for charts that track vital signs over multiple encounters. A bonus in this case would be having a chart that automatically shows percent changes, indicating at a mere glance that your patient’s blood pressure is 10% lower than a month ago, hypothetically of course. Also, look for a voice recognition feature to speed things up.
An EMR that knows the order of operations and helps guide users through them is equally important for smooth running. Not only can it save time for current users but also help in terms of training time for new ones.
The ability to print and transmit prescriptions electronically speeds up the process and also makes patient care more efficient CureMD PMS. While we’re at it, try looking for a feature that brings you immediate and automatic notifications of potential drug allergies and interactions.
Do not fall for software that does not integrate with external laboratories and institutions. The ability to electronically monitor information and integrate it with charts is one that will give your practice the edge to go the extra mile. When talking to a representative, talk on:
Two-way communication with labs
Easy access to information/research on lab results
The only thing better than serving patients, is the idea of patients serving themselves. With a patient portal integrated in your EHR, patients will be able to have access to the following:
- Recent physician visits
- Discharge summaries
- Medications/ Lab results
- Forms for download
- Educational materials
Patients access will in return reduce your work load. Also, securing e-mail exchange with providers, prescribing refill request form, scheduling appointments and monitoring benefits, coverage checks and payments will become easier if your software provides you with additional functionality.
A good EHR will help you improve patient care and practice management. The pointers mentioned above should get you through the ultimate practice management software shopping experience.