Request...




EMR-EHRS Blog

Check out our blog for the latest news and commentary in the EMR/EHR world.

Archive for the ‘EHR Software’ Category

What Role Do EHRs Play in Lab Management?

Thursday, July 11th, 2024
EHR for labs

Electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic medical records (EMRs) are digital solutions that allow healthcare providers to store, manage, and share patient information securely. But did you know that these technologies can also optimize laboratory management? 

One key advantage of EHRs is their ability to integrate with various clinical systems, including laboratory management systems. This integration enables seamless transmission of lab test orders and results between healthcare providers and laboratories.

While this integration eliminates the need for manual entry and reduces the risk of errors, few healthcare providers use these digital tools with their lab platforms. Such slow adoption represents considerable wasted opportunities when sharing lab information, flagging abnormal results, and facilitating timely follow-up actions.   

Understanding the critical role of EHRs in lab management can transform a clinic into a safer and more efficient healthcare facility.

Say Goodbye to Lab Chaos

Book a Free Demo

Importance of Lab Management in Healthcare

Many laboratories are facing difficulties due to understaffing and outdated equipment. The laboratory technologists cannot keep up with the workload, which leads to delays in processing test orders and analyzing samples. These issues put patients’ health at risk, as they may not receive the necessary intervention due to the longer wait times.

Consequently, healthcare institutions must ensure efficient laboratory management. This standard will enable them to provide high-quality service to their patients. Here is a breakdown of impacted practice points:

Patient Care: Clinical laboratory tests play a vital role in diagnosing, treating, and monitoring patient’s health conditions. Accurate test results are essential for providing quality patient care and making informed clinical decisions.

Patient Safety: Proper laboratory operations management, quality assurance, and regulatory compliance are essential for ensuring the reliability of test results and safeguarding the patient’s safety.

Efficiency and Productivity: An EMR with strong lab management features, coupled with effective lab management practices, helps optimize workflow processes, resource utilization, and personnel productivity, resulting in efficient and cost-effective laboratory operations.

Compliance and Risk Management: Compliance with regulatory requirements and accreditation standards minimizes the risk of legal penalties and reputational damage to healthcare practices.

Research and Innovation: Well-managed laboratories can contribute to research efforts, innovation, and development of new diagnostic tests and treatments, ultimately advancing healthcare delivery and improving patient outcomes.

Need to boost your lab management? Our experts can help you learn how the EHR-and-lab system combo can improve things. Let’s chat today.

Integration of EHRs and Lab Management

At the outset, lab management may only require organizing test results and other lab data. However, healthcare providers and lab technicians also implement a secure EHR system, facilitating such functions: 

  • Test Ordering: Providers can electronically order lab tests directly within the EHR platform, eliminating the need for paper requisitions. 
  • Results Reporting: Once laboratory tests are completed, the laboratory information systems (LIS) swiftly transmit the test results to the EHR software, specifically integrating lab data into the patient’s electronic record. 
  • Result Alerts and Notifications: Similarly, EHR alerts and notifications are handy for critical or abnormal test results that require immediate intervention by healthcare providers. 
  • Decision Support: EHRs with decision-support tools can help providers interpret laboratory test results and recommend appropriate follow-up actions.
  • Billing and Coding: Some EHRs automate laboratory test coding and billing processes, making accurate documentation of test services easier and payer reimbursement faster.
  • Trend Analysis: Viewing historical test results in the electronic record allows providers to monitor trends and track patient health status. 

To facilitate the functions mentioned above, providers and lab techs need to focus on the common integration points between EHRs and lab management systems, including:

Health Level Seven (HL7) Interfaces: EHRs and LIS often integrate via the HL7 interface to transmit laboratory orders and results seamlessly.

Single Sign-On (SSO): This integration allows healthcare providers to access both systems using a single set of credentials, enhancing user experience and workflow efficiency.

Bi-Directional Data Exchange: EHR-LIS integration enables real-time communication between systems, which means that updates made in either system are reflected accurately in both.

Laboratory Test Catalog Integration: EHRs often integrate with LIS to access and display the laboratory test catalog, including test names, descriptions, codes, and specimen requirements. 

Data Mapping and Mapping Tables: This capability maintains consistent terminology and format so providers and lab professionals can facilitate the accurate transmission of lab orders and results between systems.

Benefits of Using EHRs in Lab Management

EHR and lab management

At 1st Providers Choice, we recognize that healthcare practices need essential features to help them leverage EHRs and lab system integrations. These capabilities help deliver the following benefits:

Improvements in Efficiency

Our EHR platform streamlines lab workflows and processes by automatically creating lab orders based on the patient’s diagnosis and making lab orders effortless. This automation reduces manual entry errors, minimizes staff burden, and accelerates ordering.

Accuracy and Data Integrity

Our EMR lab management software makes maintaining accurate records and minimizing errors easier. Our integrated EHR ensures seamless data transmission with laboratory systems by interfacing with over 300 labs nationwide (HL7 interfaces), minimizing errors and enhancing data integrity throughout testing.

Enhanced Communication

With 1st Providers Choice’s EHR, lab staff and providers communicate more effectively when receiving lab results as PDFs or discreet data directly into the EHR. These results are integrated into a flow sheet or graph for visual presentation, which supports collaborative decision-making.

Better Patient Care

EHRs contribute to better patient care outcomes by automatically flowing lab results to the 1st Providers Choice Patient Portal and notifying the patient to review them. This proactive approach empowers patients to stay informed about their health status and follow up with their providers, potentially avoiding unnecessary calls to the office.

Revenue Generation

Our EHR supports automated reminders to ensure patients don’t miss recommended labs, contributing to revenue generation for the practice. Integrated practice management systems like IMS manage the patient’s health maintenance, prompting when labs are due and encouraging patients to schedule appointments. 

Takeaway

In today’s healthcare landscape, EHRs are more than just digital repositories for patient data—they are transformative tools that can revolutionize lab management. By seamlessly integrating with laboratory information systems, EHRs streamline workflows, reduce errors, and improve communication among healthcare professionals. 

Tap Into Our Expertise 

The 1st Providers Choice EHR offers automated lab orders, real-time result notifications, and advanced data integrity. Our EHR lab management software helps healthcare providers optimize their laboratory operations, provide better patient care, and boost revenue generation. 

To unlock the full potential of EHRs in lab management, call (480) 782-1116 today. With over 40 years of trusted service and recognition by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2010, 1st Providers Choice is confident in providing your practice with an integrated EHR that can transform healthcare delivery and ensure a healthier future for your patients. 

Ready to Revolutionize Your Lab Operations?

Schedule Your Free Demo Now!

Key Features to Look for in an EHR for Multi-Specialty Clinics

Thursday, May 30th, 2024
multi-specialty EHR

Imagine a patient struggling with sleep due to breathing issues, seeking a diagnosis that might require the expertise of both pulmonologists and sleep specialists. Multi-specialty clinics make this journey seamless, offering coordinated care under one roof.

The patient could start by seeing the pulmonologist, who records the symptoms and visit notes in their EHR. During the appointment, the pulmonologist might decide to refer the patient to a sleep medicine specialist and order a sleep study. The sleep specialist would have instant and direct access to the information gathered by the pulmonologist. This convenience is one of the biggest advantages of multi-specialty clinics.

However, even in these clinics, the process might not always be perfect because not all EHR systems are created equal. Some systems are better suited for multi-specialty practices, so it’s essential to find the multi-specialty EHR software that best aligns with your clinic’s needs. 

Find the EHR that aligns with your clinic’s needs

Contact us today for personalized guidance!

Challenges in Managing Patient Data in Multi-Specialty Clinics

Each specialty generates detailed patient records, so managing this large volume of data is crucial while ensuring accuracy and accessibility. An EHR system can help effectively consolidate test results, treatment plans, and follow-up notes from multiple specialties.

Also, different specialties use specific terminologies, coding systems, and clinical protocols. Harmonizing these within a single multi-specialty EHR system requires advanced customization to ensure that each specialty can operate efficiently without compromising the usability of the shared records.

Need for Coordinated Care

Patients often require coordinated care plans involving multiple specialties. For example, a patient with a chronic respiratory condition might need care from a pulmonologist, a sleep specialist, and a physical therapist. Your EHR system should be able to facilitate seamless integration of these care plans to avoid conflicting treatments and ensure comprehensive care.

Lastly, efficient scheduling is essential to manage appointments across various specialties without overlaps or excessive wait times. The EHR software should offer advanced scheduling tools that coordinate appointments based on specialists’ availability.

Essential Features of Multi-Specialty EHRs

Electronic health records and electronic medical records (EMRs) provide numerous benefits to clinics. However, for multi-specialty clinics where coordinated patient care is a focal point, specialists rave for a slightly different set of multi-specialty EMR software features.    

Case management should be a top feature on your checklist. Clinics use this tool to efficiently track and manage patient care across multiple specialties. With case management, you can maintain a detailed log of all patient visits across various specialties, including the date and time, the specialty consulted, the clinician involved, and the purpose of the visit.

Each visit is summarized within the EHR, providing a snapshot of the patient’s condition, diagnosis, and treatment during that visit. This ensures that all relevant patient information is easily accessible for future reference.

Many Specialties, More Features

While we already discussed the amazing benefits that a proper case management module could provide, that’s far from the only feature that you should be on the lookout for in your multi-specialty EMR software:

1. Clinical Documentation

EMR and EHR systems facilitate communication and continuity of care by storing detailed patient information, including medical histories, test results, treatment plans, and ongoing care notes from various specialties. 

2. Patient Registration and Scheduling

When patients visit the clinic first, their personal information, insurance, and medical history are entered into the system. The EMR system allows staff to schedule, reschedule, and manage appointments across multiple specialties, ensuring no conflicts.

3. Interoperability 

EHRs in multi-specialty clinics are often interoperable with other healthcare systems and laboratories, allowing seamless sharing of diagnostic results, referrals, and medical records critical for making informed decisions during consultations and treatments.

4. Specialty-Specific Templates

EHR systems offer specialty-specific templates and tools to streamline clinic documentation. For example, physical therapists use tools to document rehabilitation progress, speech therapists have templates for speech and language assessments, and occupational therapists utilize templates for daily living skills evaluations.

6. Analytics and Reporting

An EHR software provides powerful analytics tools to analyze patient data, which is valuable for improving patient care, managing resources, and meeting regulatory requirements. This platform also generates reports required for compliance with healthcare regulations, such as Meaningful Use and MACRA.

7. Billing and Claims Management

A built-in multi-specialty billing software allows EHRs to streamline billing processes by combining the specialties’ billing and coding systems. This feature ensures accurate coding for diverse services provided across specialties and efficient claims management.

Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Choosing an EHR

EHR for clinics

As a multi-specialty clinic, you can choose an EHR system that enhances efficiency and improves patient care if you know the common pitfalls of EHR selection and take proactive steps to address them. 

1. Overlooking Customization

It’s important to be cautious of healthcare documentation systems that adopt a one-size-fits-all approach. An EHR system that you can’t tailor to accommodate your specialties’ unique workflows and requirements can potentially hinder efficiency.

2. Ignoring User Feedback 

An EHR system that is not user-friendly can lead to frustration and decreased productivity among clinicians and staff. Prioritize systems with intuitive interfaces and workflows. Consider feedback from clinicians and administrative staff to check if the platform aligns with your daily needs and challenges.

3. Failing to Plan for Implementation

A poorly managed implementation process can disrupt clinic operations and lead to significant downtime. Develop a complete implementation plan that includes timelines, responsibilities, and contingency plans. Ensure the EHR vendor provides robust support during and after implementation.

Benefits of Investing in a High-Quality EHR System

Investing in a high-quality EHR system offers multi-specialty clinics significant returns on investment through:

Improved Billing: Seamless integration with billing systems minimizes administrative overhead and reduces the time spent on billing-related tasks, allowing staff to focus on patient care.

Streamlined Workflows: Efficient sharing of patient information among different specialties improves coordination and reduces delays.

Cost Savings: An EHR system provides a comprehensive view of patient history and previous tests, helping avoid redundant tests and procedures and reducing unnecessary expenses.

Enhanced Data Management: A centralized electronic system ensures that all patient data is easily accessible to authorized personnel, improving information accuracy and reducing the risk of data loss.

Better Health Outcomes: EHR systems can track and flag critical health metrics, enabling providers to intervene early and manage chronic conditions more effectively.

Takeaway

EHR systems for clinics

A robust EHR system unifies clinical, administrative, and financial operations. Multi-specialty clinics that invest in these integrated platforms benefit from enhanced care coordination, which ensures long-term success and paves the way for delivering exceptional patient care.

Tap Into Our Expertise

Ready to streamline your multi-specialty clinic’s operations? 1st Providers Choice offers customized EMR systems with built-in templates for over 30 specialties, advanced scheduling tools, and comprehensive practice management. 

For over 40 years, we’ve been the trusted partner for multi-specialty clinics looking to improve efficiency and patient care. Contact us for a free quote or schedule a demo to see our system in action. 

How To Choose a Certified EHR for Your Cardiology Practice

Friday, March 22nd, 2024
cardiology practice

Physicians and administrators recognize the benefits of incorporating intuitive electronic health record (EHR) systems into cardiology practices. You and the rest of your staff want an EHR that doesn’t make your heart race due to stress, right? Like you, many other clinics struggle daily with their current cardiology EHR platform. 

Some facilities fail to involve key stakeholders and consider their interests while implementing such systems. Others overlook their clinical, administrative, or billing workflows when selecting a cardiology EHR software

If you’re currently deciding which certified EHR to use or considering switching to a better one, this guide is here to assist you. It will help you identify the cardiology-specific workflows that can benefit from EHRs. Additionally, we provide a practical checklist that includes the essential features, helping cardiology practices like yours to maximize the tool in your daily operations.

Demystifying Certified EHRs

Like most healthcare practices, cardiology clinics handle sensitive healthcare data and must comply with regulatory standards. To meet these requirements, the best option for cardiology clinics is to use a certified EHR system. 

A certified cardiology EHR software is a platform that meets Meaningful Use requirements, is certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology-Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB), and supports compliance with regulations such as HITECH and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Assessing Your Cardiology Practice’s Needs

When choosing a certified EHR, it’s crucial to consider stakeholders’ feedback in your practice. To make an informed decision, it is recommended to involve the following individuals in the selection process:

  • Cardiologists or physicians
  • Practice administrators
  • IT specialists 
  • Compliance officers
  • Administrative staff

Each member plays a critical role in integrating EHRs. Some members may use electronic medical records (EMRs) for specific tasks, while others may be primary users who rely on the system heavily. Collaborating with crucial members ensures that their feedback is taken into consideration. 

Understanding workflow and practice requirements

Integrating an EHR into the following workflows allows cardiology practices to improve efficiency and clinical outcomes while complying with regulatory requirements.

Patient Registration and Check-In

Electronic clinical records facilitate efficient registration and check-in by capturing insurance information, medical history, and consent forms. Patients can complete registration forms online or through self-service kiosks, reducing paperwork for staff.

Order Management

Cardiology EMR software supports the electronic ordering of diagnostic tests, imaging studies, medications, and procedures from the patient’s chart. Integration with laboratory and imaging systems allows for seamless transmission of orders and results.

Clinical Decision Support

Digital health platforms provide clinical decision support tools such as drug-drug interaction alerts, allergy checks, and evidence-based guidelines tailored to cardiology practice. These tools help providers improve patient safety and adhere to clinical protocols.

Revenue Cycle Management

EHR systems streamline billing and revenue cycle management processes by capturing chargeable services and documenting medical necessity. Cardiology EHR billers need an EHR that can guarantee compliance with regulatory requirements such as HIPAA and Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

Clinical Documentation

Advanced software systems enable cardiologists and providers to create and access EMRs efficiently. Cardiology-specific templates and structured data entry tools help streamline the documentation of patient encounters.

Medication Management

EHRs offer features for electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) of medications, including dosage, frequency, route, and refills. Integration with pharmacy systems enables real-time access to medication history, formulary information, and medication reconciliation.

Quality Reporting

Digital medical records generate reports and analytics on population health metrics relevant to cardiology practices. Data aggregation, analysis, and reporting capabilities support participation in quality improvement initiatives, value-based care programs, and regulatory reporting requirements.

Identifying specific cardiology specialties

Different cardiology specialties and subspecialties have distinct documentation templates, diagnostic tools, billing codes, and quality measures that an accredited EHR system needs to support.

Examples of cardiology specialties and subspecialties include:

  • General cardiology
  • Interventional cardiology
  • Cardiac imaging
  • Pediatric cardiology

Evaluating patient volume and practice size

Understanding the volume of patients seen weekly, monthly, or annually helps determine the scalability and performance of the EHR solution. 

Similarly, the size of the practice, including the number of physicians, nurses, administrative staff, and support personnel, influences the complexity of EHR implementation. This covers training needs, workflow customization, and support requirements.

The Ultimate Cardiology EHR Checklist

Here’s a comprehensive list of cardiology-specific requirements to look for in your EHR:

ONC-Certified Features

A cardiology practice management solution that streamlines clinical workflows offers these tools:

  • Drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checks
  • Laboratory test results
  • Medication reconciliation
  • Patient-specific education resources
  • Automatic log-off

User Experience

Cardiologists and healthcare professionals need intuitive navigation, clear layouts, and efficient workflows to access patient information and document encounters seamlessly. Cardiology software systems with a well-designed user interface enhance productivity, reduce errors, and promote user adoption across the practice.

Data Security

A certified EHR system should incorporate robust security features, including role-based access controls, encryption mechanisms, and data encryption both in transit and at rest. These security measures safeguard patient data integrity, confidentiality, and privacy in compliance with  HIPAA.

Cost Considerations

Cost is critical when considering EHR systems for your cardiology practice. Certified EHR systems may have higher upfront costs due to the certification process and ongoing maintenance expenses. However, some EHR providers offer flexible payment options to help mitigate these costs. 

It’s important not to overlook the potential return on investment (ROI) and long-term benefits of implementing a certified EHR system.

Vendor Support

The EHR vendor should provide reliable technical support services, including helpdesk assistance, software updates, and system maintenance.

Additionally, the vendor should offer training programs and user manuals to empower cardiology staff with the skills needed to leverage the full capabilities of the EHR system efficiently.

Regulatory Compliance

Verify if the software has been certified in the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) to ensure its reliability and security.  If you are using Intelligent Medical Software (IMS), you can check the CHPL for certification information, which includes its 42 certification criteria and nine clinical quality measures.

Takeaway

When selecting an EHR system for cardiology practices, ensure it has ONC-certified features. Opt for a reliable software solution with a user-friendly interface, strong security features, and technical support. 

To get the most out of EHRs, practices should collaborate with key stakeholders to tailor the workflows to their specific needs effectively. 

Tap Into Our Expertise

Are you searching for a reliable cardiology EHR solution? Discover IMS, offering ONC-certified EHR and practice management solutions. Enjoy user-friendly interfaces, top-tier security, and focused customer support. 
Take advantage of the many benefits IMS offers. Call (480) 782-1116 or complete this form to improve your practice’s efficiency with a top-quality EHR system.

ICD-11 and Its Impact on Your EHR

Monday, March 11th, 2024
doctor explaining the diagnosis - ICD-11

Transitioning from ICD-9 to ICD-10 has presented practices with challenges, including temporary disruptions in workflow and productivity. To avoid repeating past hurdles, many practices are looking at ways to prepare for an ICD-11 transition despite lacking a set implementation date.

The new coding system introduces updated and expanded code sets. These features enable healthcare professionals to create more detailed patient charts covering diagnoses, procedures, and treatments.

The new codes improve coding accuracy, which, in turn, ensures proper reimbursement. In this blog, we look into the impact of ICD-11 on electronic health records (EHRs). Also, we outline actionable steps to help your practice prepare for a seamless transition into this new coding framework.

Understanding ICD-11

ICD-11 is short for the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. It was updated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and used by practices worldwide. ICD-11 is a standardized classification of diseases and related factors, which allows providers, coders, and billers to document and track health data.

The new coding system consists of alphanumeric codes. Each code corresponds to a specific diagnosis or medical condition. This structure facilitates uniformity and consistency in healthcare documentation and reporting.

The developers structure the new codes into chapters, sections, and categories. The latter is based on disease etiology, anatomy, and other factors. This structure allows codes to capture variations in disease manifestations and severity.

Besides primary diagnosis codes, ICD-11 includes codes for:

  • Secondary diagnoses
  • External causes of injury
  • Factors influencing health status

This coverage lets healthcare providers document relevant comorbidities, complications, and contributing factors. Medical coders and billers use ICD-11 in billing and reimbursement, while researchers apply it in epidemiological surveillance, health policy development, and research.

Differences between ICD-11 and ICD-10

ICD-11 and ICD-10 are classifications of diseases, but they differ in four aspects: 

Structure and Organization

  • ICD-11: The ICD-11 structure is more flexible and user-friendly compared to ICD-10. The coding system accommodates changes and updates through its modular structure. This means easier maintenance and adaptation to evolving healthcare needs.
  • ICD-10: The ICD-10 structure is more rigid and hierarchical. The developers organize codes into chapters, sections, and subsections. This makes it less adaptable and requires extensive updates to accommodate new health conditions.

Coding System

  • ICD-11: ICD-11 codes include more detailed codes compared to ICD-10. It also provides greater granularity in coding. This is valuable for more precise documentation of diseases, conditions, and health-related factors.
  • ICD-10: While ICD-10 provides a broad classification, it lacks the level of detail found in ICD-11. This can result in ambiguity when documenting certain health conditions.

Clinical Documentation and Coding

  • ICD-11: ICD-11 emphasizes the importance of clinical documentation. This system aims to improve coding accuracy and specificity through detailed documentation guidelines. It encourages providers to record patient diagnoses, procedures, and health encounters in depth.
  • ICD-10: The ICD-10 code requires thorough documentation but cannot always support this rule. Its structure and coding conventions limit the provider’s capability to do so.

Technology and Integration

  • ICD-11: The ICD Panel designed ICD-11 to be more compatible with modern technology. It offers support for interoperability with EHRs and health information systems. This means the new code makes it easier for providers to manage patient data.
  • ICD-10: Providers also use ICD-10 in EHRs and healthcare information systems. However, its older coding conventions present integration challenges for newer digital health technologies.

Impact of ICD-11 on EHR Systems

ICD-11 improves the providers’ level of specificity in documenting patient diagnoses. Adapting to these coding guidelines allows them to capture correct patient information. Furthermore, EHR providers must upgrade the software system to align with ICD-11’s detailed coding. 

Benefits and Challenges of Using ICD-11 in EHR

Implementing ICD-11 in EHR systems offers several benefits for practices. The coding system provides a standardized approach to capturing patient diagnoses and procedures. This leads to accurate clinical documentation and better patient outcomes.

Additionally, ICD-11 integration facilitates information exchange across healthcare settings. However, there are challenges associated with adopting ICD-11 in EHR systems. These hurdles include the following:

  • Time-consuming. Healthcare providers and staff will need training.
  • Resource-intensive. EHR systems need customization and upgrades to support ICD-11.
  • Technical challenges. Practices must ensure the compatibility between ICD-11 and the current EHR and other digital platforms.

Despite these challenges, the benefits of implementing ICD-11 outweigh the initial hurdles. EHR implementation and coding upgrades lead to efficient healthcare delivery.

Preparation for ICD-11 Transition

As the healthcare industry evolves, professionals must stay up-to-date with ICD-11. Here are some key points to remember to ensure your practice is ready for the coding update.

Training for Healthcare Providers, Coders, and Billers

Healthcare professionals need training to familiarize themselves with the new coding framework. These learning opportunities allow them to understand the system’s clinical documentation requirements. 

Coders’ training focuses on translating documentation into new codes. For billers, learning ICD-11 codes promotes the accurate processing of claims. Training and access to coding resources help professionals to be confident with ICD coding.

Upgrading EHR Systems to Support ICD-11

Practices work with their EHR vendors to upgrade their software to ICD-11. To align with the new coding structure, providers must update the following tools:

  • Code sets
  • Templates
  • Clinical decision support tools

Collaborating with vendors helps practices ensure complete ICD-11 integration into current workflows. They can perform testing and validation processes to check for coding accuracy.

Timeline for Implementation

Setting a clear timeline for applying ICD-11 is essential for healthcare organizations. This information allows clinics to plan and execute the transition. A standard timeline should cover the following:

  • Training sessions
  • System upgrades
  • Testing phases
  • Roll-out schedules

It is vital to allow enough time for staff to adapt to the new coding system. Practices must address any issues that may arise during the transition period. Providers, coders, and billers must stay informed on coding updates to adjust their workflows.

Takeaway

ICD-11 promises a more adaptable classification system compared to its predecessor, ICD-10. The new coding framework offers potential enhancements in coding accuracy and healthcare standards.

However, achieving a smooth transition requires collaborative efforts. By implementing robust planning strategies, practices can confidently navigate the transition while ensuring continued efficiency in clinical documentation and billing processes.

Choose the Top EMR/EHR Software

Discover the power of EMR-EHRs, your trusted partner in healthcare technology. Teaming up with 1st Providers Choice, we deliver cutting-edge EHR and practice management solutions tailored to meet medical coding standards. 

Our software ensures accurate claims processing and coding precision through testing and verification. Partner with us to improve your practice’s coding compliance and become ICD-11-ready. 

To learn how we can support your practice, contact us at (480)782-1116 or complete our form.

The Benefits of EHR Patient Appointment Reminders

Thursday, December 7th, 2023
ehr patient appointment reminders

Good health outcomes hinge on diligence and attention to detail. And because healthcare is often fast-paced and hectic, some secondary processes tend to get overlooked. That includes following up on patients’ appointments. 

Electronic health records (EHR) systems streamline your operations and reduce human workloads, allowing more opportunities to engage patients in their appointments. But that system can be even more efficient with just one feature—EHR-integrated automated appointment reminders.
                         
While appointment reminders have long been a part of healthcare, notifications, and alerts handled by your EHR itself are fairly new and nothing short of revolutionary. Automated alerts cut a significant amount of manual work while improving patient engagement.

In this blog, we break down what these reminders are all about, how they work, and why they’re rapidly becoming an integral part of modern healthcare systems.
                                      

Overview of Medical Appointment Reminders

Gone are the days when clinics relied on phone calls or postcards to remind patients about doctor visits. This process was time-consuming as it involved so much manual work, and as clinics started adopting new technology, it became obsolete. Now, providers have the option to use a standalone digital patient reminder software or an added feature they can integrate with their Electronic Health Records (EHR).

Once the medical software system acquires the necessary information, it sends reminders to patients about upcoming appointments, medication intakes, or essential health check-ups. Based on the clinic’s preferences, the system can schedule the reminders days, hours, or even minutes before the visit.

Patient appointment reminders via text offer a direct and accessible way to reach clients. Automated phone call patient appointment reminders are particularly useful for individuals who prefer or require auditory communication. 

Emailed patient appointment reminders, on the other hand, provide a detailed and convenient option for people who prefer to receive their notifications through email. This method allows for more comprehensive messages and can include additional information, such as clinic directions or appointment preparation instructions.

These alerts are also interactive, allowing patients to confirm, reschedule, or cancel appointments with a click. Most importantly, automated patient appointment reminders significantly reduce human error, ensuring that no scheduled visit gets overlooked.

The Benefits of Patient Appointment Reminders

When sending EHR alerts and reminders gets offloaded to the EHR system, the clinic’s staff will have more time to focus on patient care rather than chasing down confirmations. On top of streamlining administrative work, this automated system brings a variety of advantages, such as:

1. Better Patient Compliance

It’s easy for appointments to slip a patient’s mind. With digital and automated patient reminders, they are more likely to remember, prepare for, and attend their scheduled check-up. Timely and eye-catching reminders ensure they don’t miss crucial health interventions.

2. Improved Time and Cost Efficiency for Healthcare Providers

While there’s initial investment in setting up patient reminder systems, it’s more cost-effective in the long run (Rawlinson, 2022, p. 13–17). It reduces the need for staff hours dedicated to manual reminders and decreases losses from missed appointments.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

3. Reduction in No-Shows

Steady patient attendance directly reduces no-shows and provides a reliable revenue stream for clinics, preventing financial losses from missed appointments. Timely cancellations enable clinics to reschedule waitlisted patients, enhancing overall efficiency. Furthermore, predictable patient attendance allows for optimal schedule management.

4. Enhanced Patient Experience

Patient appointment reminders provide a convenient way for patients to track their medical appointments, making their experience with the clinic much more interactive. Many reminder systems also allow for the customization of messages, enabling clinics to add a personal touch to their communications. This can go a long way toward strengthening patient-provider relationships.

5. Improved Healthcare Outcomes

For patients with chronic health conditions or those undergoing long-term treatment or medication, these reminders improve continuity of care. They serve as crucial prompts to attend follow-up appointments, take prescribed medications, and adhere to treatment plans, leading to better health outcomes.

6. Fewer Errors

Traditional methods of reminding patients can be inconsistent due to human errors, like overlooking an upcoming patient visit or dialing the wrong number. Digital patient reminder systems ensure that alerts are sent out on time to the correct recipients, contributing to the overall effectiveness and reliability of patient communication.

7. Stronger Patient-Provider Relationship

Automated patient appointment reminders help build trust between the patient and the healthcare provider. These tools also simplify rescheduling or canceling appointments, ensuring clear communication and maintaining a positive relationship.

Patient Reminder System Features to Look For                                                                                                           

Choosing the right system among the crowd can be overwhelming as the market becomes more saturated with various EHR software products. To narrow down the best choices, it’s vital to know which features to look for.

Multichannel Notifications

In an age of diverse communication tools, patient reminder systems should offer text messages, emails, automated voice calls, and even app notifications to cater to patients’ varied preferences. Some patients prefer SMS over emails, while some are more responsive to calls. The system should prioritize the patient’s preferred communication channel to maximize engagement.

Interactive Voice Reminders (IVR)

On top of its ability to send out reminders, the system should allow patients to confirm, cancel, or reschedule their appointments. Any patient response should immediately reflect on the system, notifying the administrative team and updating the appointment schedule accordingly.

Integration With Existing Systems

A patient reminder system that easily integrates with existing Electronic Health Record (EHR) platforms ensures patient data flows smoothly, reducing manual data entry errors. In addition, the ability to connect with other software tools, such as billing systems or patient feedback platforms, can further automate operations beyond appointment reminders.

Customization

Every clinic or healthcare provider has a unique patient demographic and operational style. The system should enable users to create customized messages that resonate with the patient base and align with the clinic’s branding and tone. Setting reminders in a particular language and specific intervals (a week before, a day earlier, an hour before, etc.) ensures that patients receive notifications at the most effective times.

Analytics and Reporting

Access to data such as delivery success rates, patient response rates, and no-show reductions can provide invaluable insights into the system’s effectiveness. Over time, spotting trends in patient behavior (like frequent reschedules or preferred communication channels) can help optimize strategies and decision-making.

Data Security 

Appointment reminders for patients must adhere to HIPAA standards to ensure data privacy and protection. Strong encryption protocols, along with regular data backups, ensure that patient information remains secure and retrievable.

User-Friendly Interface

The platform should be easy to navigate, even for non-tech-savvy staff. This feature ensures quicker adoption and fewer operational hiccups. A comprehensive help guide, tutorials, and responsive customer support can ease the implementation and help address any transitionary challenges.

Key Takeaway

In an era where every industry is harnessing the power of digital technology, healthcare shouldn’t be left behind. It’s high time that providers adopt automated patient appointment reminders and future-proof their practice. Reminders may seem trivial, but in the bigger picture, they are indispensable tools that significantly impact healthcare organizations. With automation,  what was once a manual and time-consuming process is now a system that does all the work so clinics can focus on what they do best—fostering a culture of patient-centric care.

Choose the Top EMR/EHR Software

Efficiently streamline your healthcare operations with our advanced EHR and EMR solutions, tailored to meet the specific needs of your practice.

Schedule a demo or contact us through the contact form for more personalized information. Let’s work together to find the best software for your practice!

Do you have a favorite EHR AND EMR software add-on? Feel free to comment below!

EHRs & Telemedicine: The Benefits of Integration

Thursday, December 7th, 2023
ehr telemedicine integration

Telehealth facilitates remote connection between patients and healthcare providers when face-to-face consultations aren’t feasible or necessary. This method encompasses both synchronous (real-time) interactions and asynchronous tools. The latter uses a store-and-forward system, through which information is exchanged later rather than in real-time.

Although these healthcare interactions have been around for a while, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly accelerated the use of these technologies, ensuring continued access to essential health services.

To stay competitive, keeping up with the latest developments in modern healthcare is paramount. Read on and see why healthcare providers need telehealth and EHR integrations in today’s healthcare landscape. 

Telemedicine in Modern Healthcare

According to the CDC, the most notable surge in virtual visits during the pandemic was in the 13th week of surveillance, growing by 154%. Telehealth utilization among Medicare beneficiaries also increased 63-fold during the pandemic. 

Despite a decline in telehealth usage since its peak, healthcare providers and patients continue to recognize its importance in enhancing healthcare delivery and accessibility.

Patients Continue to Rely on Telehealth

The J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Telehealth Satisfaction Study reveals a growing preference among consumers for telehealth over traditional in-person appointments for routine healthcare needs, particularly: 

  • Prescription refills
  • Medical result discussions
  • Assessments of medication options

An overwhelming 94% of those who have used telehealth express willingness to continue using it for medical services in the future. The National Survey Trends in Telehealth Utilization and Modality (2021 to 2022) also indicates consistent telehealth usage, with a slight inclination towards video-based services over audio-only options. 

Three main factors drive preference toward telehealth: 

  • Convenience
  • Ability to receive care quickly 
  • Ease of obtaining health information

Providers Agree That Telehealth Is Integral to Patient Care

In general, providers consider telehealth to be a valuable part of healthcare. AMA’s Telehealth Survey of 2021 revealed these statistics:

  • 85% of physicians offer telehealth at present. Those reporting a drop in use combine face-to-face and virtual care. 
  • 93% of those using telehealth conduct real-time video sessions with patients, while 69% use audio sessions.
  • Over 56% of respondents plan to increase telehealth usage in their practices. Among respondents, 54.2% reported that telehealth had a positive impact on their work satisfaction.
  • Approximately 60% of clinicians agree that telehealth allows them to offer high-quality care.
  • Almost half of respondents reported a decrease in health care costs as a result of telehealth. 

To optimize telehealth, physicians, practices, and health systems must address the following areas:

  • Providing equitable access to underserved populations and communities
  • Enhancing efficiency in telehealth workflows
  • Adopting a system with EHR and telehealth integration

Key Advantages of EHR and Telehealth Integration

Below are the benefits of an integrated EHR and telehealth system that address various aspects of patient care and healthcare management.

1. Higher Quality of Care

Integrating telehealth with EHRs enables healthcare providers to access complete, up-to-date patient records during virtual consultations. This comprehensive view of the patient’s medical history, including past diagnoses, treatments, and medications, allows for more accurate assessments, personalized care plans, and informed decision-making.

2. Increased Accessibility and Convenience for Patients

EHR with telehealth makes healthcare more accessible, especially for patients with mobility issues or in remote areas. Patients receive quality care at home, which reduces travel and wait times. This mainly benefits patients with chronic conditions requiring regular monitoring and consultation.

3. Improved Coordination of Care

EHR and telehealth integration facilitates better coordination among different healthcare providers. With shared access to patient records, specialists, general practitioners, and other healthcare professionals collaborate more effectively, ensuring a coordinated approach to patient care.

4. Enhanced Patient Engagement and Satisfaction

Patients easily view their health records, track their progress, and communicate with their doctors through portals. This transparency and ease of access lead to higher patient engagement and satisfaction.

5. Streamlined Workflow for Healthcare Providers

Telehealth and EHR integration streamline administrative tasks for healthcare providers, automating many routine processes, such as appointment scheduling, billing, and record-keeping. This efficiency allows them to focus more on patient care over administrative duties.

6. Better Data Security and Compliance

The telehealth and EHR software combination often includes advanced security measures to protect sensitive patient data. Compliance with HIPAA regulations is also more manageable, as integrated systems are designed with these requirements in mind.

7. Support for Public Health Initiatives

Integrated EHR and telehealth systems enable the tracking of health trends, the management of disease outbreaks, and the facilitation of research and policy-making.

8. Improved Healthcare Outcomes

Access to patient data and improved care coordination lead to better health outcomes. Providers more effectively manage chronic diseases, respond to patient needs in real-time, and prevent complications through ongoing monitoring and early intervention. There’s evidence that telehealth has fewer emergency department (ED) visits, hospitalizations, and in-person visits than non-users.

Telehealth & EHR: Features of an Integrated System

A well-integrated telehealth and EHR system typically includes the following features:

1. Patient Health Records Access

This feature lets patients and healthcare providers view and manage medical records online. Patients easily see their medical history, test results, and other health information. This promotes patient engagement and a better understanding of their health conditions. For healthcare providers, it offers quick access to patient data for more informed decision-making.

2. Appointment Scheduling and Reminders

This EHR telemedicine tool simplifies the process of scheduling telehealth appointments. Patients can choose available slots and book appointments online. The system also sends automated reminders via text, email, or app notifications, reducing the likelihood of no-shows.

3. Remote Patient Monitoring

Your EHR must integrate data from wearable health devices or home monitoring equipment. This feature allows healthcare providers to continuously track patients’ vital signs, like heart rate, blood pressure, and glucose levels. These stats are vital in managing chronic conditions.

4. Prescription Management

A well-integrated telemedicine EHR software allows physicians to prescribe medications electronically. Patients can view their prescriptions, dosages, and instructions through their patient portal, ensuring they have clear information about their medications.

5. Billing and Insurance Integration

Enhance your billing process through automated coding tools and seamless connections with insurance providers. This integration minimizes administrative tasks and aids in efficient claims processing.

6. Clinical Decision Support

A high-quality EHR and telemedicine integration comes with a  tool that provides clinical guidelines, diagnostic assistance, and tailored treatment suggestions based on patient data. It ensures that the care patients receive is in line with the latest medical standards and best practices.

7. Customizable Patient Portals

Patients have access to a portal that enables them to view their health information, communicate with their doctors, and schedule appointments. These portals also include features like health trackers and customized health tips.

8. Data Analytics and Reporting 

These tools help identify health trends, evaluate treatment outcomes, and develop improved care plans. The data from your EHR is crucial for advancing quality improvement efforts and supporting research initiatives.

9. Automated Health Assessments and Questionnaires

Before their appointments, patients have the option to fill out health assessments and questionnaires online. By doing so, they offer healthcare providers timely insights into their health status, which facilitates more efficient and effective consultations. 

10. Secure Messaging

This feature provides a HIPAA-compliant platform for communication between patients and healthcare providers. It allows the secure exchange of messages, documents, and images, facilitating ongoing communication and follow-up care.

11. Interoperability and Compliance

This functionality guarantees that the system can interact and share data with other healthcare systems and databases. It ensures compliance with health data privacy regulations such as HIPAA, which is crucial for protecting patient data privacy and security. 

Choose the Top EHR and EMR Software

Combining EHRs with telemedicine is a major step in the digital transformation of healthcare. This integration offers numerous benefits that enhance medical care, improve patients’ health outcomes, and streamline healthcare delivery processes. 

By choosing our EMR/EHR solutions, healthcare institutions leverage the transformative power of telehealth, ensuring efficient, secure, and high-quality patient care. Schedule a demo or contact us through the contact form for more personalized information. Let’s work together to find the best Telemedicine EHR Software for your practice!

Do you have a favorite EHR and EMR add-on service? Feel free to comment below. 

Choosing the Right EHR Provider: Factors to Consider

Wednesday, November 8th, 2023
ehr in healthcare

Electronic Health Records (EHR) have revolutionized how medical practices manage patient information. With the transition from traditional paper-based records to digital systems, choosing the right EHR and EMR software has become a critical decision for healthcare organizations. 

The right EHR system streamlines workflows, enhances patient care, and improves overall efficiency. However, with numerous EHR providers and various healthcare EHR softwares available, making the right choice can be confusing.

Let’s walk you through all the factors you should consider when choosing the right EHR provider for your business needs.

The Role of EHR in the Healthcare System

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) software stores a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, treatments, medications, test results, and other healthcare-related information in a digital format. This electronic storage solution ensures portability, security, and immediate accessibility to authorized professionals. 

Healthcare providers can easily update, share, and integrate these records across different healthcare settings, guaranteeing continuity of care. Here are some  of EHR’s unique contributions to the healthcare industry:

  • Provides quick access to critical patient data (such as allergies), offering timely and effective emergency care.
  • Streamlines administrative tasks by reducing paperwork and errors, allowing staff to prioritize patient care
  • Facilitates consistent communication across healthcare settings, promoting coordinated care and effective teamwork.
  • Offers essential data that becomes instrumental in guiding clinical research, population health studies, and evidence-based decision-making, leading to improvements in overall healthcare delivery.
  • Comes with integrated patient portals that empower patients to be more involved in their healthcare journey, resulting in better adherence to treatment plans.
  • Helps maintain compliance with essential regulations regarding the safeguarding and privacy of patient data, like HIPAA.
  • Backs up digital records securely, ensuring data availability regardless of unforeseen circumstances.
  • Supports remote consultations and virtual care, making quality healthcare more accessible.

Understanding the Different Types of EHR Systems

Here’s a roundup of the different types of EHR systems available today, each listed with their advantages and disadvantages. 

1. Cloud-Based EHR Systems

Cloud-based solutions are one of the widely adopted types of EHR systems. They offer versatility and accessibility. Here are the key attributes of this system:

Pros:

  1. Accessibility

Accessible from anywhere, promoting remote work and telehealth.

  1. Cost-Efficiency

Reduced upfront costs, making it budget-friendly for healthcare practices.

  1. Low Ongoing Maintenance

The responsibility of software updates and maintenance typically rests with the EHR provider, alleviating the burden on your IT department. 

  1. Simple Implementation

With a streamlined setup and integration process, cloud-based EHRs minimize the hassle of transitioning to a digital system. It offers scalability, facilitating the expansion of your practice without necessitating major infrastructure overhauls.

Cons:

  1. Ongoing Costs

While cloud-based EHRs often entail lower upfront investments, they are accompanied by recurring monthly or annual subscription fees that accumulate over time.

  1. Data Security Concerns

Storing sensitive patient data off-site may raise apprehensions concerning data security. It is imperative to select a reputable vendor equipped with robust security measures.

  1. Dependence on External Storage

Reliance on off-site data storage carries the risk of data loss in case the EHR vendor discontinues its services.

  1. Potential for Performance Lag

The possibility of encountering delays or latency issues when accessing information affects the speed of data retrieval

2. On-Premises EHR Systems

An on-premises EHR system, in contrast, offers a more traditional approach to data management. Here are its distinguishing characteristics:

Pros:

  1. Data Control

With an on-premises software, you retain complete control over your data and the supporting hardware and software.

  1. One-Time Cost

On-premises systems require an initial upfront investment that results in system ownership rather than recurring subscription fees.

  1. Customization

With an on-premise EHR software, you can often customize it to match your practice’s specific needs.

Cons:

  1. High Initial Costs

Implementing on-premises hardware and software involves substantial upfront expenses, posing a hurdle for practices, particularly the smaller ones. 

  1. Maintenance Responsibility

In contrast to cloud-based systems, you are responsible for updates, maintenance, and system uptime for on-premises systems, which can strain your IT resources. Find a vendor who can also offer IT services

  1. Data Vulnerability

In the event of on-site accidents or disasters, there is a heightened risk of data damage or compromise, potentially resulting in the loss of critical healthcare information. Ensure the EHR vendor provides backup or retrieval capabilities. 

3. Specialty-Specific EHR Systems

Designed to meet the specific requirements of specialties such as cardiology, dermatology, or orthopedics, specialty-specific EHR systems offer the following:

Pros:

  1. Tailored Features

Specialty-specific EHRs arrive with features and templates specifically designed for a medical specialty’s unique workflows and requisites.

  1. Efficient Workflows

These systems streamline processes, empowering healthcare providers to focus on delivering specialized care.

Cons:

  1. Limited Scope

Specialty-specific EHRs may struggle to balance specialization and flexibility, especially in practices encompassing diverse specialties or those contemplating expanding into novel healthcare domains.

  1. Integration Challenges

If your practice necessitates collaboration with other specialties or healthcare providers, compatibility issues may surface when sharing patient information across disparate systems.

How to Choose the Right EHR Vendor or Provider?

The first step to choosing an EHR system is to assess your practice’s unique needs and specialization. Consider the following questions:

  1. What type of medical practice do you run?
  2. What are my specific requirements and goals? Follow the SMART goal-making process. 
  3. How many healthcare providers are in your practice?
  4. What is the current size of your practice and its scalability?
  5. Do you need remote access to patient records?
  6. Are there specific compliance requirements for your specialty?
  7. What is your budget for EHR and EMR software implementation and maintenance?

Answer these questions, and you’ll be able to narrow down your choices and determine which type of EHR system aligns best with your practice’s requirements.

You can look up information online, seek recommendations from other healthcare establishments, or refer to the Certified HIT Product List (CHPL), which offers a definitive and extensive catalog of EHRs and EHR modules that have undergone testing and certification. To check the vendor’s products, services, and reliability, ask for an RFI (Request for Information). HealthIT.gov offers tools such as the Vendor Meaningful Use Compare Tool and the Vendor Pricing Template to help you compare vendors.

Services: Providers vary in terms of their services and EHR and EMR software quality. Evaluate potential vendors based on their reputation, track record, and the features they offer. Look for providers with a history of successful EHR implementations in practices similar to yours.

Reliability: Consider the vendor’s uptime and system reliability. Downtime can disrupt your practice’s operations and patient care, so ensure the vendor has a strong track record of system availability.

8 Factors Your Practice Should Consider When Choosing Electronic Health Records (EHR) Software

The right EHR system significantly enhances patient care quality, streamlines administrative tasks, and ultimately contributes to the overall success of your healthcare organization. With the emergence of EHR in healthcare, considering these factors can help you arrive at the most informed decision for your medical practice:

1. Industry Experience

An EHR provider with a deep understanding of the unique challenges, regulations, and requirements within the healthcare landscape is more capable of producing custom solutions. Investigate the vendor’s reputation within the healthcare industry. Do they have positive reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers? Are they known for their commitment to data security and compliance?

2. User Experience

A user-friendly interface, intuitive navigation, and efficient workflows are vital to a positive user experience. An unintuitive system hinders productivity and potentially compromises patient care.

3. Customizability

A highly customizable EHR system allows you to personalize templates, forms, and workflows to align with your practice’s requirements. The ability to customize ensures that the EHR system integrates seamlessly into your existing processes

4. Compliance Protection

Compliance with healthcare regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), is an absolute requirement. Your EHR software should offer compliance protection features to safeguard patient data. The system must include data encryption, access controls, audit trails, and regular security updates.

5. Customer Support

Responsive support channels, timely issue resolution, and accessible training resources are crucial. Assess the provider’s commitment to long-term support, as your practice’s needs may evolve, requiring ongoing assistance and guidance.

6. Interoperability

Your chosen EHR system must have options to seamlessly integrate with other healthcare software and systems, such as laboratory information systems, billing software, and imaging interfaces. This interoperability ensures that patient data can flow effortlessly between systems, eliminating redundant data entry and ensuring patient records are accurate and complete.

7. Data Privacy

The best EHR practices offer robust data privacy measures, including encryption protocols, access controls, and disaster recovery plans. They prioritize data privacy and security, providing you with the confidence that patient information remains confidential and secure, even in the face of potential threats or emergencies.

8. Cost

Cost considerations extend beyond the initial implementation expenses. While upfront costs are significant, evaluating the total cost of ownership over the long term is equally vital. It includes ongoing subscription fees, maintenance costs, and miscellaneous expenses.

After carefully considering all these factors, you’ll be better positioned to choose the top EHR software for your practice. Make sure to request demonstrations and references from potential vendors to ensure their solutions align with your requirements.

Choose the Top EHR Software

Efficiently streamline your healthcare operations with our advanced EHR solutions, tailored to meet the specific needs of your practice.

Schedule a demo or contact us through the contact form for more personalized information. Let’s work together to find the best software for your practice!

Do you have a favorite EHR and EMR software add-on? Feel free to comment below!

The Role of EHR in Enhancing Care Coordination and Continuity

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023
care coordination

The coordination and continuity of patient care require proper collaboration with other healthcare teams in your medical practice. This collaboration involves the secure sharing of vital information, ensuring that your patients receive safer and more effective care.

A powerful tool that greatly facilitates organized and purpose-driven care is the electronic health record (EHR) system. According to a study, 75% of providers report that EHRs improve patient care, enhance disease detection, and reduce medical errors. This digital platform also facilitates the exchange of medical information between you and your fellow healthcare providers, promoting convenient and effective care coordination.

To gain a better understanding of the role EHRs play in the care continuum, let’s take a look at what the terms “care coordination” and “continuity of care” mean in today’s healthcare space. 

What Is Continuity of Care?

Continuity of care is a fundamental concept in healthcare that holds immense value for both providers and patients. It refers to the seamless and coordinated delivery of medical services to patients over time. In essence, it’s about maintaining consistent and uninterrupted care throughout a patient’s healthcare journey.

As a healthcare provider, you play an integral role in maintaining continuity of care for your patients. This involves establishing an ongoing relationship with patients, where you work collaboratively to manage their health in a holistic manner. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) states that continuity of care reduces mortality risks. They also added that it is a cooperative process between patients and doctors that aims to provide high-quality, cost-effective healthcare.

What Is Care Coordination?

Care coordination is the cornerstone of effective healthcare delivery, which requires concerted efforts from all members of the patient’s care team. Achieving optimal care coordination requires ensuring that each member of the healthcare team is well-informed, aware of the treatment plan, and aligned with it through intentional information sharing and collaboration.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) offers valuable insights into patient care coordination. According to their definition, successful coordination involves timely communication of a patient’s needs to the appropriate individuals. This is to ensure safe, appropriate, and effective care.

By incorporating care coordination practices into healthcare delivery strategies and EHR systems, you can improve quality of care and reduce the likelihood of errors that can disrupt the patient’s healthcare journey.

How EHR Systems Improve Care Coordination and Continuity of Care

It’s common for patients to interact with many different healthcare providers throughout their healthcare journey. However, these encounters might lead to fragmented perspectives on patient care. That’s why EHRs are designed to bridge the gaps and provide a centralized platform for collaboration. Here are the most common ways EHRs improve care coordination and continuity:

Data Sharing

If your practice uses an EHR system that is interoperable, you will be able to easily share patient information between different EHRs and healthcare providers. This enables care coordination at multiple levels throughout the patient’s journey. The sharing of electronic data eliminates lost documentation when changing practices, clinical errors resulting from missing information, and the need for faxing. All the data needed to treat the patient will be accessible within the EHR system, which allows the primary care provider, specialist, and other members of the patient’s care team to easily exchange actionable data at the point of care. Using an EHR can accelerate the coordination of care in your medical practice, leading to smoother and more effective patient treatments.

Patient Satisfaction

Patients are happier if they can access their care teams and medical records whenever the need arises. In this case, you must ensure your EHR system offers a patient-friendly portal and secure functionalities that encourage them to connect with you electronically.

EHRs help everyone involved in a patient’s treatment have the most current and accurate information for effective health decisions. This is critical in the following situations:

  • For Patients with Many Specialists: Some patients see different doctors in different places. By using EHRs, all these doctors will have access to the same information about their patients, ensuring that no critical detail in the patient’s health records is missed.
  • For Patients in Emergency Situations: When patients get care in urgent situations, like the emergency room, EHRs let the medical team quickly know about allergies, conditions, and other vital information.
  • For Patients Changing Care Settings: Moving between different care settings becomes smoother with EHRs. This is because EHRs provide the new doctor with immediate access to the patient’s medical history.

In short, EHRs allow a secure and seamless flow of information among different care providers by connecting all the aspects of a patient’s care journey. This comprehensive approach to data sharing and communication is at the heart of effective care coordination and continuity.

A Thorough Communication Process

Within an EHR system, digital tools, like patient portals, become valuable bridges for fostering clear and detailed communication between care teams and the patients they serve. By offering patient portals as a solution, you enable patients to interact directly and safely with you, especially if you are their primary care provider. They can ask about treatments, seek information, and access their medical records with confidentiality. Below are the benefits of allowing patients to connect with you through patient portals:

Strengthened Compliance: Patients are more likely to stick to their treatment plans when they can communicate their concerns and get clarifications directly from their care provider. This interactive approach enhances their well-being.

Heightened Satisfaction: Providing patients with a convenient avenue to ask questions and receive prompt responses demonstrates attentive care. This elevated level of service contributes to improved patient satisfaction and a positive healthcare experience.

Enhanced Health Outlook: Patients can achieve better health outcomes when they feel empowered to communicate with their providers. Clear communication prevents misunderstandings, promotes informed decisions, and ensures that patients follow their prescribed treatments diligently.

The use of patient portals extends beyond convenience – it empowers patients to actively take charge of their health. With these digital platforms, you can create a collaborative healthcare environment that benefits your patients and your organization.

Remote Care

The integration of your EHRs with telehealth ensures that patients can continue their healthcare journey without disruption. Follow-up appointments, consultations, and discussions are now accessible without in-person visits.

Telehealth tools in EHRs let specialists, primary care providers, nurses, and other clinical personnel contribute their insights to create comprehensive care plans that address all aspects of a patient’s health.

Furthermore, these integrated tools streamline communication between care providers, simplifying updates, patient data, and treatment plans. The result is a more coordinated and long-term care experience, where everyone works in harmony to contribute to the patient’s well-being.

In summary, EHR systems are critical to modern healthcare’s efforts to maintain continuity of care and improve care coordination. Sharing information, working together better, and making smart decisions about the patients’ health can be easier with these programs. As technology advances, you must utilize your EHR systems effectively to make sure every patient receives top-quality care from start to finish.

Choose the Top EMR/EHR Software 

Over the years, we have assisted medical practices with EHR/EMR selection, implementation, and software usage. We provide customized EMR/EHR software to meet your practice’s needs.

Schedule a demo or contact us through the contact form for more personalized information. Let’s work together to find the best software for your practice!

Do you have a favorite EHR add-on service? Feel free to comment below!

The Impact of EHR on Patient Care Outcomes: Exploring the Evidence

Thursday, August 24th, 2023

patient outcomes

It’s hard to deny the wide-ranging impact of electronic health record (EHR) systems on healthcare. They simplify your lives as healthcare providers by improving patient care and safety. A recent study found that over 75% of healthcare professionals agreed that EHRs can improve patient care.

Electronic health record systems help reduce or prevent medical errors by enhancing your capability to diagnose diseases. In this case, the importance of accurate documentation becomes apparent, especially in providing proper treatment.

As a healthcare provider, you can improve patient outcomes by ensuring your practice uses your EHR effectively. 

4 Key Ways EHRs Impact Patient Care Outcomes

Over the past decade, healthcare practices of all sizes and specialties have increasingly turned to medical software, including EHRs, to manage patients. As a healthcare provider, you may be aware of the growing popularity of EHR software. EHRs have many advantages, which we will talk about in this section.

Let’s explore how EHRs can contribute effectively to patient outcomes.

1. Comprehensive Patient Information at Your Fingertips

One of the most significant benefits of EHRs in healthcare is that you or your staff can instantly access a patient’s complete medical history. The days of sifting through piles of paperwork are over. With EHRs, you can quickly review a patient’s past diagnoses, treatment plans, allergies, medications, and lab results. This readily available comprehensive patient data empowers you to make informed decisions swiftly, leading to improved care outcomes.

Moreover, patient-centered records in EHRs focus on individual health needs and preferences. These systems consolidate data from multiple healthcare providers, specialists, and facilities to comprehensively view a patient’s medical history,thus minimizing the chances of overlooking vital information or potential health risks.

These two aspects contribute to more effective and efficient healthcare delivery, better management of chronic conditions, and fewer medical errors — all of which contribute to improved patient care outcomes.

2. Patient Portals for Better Accessibility

Integrating a patient portal into EHRs improves patient engagement by enabling them to access their health records. It allows patients to actively participate in their health management by viewing lab results, upcoming appointments, and medication information.

Patient portals also facilitate secure and direct communication between patients and healthcare providers. They can send messages, ask questions, and seek clarifications, while you can offer guidance and support remotely. This frequent interaction creates a stronger patient-provider relationship. By improving accessibility, they are more likely to stay compliant with their treatment plans and achieve better health outcomes.

3. A Data-Driven Approach for Disease Detection

When you analyze EHR data correctly, it assists you in providing valuable insight into patient populations and treatment effectiveness. To stay competitive, you must use advanced analytics tools to identify trends, monitor patients’ progress, and predict potential health risks.

For example, monitoring chronic disease management over time helps identify patterns and adjust treatment plans accordingly. Decision-making based on data is also helpful in detecting potential health issues early, allowing for timely interventions that prevent certain conditions from progressing.

EHRs contribute to evidence-based medicine by providing access to vast medical research resources and best practices. As a healthcare provider, you can improve patient outcomes by aligning your treatment decisions with the latest scientific research.

4. Time-Saving E-prescribing Software

EHRs can significantly enhance treatment and diagnosis accuracy as healthcare providers while offering time-saving benefits. These systems make appointment scheduling and office visits faster without sacrificing personalized patient care so that you can see more patients daily.

EHRs come with built-in templates that help document common patient issues. If you want, you can customize the templates to suit your specific specialty.

Furthermore, e-prescribing software in EHRs has become standard practice in healthcare organizations and various medical specialties. This streamlined process reduces abuse and addiction rates, particularly with controlled substances like opioids. You can also send prescriptions directly to the pharmacy from the point of care, with automatic checks for any potential drug-to-drug or drug-to-allergy interactions based on a patient’s current medications and diagnosis. Thus, your patients receive treatment that is safer and more effective.

Read a recent study on EHR adoption and development in the United States.

Assess and Improve the Use of EHRs

EHRs offer valuable data and insights to assess and enhance patient outcomes. By utilizing EHRs, you can measure, monitor, and report on patient care quality, safety, and satisfaction. You can identify areas for improvement, implement changes, and gauge their impact. Use relevant indicators for evaluating and improving EHR use and outcomes, such as timeliness, accuracy, completeness, usability, accessibility, and satisfaction.

Additionally, leverage EHR data to compare performance across providers, settings, or patient populations. This process identifies best practices and areas for improvement. EHR data also supports EHR quality improvement initiatives, such as audits, feedback, and education, while informing policy development, planning, and advocacy efforts. Importantly, seek input from patients and providers on their experiences with EHR use and outcomes. Participate in EHR research or evaluation studies for continuous growth.

Choose the Top EHR Software 

As per a report from Grand View Research, the worldwide EHR market reached a value of $28.1 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach $38.5 billion by 2030, with a steady compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4%. This substantial expansion in the EHR market signifies the increasing recognition of the value and benefits EHR systems bring to the healthcare industry. It also illustrates their significant role in improving patient care outcomes and healthcare management.

If you need assistance with software integration into your EHR systems, we can help! Stay up-to-date on technological advancements to ensure success in your medical practice.

Over the years, we have assisted medical practices with EHR/EMR selection, implementation, and software usage. We provide customized EMR/EHR software to meet your practice’s needs.

Schedule a demo or contact us through the contact form for more personalized information. Let’s work together to find the best software for your practice!

Do you have a favorite EHR add-on service? Feel free to comment below!

Data Security and Privacy in EHRs: Ensuring Confidentiality and Compliance

Monday, July 24th, 2023
ehr privacy and security

Every healthcare provider understands the heavy burden of maintaining the privacy, confidentiality, and security of health information. However, with the rising cyberattacks on medical institutions, your responsibility as a provider to protect patient data has never been more crucial.

Healthcare remains one of the most vulnerable sectors to cybercrime, with healthcare organizations suffering an average of 1,410 weekly cyberattacks in 2022—an 86% increase from 2021.

It is, therefore, vital to implement strong security measures to prevent unauthorized access, breaches, and misuse of sensitive information. These measures involve employing encryption and authentication protocols and conducting regular security audits. 

By emphasizing the importance of data security in electronic health records (EHRs), you instill confidence in patients and foster responsible data handling within your organization. Prioritizing privacy safeguards strengthens your relationships with patients, upholds ethical obligations, and maintains trust. 

This blog will discuss how you can leverage your EHR software to beef up your practice’s cybersecurity infrastructure.

Why Is EHR Better Than Paper Records?

Electronic health records offer more control over privacy, confidentiality, and security than traditional paper-based records. Paper files are prone to getting lost or misplaced

If you unconsciously leave paper files out in the open, unauthorized individuals may gain access to sensitive information that might compromise the safety of your patients. The lack of built-in security features and tools makes paper records less secure in providing data security and privacy. 

Alternatively, if you decide to use an EHR instead of paper records, you must take certain precautions in advance. As one example, investing in an EHR also involves implementing security measures. This process is to ensure the confidentiality of patient health information. Remember: Patients should feel secure about their personal information and be able to control who has access to it.

5 Best EHR Security Measures for Protecting Data Privacy and Security

Recent studies state that hospitals account for 30% of all major data breaches in the healthcare sector. A significant majority of healthcare organizations, precisely 51%, reported a rise in data breaches since 2019. In the initial six months of 2022, a total of 337 breaches occurred, impacting a substantial number of individuals—approximately 19,992,810 people.

There is no denying that your healthcare organization is at risk from a wide range of cybersecurity threats. Unfortunately, these threats can devastate your medical practice if you do not address them beforehand.

With these EHR privacy and security features, you can keep your practice safe and protect your patient’s confidential information.

1. Secure Data with Encryption

Healthcare data encryption protects sensitive medical information. Since EHRs, mobile devices, and email transmissions of protected health information (PHI) have increased rapidly, encryption has become more necessary.

Additional Benefits of EHR Data Encryption:

  • Data encryption helps you comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  (HIPAA) more easily.
  • It makes your data more secure, whether you send or store it.
  • When data is encrypted, it remains intact. If a hacker tries to alter it during transmission, the recipient will know it has been tampered with.
  • It keeps your private and personal information safe from theft.
  • Encryption also protects your data when you use different devices. 
  • Encryption can save you money from fines and other costly legal repercussions that could stem from data breaches. 

Meanwhile, a paper record is easily accessible — anyone can read it, transcribe details, make a copy, or scan or fax the information. With an EHR, you can secure patient data and privacy using EHRs robust encryption methods

2. Ensure Password Protection

When it comes to securing patient records, password protection is crucial. It’s not just about creating strong passwords with numbers and letters. A reliable EHR system should include the following measures:

  • Lockout capabilities if someone enters the wrong password more than five times.
  • Passwords should mix letters, numbers, capitalization, and special characters to make them harder to guess.
  • Mandatory password resets at regular intervals.
  • User validation through five security questions or one-time passwords after entering the password.
  • Secure your account with two-factor authentication.

To ensure data privacy and confidentiality, EHRs must have password protection. Although patients must take their passwords seriously, you are also responsible for addressing this potential privacy concern. Password security practices and promoting strong passwords help mitigate unauthorized access risks.

3. Perform Audit Trails

With EHR systems, you can enhance security by providing audit trails, which is not readily achievable with paper records. It’s challenging to determine the last person who accessed a patient’s chart or if any alterations were made when using paper records.

However, an EHR system lets you quickly track who accessed a patient’s records, when, and if their access was authorized. Suppose someone accesses information they shouldn’t see. In that case, an audit trail will expose the situation, unlike paper records, which are difficult to control. This strongly incentivizes trained employees to respect patient privacy and confidentiality.

Having a reliable audit trail platform for your medical practice offers several benefits:

✅ It helps ensure your healthcare practice follows the necessary laws and standards.

✅ It provides you with a comprehensive view of your clinical operations, enabling you to analyze and understand significant trends, patterns, and areas for improvement.

✅ It helps you troubleshoot and investigate any issues or errors that may arise within your systems or processes, facilitating quicker resolutions and minimizing disruptions.

✅ It streamlines development processes and reduces costs associated with identifying and fixing issues. 

Audit trails within the EHR system are a security measure that promotes accountability and maintains patient data integrity.

4. Check for Industry Certifications

Protect your patients’ privacy using software certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC-ATCB). Only EHR systems that meet all security regulations and successfully pass rigorous testing and audits earn the ONC-ATCB certification.

Here are three main “checkpoints” that an EHR system needs to pass to become certified:

  • Functionality: The system should be able to create and manage patient records.
  • Interoperability: The system should be capable of communicating patient information with other systems.
  • Security: The system must protect patient information from being stolen or shared improperly.

If the EHR system meets these criteria, you can be confident in its performance, compatibility, and security. An ONC-ATCB-certified EHR system protects patients’ privacy and maintains their health records more effectively than paper records.

5. Automated Data Security and Privacy Risks Assessments 

Unlike paper records, EHR risk analysis evaluates electronic systems to identify potential vulnerabilities and threats to data security and privacy. Moreover, paper records require manual and time-consuming security assessment processes, which can result in human errors.

With an EHR, risk assessments are easy and time-saving. A thorough assessment should include the following elements:

  • A summary of all the protected health information (PHI) your practice creates, sends, or receives.
  • An explanation of how threats might affect your practice.
  • An analysis of your practice’s current security measures.
  • The location(s) where you physically and digitally store PHI.
  • An overview of any potential threats that could become a security risk.

Utilizing risk assessment tools and conducting an EHR risk analysis ensures that you address all necessary aspects of data security, helping you fulfill HIPAA requirements

Remember that the federal government imposes strict EHR privacy and security rules through HIPAA and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). So you must adopt measures to comply with federal regulations to avoid penalties, fines, and other legal backlash. 

Choose the Top EMR/EHR Software 

Managing EHR data security and privacy is a complex and time-consuming task. That’s why it’s wise to get professional help vetting software and implementing security procedures to ensure that you beef up your data security and privacy protocols without disrupting your daily operations.

Manage your EHR’s security concerns easily by working with a trusted partner like EMR-EHRs! We’ll be able to ensure full HIPAA compliance with your EHR solution and the ongoing safety of your patient’s records.

Over the years, we have assisted medical practices with EHR/EMR selection, implementation, and software usage. We provide customized EMR/EHR software to meet your practice’s needs.

Schedule a demo or contact us through the contact form for more personalized information. Let’s work together to find the best software for your practice!

In your medical practice, how do you maintain EHR security? Let us know in the comments!