Just because you run a small practice, that doesn’t mean you can’t deliver first-class service to your valued patients. Chances are, when you started your practice, it was much smaller than it is today. Back then, a paper-based system for keeping track of patient records seemed like a sensible approach. But as your practice continues to grow, you may find that installing electronic health record (EHR) software now makes a lot more sense.
EHR systems have rattled the healthcare market with their boundless benefits and ability to involve patients in their own treatment process. An EHR system empowers your practice to manage your patients’ health records and seamlessly transition from paper documentation to digital recordkeeping.
Digital health records can be conveyed in real time with clinics and specialists involved in the treatment of your patient, enabling you to deliver exceptional care and services. An EHR can also help enhance the efficiency of your staff and refine internal processes.
As you’re weighing various EHR options, your practice should take into account a few specific requirements in order to get the most out of the technology. Here are five factors you should consider:
Ease of Use
When trying out a new EHR system, make sure that it harmonizes with your practice’s workflow. Ideally, you shouldn’t have to drastically modify the way you perform your duties to adapt to the software. A first-rate EHR is created with the user in mind, letting you work the way you prefer and decreasing the amount of time it takes to execute everyday functions. Questions you might want answered include:
- Can I chart by symptom for quicker documentation?
- Can data be entered in a variety of ways, such as dictation, transcription, and touchscreen?
- Can previous notes be carried forward so I don’t have to start from scratch?
- Over time, will the system learn my preferences to further enhance and streamline documentation?
Compatibility with Other Key Systems
One of the primary advantages of an EHR is the ability to transmit data across the healthcare ecosystem. Having software that can exchange information with a variety of channels — such as Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), and national networks — will improve the productivity of your practice. But not all systems are alike.
Ensure that the EHR you choose is concentrated on interoperability. Find out how well the system is able to interface with labs and hospitals in your area, how deftly it conducts referral management, and whether it supports newer initiatives for data requests as needed.
Efficient Reporting of Routine Processes
An EHR should be able to streamline the reporting process. A capable EHR system incorporates a number of useful report templates that can help you manage your daily operations, including: schedules, cancellations, no-shows, and basic financial summaries detailing charges, payments, and adjustments.
You may be required to generate tailor-made reports from time to time. The EHR system you choose should make it simple to create customized reports, whether independently or with the support of your vendor. Being able to pull reports on a vast array of data and then “slice and dice” the details for further analysis will ultimately benefit all aspects of your practice.
Integrated Patient Portal
Your front-office team devotes a great deal of time and effort toward arranging appointments for patients, rebooking cancelled appointments, and disclosing lab and test results to patients. A state-of-the-art EHR can automate these manual tasks, freeing up staff to focus on more pressing matters.
With an integrated patient portal, your practice gains access to a secure, web-based solution that actually strengthens the relationship between physician and patient. Through the portal, your practice can communicate lab results to patients directly. Patients can examine and ask for updates to health history, schedule appointments, and request refills and referrals.
Electronic health record software is a significant investment for your small healthcare practice. As you broaden your patient base, you need the assurance that your EHR partner will support and assist your expansion efforts. Software should be able to scale up as your business grows and have the capability to accommodate records for your increasing pool of patients.
Your ideal vendor will have many years of experience and a profound understanding of EHR systems, practice management software, and revenue cycle management operations. Look for a company with a substantial customer base positioned across a myriad of specialties and settings.
Make certain that the company is up-to-date on all industry certifications and is committed to keeping these certifications current. Lastly, select a vendor that’s dedicated to providing superior customer service and regards their customers as part of the family – not just another transaction.
Making the switch from paper-based recordkeeping to a comprehensive EHR setup will be a watershed moment for your small medical practice.
If you’re thinking about implementing an EHR for the first time, you’ll undoubtedly have lots of questions. Fortunately, the knowledgeable professionals at EncounterWorks have lots of answers. Give us a call today at 877.884.3367 to find out how we can tailor an EHR solution for your small healthcare practice and set you on a course for future success in the digital age!