When it comes to patient care, EHR allows your physicians to offer better quality treatment and more accurate diagnosis. Providing clinicians with accurate and up-to-date patient information naturally leads to an increase in the overall quality of care that can be delivered.
Additionally, providers are able to communicate and handle certain aspects of healthcare for their patients online. They can exchange messages, video chat and view medical results while alerts and reminders can be sent out automatically.
Physicians are also able to prescribe medications — often including controlled substances — electronically at any time from virtually anywhere. When prescribing medications, any potential drug-to-drug or drug-to-allergy interactions can be flagged depending on the patient’s current medication and/or medical history. Prescribing electronically helps to optimize patient safety by preventing dosage errors and ensuring patients are receiving the correct medicine. Here are some common EHR features that help to improve the overall quality of healthcare you can provide:
- Patient Information
- Real-Time Data
- Medication History
Optimize productivity and efficiency
EHR can help improve your health organization in a variety of ways, partly by increasing your office’s daily traffic. An EHR is able to automatically coordinate patient visits with the proper exam room, equipment and physician at the correct time. Additionally, appointments can easily be scheduled online, either by the physician or the patient.
An EHR provides physicians with all the necessary patient information they need while allowing for that data to be updated in real time and be shared with other departments. With tools to manage scheduling and appointments, staff are able to place a higher level of focus on patients while increasing their overall revenue in the process. Common tools include:
- Workflow Dashboard
- Real-Time Data
- Online Patient Check-in
- Mobile EHR
- Integration Capabilities
- Configurable Templates
Exchange patient data
One of the main reasons EHR was tweaked from electronic medical records (EMR) was due to an EMR’s inability to share patient information, or a lack of interoperability. With an EHR, your health organization is able to update a patient’s chart throughout multiple departments as well as connect with different information systems or applications in a coordinated manner.
Interoperability allows health organizations to improve the level of care they can deliver by giving clinicians complete access, exchange and use of all electronically accessible health information. In addition to more accurate reporting and fewer errors, interoperability helps improve patient safety. Physicians are able to compare health data as well as recognize patterns and similarities between groups of patients to help provide more accurate treatment. The following features are offered by EHRs to offer this capability:
- Population Health
- Health Analytics
- Importer Security Filing (ISF)
- Data and Trends
Improve charting and documentation
One of the main reasons electronic health records (EHR) was developed in the first place was to upgrade the process of charting and documenting patient information. In the past, healthcare organizations had to document important data using pen and paper, a time-consuming task heavily prone to errors. With the advent of EHR, medical facilities were able to start documenting patient information electronically, increasing the accuracy of patient data while eliminating the need for double-data entry and paper files.
EHR helps speed up the process of charting while providing physicians with a user-friendly method of doing so. Once patient information is entered into the EHR, all other departments within an organization are able to access that data, ensuring a patient’s medical record is always accurate and up to date. Data stored in an EHR is also much more secure and eliminates any potential tampering or theft, which could occur with paper files. Below are some common tools used within an EHR that help with charting and documentation:
- Patient History
- Voice/Text Recognition
- Patient Demographics
- Patient-Specific Notes
- HIPAA Compliance
Many EHR solutions offer tools to help manage your health organization’s financial and revenue cycles. Claims can be scrubbed of errors and submitted automatically, leading to fewer rejections and faster payments received. Furthermore, going paperless saves your staff time, and as everyone knows, time is money.
Additionally, government incentives are provided for organizations who use EHR and meet meaningful use standards. Eligible facilities can earn financial incentives up to tens of thousands of dollars by simply implementing an EHR. At the same time, penalties can be equally as costly if qualifications are not met. While implementing an EHR is often time consuming and expensive, the return on investment for years to come is well worth it. Consider an EHR with these tools if you are looking for help managing your finances:
- Revenue Cycle Management
- Claims Management
- Online Payments
- Patient-Risk Management
How Does EHR Software Work?
EHR software works, primarily, by allowing physicians to chart and document medical information electronically as opposed to using pen and paper. Health organizations can share patient information with other departments and facilities to make sure physicians are provided with the most accurate patient data. These systems provide healthcare professionals with tools to manage both administrative as well as clinical tasks. In addition to the automation of tasks, these solutions supply practitioners with a patient’s complete medical history. Health organizations of various sizes and treatment specialties use EHR software to streamline their operations and issue quality patient treatment.
How Do I Know if I’m Ready for an EHR?
There are some clear indicators that can help you determine if you’re healthcare organization is ready to implement an EHR. Depending on the size of your facility and how many clients you provide care for, an EHR may become necessary in order to thrive and optimize workflow. Generally speaking, most healthcare facilities will benefit from the use of an EHR. Below are some of the factors that may point out whether your health organization is ready to adopt an EHR solution:
- Size of health facility with possible multiple departments
- Missed revenue opportunities
- Inconsistent quality of healthcare provided
- Experiencing errors with charting and documentation
- Problems with patient engagement and satisfaction
- Issues with misplaced, tampered or damaged patient records
How Do I Select an EHR?
Selecting an EHR, much like any software, is often a difficult and time-consuming process. It’s important to consider the unique needs of your healthcare organization and factor in your facility’s medical specialty. Make sure to talk with staff who will actually be using the software in order to gain an understanding of what features and tools your physicians want and which they don’t. With so many different solutions out there, it’s critical to compare multiple vendors before jumping right into adopting a system. Before selecting potential EHR systems, we recommend taking a look at our EHR Software Requirements Checklist or our EHR Software Comparison Chart.