Functional EHR software requirements refer to the capabilities at the core of the system. Most platforms will offer some version of these capabilities, but not necessarily all, so it’s important to know exactly what your practice needs and find out what the specific solution offers when you first conduct research.
The most basic functions of EMR platforms is to keep a record of the patient’s health and treatment. It also may offer decision support features that help alert providers of possible risk trends and aid in the clinical decision making process.
- Automatic Reminders
- Outcome Analysis
- Health History
- Health Profile
These EHR capabilities digitize the steps between care provider, pharmacy and patient. E-prescribing allows physicians to submit an RX directly to the pharmacy of their choice so patients can pick up their medications in a time and place that suits their needs. It makes it more efficient for physicians to prescribe, search and view medications digitally.
Electronic medication administration record (eMAR) functionality lets practices track medication in order to keep it from being abused and to ensure it is properly received by the right person. Similarly, computerized physician order entry (CPOE) lets care providers submit medication orders directly through the EHR system, negating the need for clunky additional communication channels.
- Medication Tracking (eMAR)
- Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE)
What makes an EHR an EHR is its ability to communicate with a variety of sources outside the practice. Patient portals are more than just helpful — they are expected in this day and age. Patient-centric portals give patients the ability to access their medication records, lab results, appointment schedules and educational resources. This can be done via an in-system portal or through software integration with a third party like Google Health.
Instead of wasting patient and physician time on ailments that are very minor or on commuting to the physical office, patients can simply message their physician via their EHR’s secure direct messaging system. Physicians can advise patients on medication changes and minor health problems or let them know an issue is serious enough to warrant an in-person visit.
While some organizations may require a separate patient scheduling system, EHRs offer enough scheduling functionality to meet many practices’ needs.
- Patient Portal
- Appointment Scheduling
- Secure Direct Messaging (SDM)
- E/M Coding
- Insurance Verification
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Managing patient treatment plans, receiving test results and tracking progress over time is crucial to successful care. There are various EMR features that facilitate result management.
Immunization registries are federal databases that collect vaccination records on citizens with the goal of high vaccination coverage. They consolidate medical data on children from multiple healthcare providers in order to identify children who are due or late for vaccines regardless of their provider. If an EHR system can’t be connected to these databases, patient data is more difficult to access later for important CDC studies or tasks like college enrollment.
The charting capabilities found in each system also contribute to how easily a physician can access patient records. Subjective, objective, assessment and plan (SOAP) note functionality is a huge benefit to practices as they communicate with interdisciplinary teams to treat patients. Along the same lines, computerized provider order entry (CPOE) can streamline practice workflows and balance workloads. Both these capabilities foster communication, accuracy and value-based care.
- Clinical Summaries
- Lab Orders
- Lab Results
- Immunization Registries
- SOAP Notes
- Problems List
- CPOE Enabled
- Prescription Templates
- Demographic Management
- Care Management
Revenue Cycle Management
At the end of the day, medical practices are businesses and have to manage their revenue flow. These features help track, manage and monitor cash flow, insurance claims and other financial aspects of your medical practice.