Electronic Health Records, often synonymous with Electronic Medical Records (read the difference here), are a major resource for medical businesses. With advancements like the HITECH Act, the federal government has incentivized and recommended EHR systems for modern healthcare offices. EHR software suites help with everything from patient records, to documentation of clinical work, diagnosis and procedure codes, and more. These comprehensive software packages help doctors to manage health information in a digital way, and make it more portable for transfer between provider offices.
EHR Requirements and Needs
As you compare EHR systems, healthcare offices should consider the specific ways that this type of digital record can help with the day-to-day work that goes on in an office. How health information managers interact with EHR technology is what will make or break an office’s relationship with a vendor product. It’s important to understand what an office is looking for and how an EHR product will help to fill those needs.
A User-Friendly Interface
First of all, EHR solutions need to be user-friendly, so that they accommodate more efficient work processes. Key pieces of information need to be accessible and transparent. Patient identification needs to be easy.
One big consideration in shopping EHR systems is how doctors and nurses can use this software to generate chart notes, complete a diagnosis, or look up things like family medical history. When there is a clear and accessible interface with intuitive controls, the software package will really make a difference in a medical office. Otherwise, it can actually have a negative effect on a health care provider’s operations. Prospective buyers can look at templating, as well as the sets of tools and controls, to see how well an individual vendor option accomplishes these goals.
Integrity of Data
It’s also important to make sure that an EHR system provides for security and compliance with industry standards, whether using on-premise or cloud-based EHR systems. The U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA mandates privacy for personal health information. The EHR system has to be able to keep data safe in a digital format. IT has to provide those particular controls that have been written into U.S. law to protect the privacy of patients in a digital world.
Supporting Patient Care
There are also a variety of features in Electronic Health Record solutions that are focused on the patient. Some of these are sometimes called ‘patient portals,’ where individual patients can go and look at test results, medical histories and even things like appointment reminders. The patient portal helps the office to create a digital relationship with each patient, and makes it much easier for someone to manage their healthcare needs, both short-term and long-term care.
EHR Comparison Shopping
How do you find the EHR vendor that’s right for your business?
When it comes to buying EHR software, you have to be able to look at systems side-by-side and make apples to apples comparisons. SelectHub is a selection platform that helps medical professionals who compare EHR systems to understand the features and functionality that each vendor offering provides.
With a detailed look at vendor options on SelectHub, those who are responsible for practice management can see how the software is delivered to the office, what helpful features it includes, and where potential problems might lie. This is one of the first steps to getting into a discussion with a vendor about things like downtime and maintenance for electronic health record systems.
Looking for the right EHR systems might seem like a very complex decision to make, but being able to compare vendors can help doctor’s offices to be confident about their choices, and enter into an agreement with an EHR vendor with peace of mind, feeling like they’re starting off on the right foot with this important milestone in digital record adoption.