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Chiropractic News

October 2009

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5 factors to look for when investing in EHR software: Part II of II

For DCs looking to invest in electronic health records (EHR) software to make the switch from paper to digital or simply to streamline their practice's efficiency, there are dozens of vendors to choose from. However, not all EHR companies are created equal, so in order to get the best value for your money, you should always research a company's products and services before buying.

Unless you have done your homework on what makes a top-notch EHR system, you're liable to have a hard time choosing which company to go with. Because of this, you'll be more susceptible to a software company's fancy sales pitches on why their software is the greatest ever, even though it's actually quite dismal. 

To aid you in your search for the top EHR companies, there are a few key factors you need to look for before making your investment. Some companies may satisfy one or two of these factors, but the best vendors will satisfy all of them. This is the second in a series of two articles that will cover five important factors to look for in EHR software. 

In the first article of the series, we discussed two of the five factors to look for in high-quality electronic health records—1) buying true EHR software and 2) buying integrated EHR software—and this time we'll address the last three factors. After reading both articles in the series, you'll have a solid base of knowledge for making what can be one of the most important investments for your chiropractic practice.

5 Factors that Make for Top-Quality EHR Software

3. Fulfilling third-party payer requirements: It's not enough that EHR software digitize all of your paper records and documents—the system should also meet or exceed all of the requirements demanded by Medicare and other third-party payers. While it's important that the company you go with has the technological know-how to build a highly advanced software system, it's equally vital that your EHR company have a complete and thorough knowledge of all of the rules and regulations regarding third-party payers and has designed their software around this
knowledge. Moroever, the software should also be regularly updated to ensure you'll continue to meet third-party payer standards as they evolve and change in the future.

4. Customizable: Depending on the size of your practice and the way in which your work, a software system that's excellent for one of your fellow DCs might not be the best fit for your office. For this reason, you should go with EHR companies that allow you to customize your software to get the features and components you really need and not have to buy those you have no use for. Such systems are often modular in design, so you can buy the features you need—or can afford—now and then add on others down the road. Furthermore, the software's documentation features should also be customizable, so the system will fit efficiently with your practice's workflow. You shouldn't have to change the entire way in which you work when switching to EHR; instead, the system should be built in a way that both accommodates and maximizes your own documentation style. 

5. Designed for chiropractors: Today, the entire healthcare industry is rapidly moving toward digital health records. Because of this, many EHR companies have sprung up to help everyone make the switch to a paperless practice. As a chiropractor, however, you should only go with a company that designs their software specifically for DCs. Some companies may claim their systems will work for all types of healthcare practices, but in reality, chiropractic clinics have many unique needs that can't be met with a generic EHR system. Make sure the company you select has designed their software to work specifically with the procedures, workflow, and language used by chiropractors.
 
Chris Towery is the former associate editor of MASSAGE Magazine and is currently a full-time freelance journalist. He has written hundreds of articles for more than 20 different magazines, newspapers, and custom publishers. Much of his recent writing has been for the complementary and alternative healthcare industry. To contact Chris, email cmreuben@yahoo.com.
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