Chiropractic Economics most recent fees and reimbursement survey showed that more than 70 percent of DCs have adopted some type of EHR software.
With the imposition of ICD-10, more than 60 percent have begun updating their software in preparation.
But with the popularity of such systems growing, the number of practices replacing existing EHR software has increased nearly 60 percent since 2014.1 Some practices bought the wrong software; they didn’t know what they needed before making their first purchase, or their vendor hasn’t been responsive to their requests.
Whether you are unhappy with your current system or you are looking to make your first purchase, there are many things to consider when choosing an EHR system.
Up in the clouds
One important decision is whether to use a client server or cloud-based system. A client server system stores data within your practice and requires a separate server, hardware, and software to be installed. A cloud-based system stores the data on external servers that can be accessed from any computer with an Internet connection.
While many DCs have traditionally used client-server EHR systems, they have many limitations and impose daunting security requirements. Cloud-based EHR systems offer a variety of features that could benefit you and your practice. These key factors include lower costs, greater mobility, ease of use, compliance, ability to synch with other providers, and extended support that many client-server systems don’t offer.
One clear advantage of using a cloud- based system is that you don’t have to purchase or install a local server within your practice. This also saves on maintenance requirements and the constant worry of making sure your system is updated and backed-up properly.
Pierre-Yves Dubois, DC, owner of Swiss Chiropractic Unique, made the switch to a cloud-based system so that his EHR would no longer be a major preoccupation.
“We had to constantly worry about the server working and being properly updated,” says Dubois. “We had to remember to do backups every single day and another to take out of the office. When I started to look into web-based EHR, it just started to make a lot of sense for me.”
With a cloud-based system, updates are made within the cloud and data is backed up securely and effortlessly. Your data is also safe in case of emergencies such as power outages.
On the move
One of the biggest advantages of having a cloud-based EHR is flexibility and mobility with your system. Since you are not tied to a local server, you can access your data from anywhere, from almost any device.
For DCs who need to access their practice on the go, cloud-based systems offer this convenience. For Spencer H. Baron, DC, and president of NeuroSport Elite, a highly mobile system was a large factor in why he switched from a local server system.
“As a sports-centered chiropractor, my work may be on the field, or in the training room of a pro team,” he says. “It’s important for me to be able to access my EHR from anywhere and a cloud-based system allows that with the greatest ease.”
A cloud-based system also offers the opportunity to do some of your work from home and not be tied to the office in order to complete notes, charts, and other important tasks.
“I have access to my files wherever I am,” says Dubois. “It is nice to be able to leave and do my notes at home and not necessarily be in the office in order to do that.”
Often, cloud-based systems are easier to use and offer helpful features such as a compliant SOAP notes library and reliable IT support.
“There was practically a zero learning curve with my cloud-based system,” says Baron. “Having a program that was easy to navigate was very important.”
Some systems include easier ways to take notes, contain a transcription library, and are often customizable to your practice. They also can easily integrate with other programs like billing and appointment software.
“My cloud-based system allows me to have compliant notes that are put together and done quickly, says Dubois. “I deal with a lot of medical doctors using a cloud-based system and they can look in my notes and quickly find the most important information for the patient.”
Compliance is key
Compliance is important in every aspect of healthcare and cloud-based systems offer an easy way to maintain compliance within your practice.
Everything is secure and many systems have the new ICD-10 codes built into them to help ease the burden of transitioning.
“Cloud-based systems are responsible for compliance and protection of data,” says Baron. “It is effortless.”
Whether you are considering your first EHR purchase or wanting to switch, cloud-based systems offer benefits that could elevate your practice and make your life easier. “Practices with server- based systems do miss out on a tremendous amount of tools that make our lives much better and also make us look more professional,” says Dubois.
If your software can’t keep up with the rapidly changing healthcare landscape, your practice can’t either.
1 Loria, Gaby. “EHR Software Buyer Report – 2015.” Software Advice. http://www.softwareadvice.com/ resources/ehr-software-buyer-trends-2015. Updated April 2016. Accessed April 2016.