EHR software and new functionality are seeking a leap forward — are EHR implementations making your current software obsolete?
Intuitive dashboards, checklists, artificial-intelligence-like processing such as machine learning, and add-on apps are only some of the latest offerings in cutting-edge electronic health records (EHR) systems.
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, passed in 2009, provided $36 billion in financial incentives to drive hospitals and clinics to transition from paper charts to EHRs, according to Scientific American, which notes that the act resulted in the number of physicians using EHRs rising from 48% in 2009 to 85% in 2017.
The Institute of Medicine reports that there are eight core functions that EHRs should be able to perform to effectively contribute to a health care delivery system that is safe, efficient and high in quality.
- The storage and retrieval of health information and data
- The ability to manage test results
- The ability to electronically manage patient orders
- The retrieval of information necessary to make the best care-related decisions possible
- The ability to effectively connect and communicate with other health care providers
- Offering patients access to certain information, as well as giving them a place to correspond with their health care providers
- The ability to create and manage administrative processes and reporting procedures
- The ability to create and share reports that provide the health status of populations as a whole
Beyond these core functions, EHR providers have some latitude about the additional functionality their software provides. What are some of the latest innovations in the EHR space that can be helpful to chiropractic practitioners?
EHR implementations and intuitive dashboards
Have you ever purchased a computer program that was so difficult to use that you eventually gave up? You spent hours and hours trying to figure out how to navigate through its system, but ultimately decided that the learning curve was so steep, it was easier to forego your purchase than to put in any more of your time and effort? This type of situation can be avoided if you choose EHR implementations that offer as part an intuitive dashboard.
Intuitive dashboards enable users to navigate through the EHR in a common-sense way. These intuition-based programs understand the steps that a health care practitioner is likely to take from patient intake to payment collections, thus offering a more seamless transition from one function to the next.
High-quality EHR dashboards also have another benefit: improved productivity. When critical data is displayed immediately and visual mediums are used, health care practitioners don’t have to go in search of the information they want or struggle to put it all together in a way that makes sense. Productivity is also improved when clinical and financial information is integrated so it is all in one place.
Getting audited not only gobbles up a lot of time, but it also means that a lot of effort is going to be used to provide governmental agencies their requested documentation. This leaves less time and effort to take care of your chiropractic patients.
While there is no action you can take that will 100% guarantee that you are never the subject of an audit, using an EHR that provides a checklist functionality enables you to better protect yourself from this type of process.
For example, the Physicians Advocacy Institute reports that health care providers that tend to use different codes than others in their profession are at a higher risk of being audited. Therefore, utilizing an EHR that enables you to pull up all of the codes you use provides the ability to compare them against the codes and modifiers used by other chiropractors to see if they are in line or different enough to potentially trigger an audit.
Subsequently, if you are notified that you will be audited, having access to an auditor checklist also provides a list of data the auditor will typically request. Knowing this beforehand enables you to get started on this immediately, showing the auditor that you are organized and responsive while also reducing the number of surprises because you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.
Easy to use add-on apps
Nowadays, there’s an app for everything. Want to improve your health and fitness? Just download this app. Want to keep track of all of your expenses so you know where your spending is out of control? There’s an app for that too.
Choosing an EHR that offers the latest in functionality also means choosing an EHR that offers apps you can easily download and use in your day-to-day operations. Ideally, these apps should enable you to easily navigate through patient records, transition from one patient to the next, record your SOAP notes and more.
Some of the latest EHR implementations include the ability for your patients to download an app, too. This allows them to stay in touch with your office by providing customizable alerts, such as notifying them that their next appointment is coming up. Research has found that sending these types of reminders decreases no-show rates, ultimately benefiting the patient health-wise but also decreasing the amount of downtime in your day because a patient forgot his or her appointment.
Waiting for the great leap forward
EHR implementations, for all their functionality, some say, continue to at their base work more like glorified digital file folders and less like the intelligent systems working between practices and specialties and saving DCs time that many have come to expect in the modern age. DCs are still waiting for the technology to turn the corner with features like shared lifetime patient data, algorithms that predict or warn against future ailments, and the disappearance of hacks and privacy concerns.
Like all other types of software, EHRs will continue to evolve and change based on the newest innovations within the field. Choosing an EHR provider that keeps up with these modernizations is one step toward creating a practice that gives chiropractic patients the best in communication and care.
To see the latest in EHR offerings and functionality, go to the CE EHR Resource Center at chiroeco.com/resource-center-library.
CHRISTINA DEBUSK is a freelance writer who specializes in content related to natural health and wellness, personal development and small-business marketing. She can be contacted through ChristinaMDeBusk.com.