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When you begin considering all of the options and components available in electronic health records (EHR) software, you may quickly feel overwhelmed.
And, unfortunately, talking to vendors and salespeople may well complicate the issue. So how do you know what is essential when it comes to good EHR software? Here are a few things that may help.
Is it certified?
First, you’ll want to know if the software is certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and by an Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ATCB). Usually, the vendor will prominently state that their product is “ONC-ATCB Certified” on all promotional materials.
Certification is important because it shows the software is compliant with all of the laws and regulations surrounding the activities of collecting and storing personal health information (PHI). You will be in a much stronger position should your practice be audited if you are using certified software. Additionally, you will most likely be in a better position when the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) is implemented.
And don’t forget, security is critical. Certified software is far more likely to be secure—be sure to find out the details of how any given piece of EHR software handles security. Since chiropractic practices are highly likely to be audited, staying within the boundaries of HIPAA and other federal and state regulations is vital.
Will it make getting paid easier?
Once you’ve narrowed the field to only certified software, you can begin looking at specific components. For example, most practices require software with claims and billing functionality. When claims are challenged, you will want software that allows you to easily bundle documentation related to the claim together.
When DCs invest in EHR software, they generally want practice management to be easier and more streamlined. Look for a system that will not only make dealing with challenged claims more efficient, but one that will also make billing in general more streamlined. Issues such as sales tax and late charges should not take up valuable time, and with the right EHR software, they won’t.
What do patients see?
Often, the focus is on back-office types of functions like billing and documentation, but patient-facing functions are important, as well. Scheduling, sign-in, and email are all factors that you should consider when looking at EHR software. In addition to being a facet of good service, such communications with patients are an opportunity to market your practice.
Will it streamline my practice?
Being able to streamline all of the functions of practice management into one seamless system is an important factor. Having one system that brings together everything from appointment scheduling to billing and follow-up means that all of your records are readily accessible. Having a record of visits, SOAP notes, images, patient complaints, and treatment plans together will make each visit more efficient.
However, you may want to transition each piece of your practice to the new EHR slowly. Many EHR systems use a module approach so practices can implement each piece of practice management individually until everything is transitioned and working together.