Electronic Health / Medical Record – EHR / EMR systems

Electronic Medical Record Systems (EMR Systems)

Keeping patient medical records safe and easily accessible is something that you strive to achieve daily in the medical field. With more investigation and treatment programs going on, you may not always cram every bit of information about your patients as a health practitioner. However, since information is crucial for successful medical practice, having tools that improve patient data and relationships is essential.

We know paper files have been the store for most patient data for decades. But what happens when you can’t trace specific files? How much effort does it take to go through multiple files to access patient history? These are just some of the questions that prompt the move to Electronic Medical Record Systems as the center of patient medical information.

 

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What is EMR

EMR is an electronic collection of patient medical information and history under a practitioner. This information is gathered, managed and consulted by authorized medical practitioners within one health care organization. In other words, if you are a medical practitioner with one organization, EMR is the patient data collected and shared within authorized staff in the organization throughout the patient’s visits and consultations.

Electronic Medical Records are a replacement for paper technology and an effective flow of communication between healthcare teams. If you have had the pleasure of keeping files on your table for easy access, then you know how easily these documents can get mixed up and cause confusion. You also know how convenient it is to effectively transfer data from one computer to another without losing content; this is where EMR has forced paper records out of the room.

We tend to use the phrases EMR and EHR interchangeably; you may also have used it to refer to the same thing. However, there are differences between the two in how the data is disseminated.

Electronic Medical Records will flow within your healthcare organization and sometimes within a specific practice’s unique workflow. For example, you will come across EMRs specifically for Pediatrics, Cardiology or Ambulatory. EHRs, on the other hand, cover a wider area, and their info can be shared with different medical practitioners in different health organizations to relate a patient’s form of treatment; an EMR will be within an EHR.

Both Electronic Medical Records and Electronic Health Records are necessary for your practice and your patients’ continual care. With an EMR, you have a comprehensive record of care data for your patient for each practice. The record allows you quick access to follow-up, prescriptions, diagnostic results and clinical management. On the other hand, an EHR ensures that you can link with other practitioners in other health organizations to provide care for patients quickly anytime it is needed.

What makes up an EMR

An EMR is like the paper chart you use to follow up patient progress and data, but only with more diagnostic information and better organization. Some of the core modules and components that define an EMR include:

• Patient Demographics
• Charting and documenting patient encounters
• Ordering lab and diagnostic imagine tests.
• Patient Billing.
• Clinical decision supports.
• Prescription and medication management.
• Documentations management.

There are many benefits of Electronic Medical Records for both the patient and the medical practitioner. We will mention a few benefits below:

• You can monitor a patient’s diagnoses and treatments over time.
• You can identify patients who are due for follow-up and routine medical services such as immunization.
• Discover a reduction in medical errors, duplication of tests and delays in treatment.
• You can instantly access medical delays, which saves time.
• Reduced cost of records over time after the initial implementation of EMR.
• EMR allows patients and their families more involvement in the healthcare process through access to resources that help them understand their health situations.

What is an EMR System?

Electronic Medical Record Systems are software that combines all the clinical activity in an office to implement a wide range of functionality and user interfaces for information gathering and management. The EMR system is used every day in a health institution to add new patients, set up insurance e claims, and schedule patient visits.

There are various EMR systems available in the market, and implementing one depends on your overall institution’s needs. The most common EMR software is:

• AdvancedMD
• CureMD
• Epic Care
• athenaOne
• Cerner PowerChart Ambulatory

What do you look for before investing in EMH software?

Cloud-based

How would you like to access medical records? It is an important question to determine if you will go for software that is web-based or cloud-based. Most physicians prefer cloud-based EMR software because they can access their data from smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc. Web-based only software limits data access to devices.

Integrated Practice Management Software

Would you like your EMR system to be stand-alone or integrate a practice management system? An integrated software provides additional services like scheduling, billing and monitoring how your practice performs. Even specialty-specific software face tough competition from EMR integrated practice management software because they offer widespread reporting competencies. The decision will depend on what you want to achieve from the EMR system and how it will help your practice or institution grow.

Specialty -Based EMR Software

If you require unique tools tailored for your specific practice, specialty-specific EMR systems are where you invest. A good example is Cerner PowerChart Ambulatory that is specific for the practice. The documentation is specific to areas of concern with ambulatory medical needs.

Ease of Use and Training

Is the software usage practical and easy for anyone who interacts with it? You do not want to buy software that is too complicated and requires constant, expert knowledge to navigate. Most EMR software will provide training at the time of purchase and sometimes throughout usage with every update. Therefore, go for vendors that can offer you and your staff training to grasp the software better.

Customer Support Quality

Every form of technology will have an issue at some point in usage. You also don’t want to get caught up with errors on your screen with no support to guide you through it. Customer support quality is essential to address your concern and resolve them in a timely and professional manner. Before purchasing an EMR software, you should determine if there will be a special support team to reach out to issues and if it is included in the package.

Practice Size

Depending on your budget and the practice’s size, there are different EMR software that will suit your daily medical data collection and management. If you are a solo practice, a free or affordable cloud-based EMR software is a good

Overview of Current EMR systems

athenaOne

athenaOne was launched by athenahealth EHR Software and has quickly gained ranks as the top medical app for Apple users. The software has an easy-to-use and intuitive interface that will give you an easy time in your medical record management process.

It offers revenue management that your practice needs, and athenaCoordinator allows patients to schedule and review appointments from their homes’ comfort and easily integrates with other EMRs.

The benefits of athenaOne are that it promotes the relationship between you, your staff and the patient for better medical care. Since it is cloud-based, the software allows you to access information from any electronic device and eliminates the risk of losing vital patient information.

Pros

• Friendly user interface
• Comes with training/test site and learning portal to guide you through installation and usage.
• It has excellent tools for documentation quality.
• Simples billing processes.

Cons

• The software is occasionally slow.
• It does not include a treatment plan for chronic diseases.
• Customer service response is slow.
• Quite expensive, but the price is worth it for bigger institutions.

CureMD

CureMD is a top-rated EMR software with all-in-one medical record management features customized for your everyday needs. It is best for small, medium and large practices covering all specialties, County Health Departments and even FQHCs. Every health facility can streamline its processes using this EMR software.

Its features include compliance tracking, e-prescribing, appointment scheduling, a self-service portal for health providers and patients, voice recognition for medical records, and appointment reminders. It is beneficial for the ease with which you can transfer results and referrals between different departments in the healthcare institution.

Pros

• Excellent technical support that handles issues instantly.
• Affordable cost for solo practice.
• Simple and easy to navigate
• It is Cloud-based.

Cons

• Only works with internet explorer.
• Billing procedures are tedious.

Epic Care

Epic Care is a highly rated ambulatory EHR software swerving physicians in hospitals, medical organizations, clinics, independent practices, academic centers and specialty groups. One top feature that stands out for this EMR is the MyChart patient portal that gives your patients access to their health information at the fingertips.

It allows them to message doctors, schedule appointments and attend e-visits. Other features include flexible and pre-built content for your specialties to help you focus on care. You can extend your system to other hospitals and independent communities. It hosts a multitude of functions that allows you to follow up with insurance care and telehealth.

Pros

• It boasts of versatility in clinical and administrative functions for both practitioners and patients.
• It is easy to use; the interface is self-explanatory.
• Patients have access to their medical history and resources via charting.
• It allows you to review the best processes to make the best decisions for future patient care.

Cons

• Customer support is not as receptive as many users would like.
• No shortcuts: navigation is long and frustrating if you do not know how to get around it.

AdvancedMD

AdvancedMD is a dedicated EMR software that enables you to securely work remotely and handle your patient’s medical needs without compromise. This EMR software is among the few that are 100% build on a cloud platform. Comprehensive cloud suites and remote care technologies give you unmatched access to information for your starting or growing practice.

The cloud platform hosted by Amazon Web Services makes the software simple to access multiple devices in a server-free environment. Some of the features included are scheduling, charting, billing and patient relationship management. A patient portal also ensures your patients can access self-help services and resources in AdvancedMD.

Pros

• Flexible pricing options that allow you to pick different pricing models depending on your needs.
• Well-organised user interface.
• Rich features with flexible navigations
Cons
• It has a steep learning curve.
• Training is a must to maneuver the specs of the software.
• The upfront cost may be too much for small practices on a budget.

Cerner PowerChart Ambulatory

Cerner PowerChart Ambulatory is a specialized HER that automates disseminating information in clinical functions to ensure both primary and specialty healthcare teams have the right information at the right time and place for accurate decisions. The ideology behind this EMR is that information technology, and great coordination directly leads to safer and effective healthcare for communities worldwide.

It comes as web0-based, Cloud and SaaS, and you can access it on any smartphone. Documentation is flawless as it provides a one patient-one record systems from registration to the final bill without any mix-ups.

Pros

• Effective in managing clinical orders by classification.
• It is easy to navigate even for first-time users.

Cons

• Limited usage of search feature to look up patients.
• Occasional downtime and server problems.
• Price doesn’t match its features.
• Repetitiveness when entering patient information.

Bottomline

Finding the best EMR system software for your institution or practice is highly dependent on the functionalities and effectiveness you expect from your purchase. The above EMR software is the best pick we can find in the market, suitable for different practice sizes and specialties.

The features in each of the EMR software above are designed to help you streamline the process of sharing, collecting and sending information between healthcare teams in your department. We recommend going through the products carefully and align them with your institution’s goals and budget to choose the system that works best for you.

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