The Affordable Care Act has a number of different requirements¹ surrounding the application of Electronic Health Records (EHR) depending on the healthcare specialty of the provider. For example, primary care providers have significantly different EHR requirements than those of an outpatient surgery practice. That’s because the latter has a far more limited scope and predictable workflow requirements. Similarly, a dermatologist will typically perform several procedures in a single visit, while a dental practice will require a different approach to capturing patient care information.
In spite of the fact that different practices will have variable EHR requirements, they will also have something in common: all will need an EHR system that allows them to collect data easily, maintain accurate records of patient visits, and facilitate smooth communication with other providers in order to achieve the best outcomes for patients. The Meaningful Use standards of the ACA are already in Stage II², and Stage III – Improved Outcomes – is scheduled to begin in 2016. There are five basic aspects to every EHR that all providers will need in order to stay on track to meet the Stage III requirements.
Five components of a robust EHR package
- A robust EHR package should provide content that is broad enough to cover everything the practice needs. Clearly, an EHR program that is primarily designed for a cardiologist will not meet the requirements of an ophthalmologist. Subspecialties will also need an EHR that can be supplemented with additional information to meet their specific requirements.
- EHR software that can be easily adapted to reflect the nuances of a particular practice’s workflow is much better configured to optimize data capture, streamline patient care and provide improved patient outcomes. EHR should be adaptable to individual physicians’ needs, yet consistent enough to maintain high standards of care.
- Integration. Highly specialized providers will often have multiple sources of data capture, which means that EHR software needs to be configured to interface well with existing technology. The EHR should be designed to incorporate data from multiple diagnostic technologies seamlessly into the workflow.
- If a healthcare provider is spending most of the patient visit navigating an EHR that is not user-friendly, outcomes suffer. EHR software should facilitate the patient visit by allowing medical assistants, nurses, and the patient herself to capture as much data as possible before the physician ever sees her. Good EHR software provides physicians with the information they need to provide excellent care in real time.
- The healthcare landscape is changing quickly, and not all vendors are going to be able to stay abreast of it. Robust EHR software is going to provide innovative solutions to complex problems, and consistently stay one step ahead of shifting requirements concerning Meaningful Use.
At Practice Sense, we provide online patient registration software that integrates with EHR platforms and streamlines the registration process by allowing patients to enter data before they enter the office. Instead of printing and filling out registration forms by hand, patients can enter medical information into preformatted fields that can be integrated with EHR.
Contact us today to learn how we can help!