In order for medical facilities to fully comply with the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), each health care provider must establish an electronic medical record (EMR) system in its office by 2021. EMRs, also called electronic health records (EHR), are software programs that convert health care providers’ patient records to an electronic format. EMRs eliminate the need for paper records and improve patient care through online patient portals, automatic prescription refills and patient education programs. Read our articles on EMRs to see which software solution would be best for your facility’s needs. Our favorites are Vitera, Advanced EMR MD and GEHealthcare.
With something as security sensitive as medical records software, you want to be sure to choose an EMR solution that you can trust. On top of that, you need software that is easy to learn and use, not only by your staff, but by your patients. You want an EHR system that, once fully implemented, improves the efficiency of your office.
Because EMR software is meant to be used by office staff, nurses, doctors and patients, the interface needs to handle complex functions. That being said, it needn’t be so complex that it's unusable. Look for software that boasts a patient portal, specialized templates and customized reports. Having a built-in lab interface and clinical flow-sheets are also key features. Many of the best EHR systems are formatted for use on touchscreen tablets or through a web-based interface.
Integrating an EMR system into your office is mandated by law. The best EMR software includes elements like security rules, meaningful use, ICD-10 and a physician reporting system that has been certified under HIPAA. If EHR software doesn’t contain these elements, your facility may not be following HIPAA guidelines. The best digital medical records programs inform you of their certifications.
Electronic health records with the best features are usually the most patient-friendly. They have an online page where patients can receive reminders, pay bills and check on prescriptions. We also like the ability to manage documents and images in one location as well.
Because this will be a new system to your facility, it is important for you to have an avenue for support. A phone number, email contacts and live chat support are essential. The best EMR companies also have technical support for the software and even hold webinars on how to effectively integrate the system with the records you already have. We also appreciate the electronic medical records that offer product demos so you can try the system out before taking the financial plunge and committing to it.
It’s not if you integrate an EMR into your medical practice, it’s when. To ensure you conform to the government mandate in time to receive incentive payments, read our reviews on the best medical records software on the market. Installing, learning and maintaining an electronic health records program takes time, funds and manpower. Make sure you are happy with the program you choose. Do it right the first time.
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