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by Gaby Loria,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: December 1, 2016


Pediatricians need to manage efficient patient encounters and spend less time on processes like writing refills or completing charts. At the same time, billing staff needs to ensure charges are captured accurately and in accordance with E&M documentation guidelines. Offices still relying on paper charts or an antiquated practice management system will have a tougher time achieving these operational efficiencies than a practice using pediatric electronic medical record (EMR)/electronic health record (EHR) software.

Pediatric EMR systems will have unique features and functionality for pediatric clinics. For example, most systems will have immunization management that tracks vaccines, connects with state immunization registries and notifies providers when a vaccination is due. Pediatrician EMRs will also have preterm, infant and child growth and BMI charts. They will have some level of reporting for school and camp physical forms, VFC eligibility status, HEDIS immunization compliance and more. Finally, most systems will have customizable templates and workflow designed for pediatricians.

Common Features of Pediatric EMR Software

Pediatric-specific workflow The EMR needs to address the high-volume, short notice, rapid turnover nature of a pediatric clinic. It should also offer the ability to capture and protect sensitive childcare information, as well as support different family structures based on the practice environment.
Pediatric drug alert system Drug interactions and dosage calculations are their own beast in a pediatric practice. Many award-winning EMRs have dosage calculators and drug interaction checking and alert systems to ensure the patient is being treated safely and appropriately.
Well child/preventive care Particularly in infancy, pediatrics involves well visits and preventive care as much as treatment of illness. In addition to standard well visit templates, many EMRs include templates for school, sports, camp and daycare physicals. If this is a major part of your practice, check to make sure you can produce these forms electronically in ways the agency/facility will accept, which will save valuable pediatrician time by not having to fill out forms manually.
Pediatric SOAP notes templates Sample templates include: flu, allergies, abdominal pain, school excuse, ears, appendicitis, reflux, vomiting/diarrhea and viral infections.
Immunization management Administering vaccines is a major component of a pediatric practice, making immunization management critical in a quality EMR. A recommended immunization schedule enables alerts and automated reminder letters, customizable to the patient and the practice. The most efficient systems can obtain paper or electronic parental authorizations, and the immunization order should fully document all aspects, including site location, lot number and reaction, if any.
Age- and gender-specific growth charts A pediatric EMR should document birth and prenatal history and be able to chart and calculate growth patterns and document developmental milestones, automatically graphing vital signs to growth charts. When it comes to documenting age, a pediatric EMR needs to be much more specific than a generic one: make sure your EMR can record the age in months, or even days or hours for a neonatologist.
Correspondence Parental consent forms, school excuse letters, patient referral letters and physicals are just a few of the forms of correspondence a pediatrician has to handle. Most EMRs generate these documents electronically on your customized letterhead, ready to be emailed or printed.

Pediatric EMR software can be combined with medical billing software and medical scheduling software as an integrated medical system, whether seeking the best solo pediatric EMR system, or a more complex EMR for a larger practice. Pediatric billing software helps billing staff check in patients, verify eligibility, code diagnoses and procedures and more. With a long list of pediatric EHRs on the market, our analysts provide EMR reviews for pediatricians and can help your practice select the best system for your needs.

Market Trends to Understand

As electronic medical record trends change, there’s a trickle-down effect into the pediatrics software market. Here are some current trends, and why you should keep them in mind when choosing the best pediatric EMR for your practice.

  • Mobile device support: As mobile devices like iPads, iPhones, and Android devices gain popularity in the medical world, vendors are quickly adapting to the trend by developing useful applications that physicians can access both on and off-premise. Pediatricians have a wealth of apps at many price points that serve as quick and easy points-of-access for everything from pediatric dosages to entire critical care libraries. With data literally at pediatrician’s fingertips, entire encyclopedias of medical information can be accessed without compromising time. Selecting a vendor that offers pediatric-specific apps may be a valuable investment. Many vendors offer tablet PC EMRs.
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  • ONC-ATCB certification: Since President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, many practices have transitioned to electronic health records. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act is a large constituent of this act, which includes a $19 billion incentive for medical offices to transition to electronic medical records. With up to a $44,000 reimbursement in the form of increased Medicare and Medicaid premiums for providers making “meaningful use” of “certified” EHRs, the act offers incentive for the investment. Physicians are mandated to become “meaningful” users, or will be subject to decreased Medicare and Medicaid payments.

    In April 2012, proposed criteria for Meaningful Use Stage 2 was released. The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) proposed a rule that would require Certified EHR Technology “to include to, at a minimum, support the achievement of 'meaningful use' by eligible healthcare providers beginning with the EHR reporting periods in FY/CY 2014.” The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a rule for Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Programs, “clarifying the specifications necessary to meet the criteria for these programs.
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  • Software as a Service (SaaS): Cloud computing has become prevalent in healthcare, like other industries, because of the ease of implementation, and its ease of use. And Internet-based pediatric software is growing in popularity. Additionally, the programs have modern interfaces that look like Web browsers. Opting for a Web-based option also saves physicians from the initial investment for on-premise systems that often require monthly hosting fees as well.

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