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Today’s cardiology practices have to track a lot of patient information from a variety of sources, including notes, images, test results and more. They must also have quick and reliable access to this information in order to share with labs and hospitals. Paper charts are a time-consuming and error-prone way of processing this information, so cardiology practices are realizing the many operational and financial benefits of moving to digital patient charts or electronic medical record (EMR)/electronic health record (EHR).
Cardiology EMR (or EHR) software is designed to meet the unique needs of heart and vascular practices. Cardiology is one of the largest and most complex areas of health care, encompassing several different specialties and comprising almost a 10th of the overall EMR market. Some EMR systems provide support for nuclear stress tests and Holter tests, offer E&M coding advice customized for cardiologists, support arterial and aortoiliac duplex imaging and have hundreds of templates for pacemakers, cath exams, coumadin visits and more. Additionally, they will integrate with most equipment found in a cardiovascular practice or electrophysiology clinic, including electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG), echocardiogram, X-ray and MRI equipment. Finally, most systems will feature lab integration and hospital integration for bi-directional data sharing.
|Cardiology-specific templates||Cardiac EHR uses cardiology-specific exam and procedure templates, which speed up documentation by automatically populating patient information. Examples include: new patient visit, echocardiogram charts, abnormal ECG, abnormal stress tests, carotid ultrasound, chest discomfort, hypertension, congestive heart failure, pacemaker procedure, dual isotope stress tests, aortic valve disease, AMI, cardiac catheters, CABG and many more. The more specific templates are to the cardiology specialty, the fewer modifications the physician and staff will have to make to get the system familiar and effective.|
|Cardiology device integration||Cardiology is one of the most advanced medical specialties when it comes to device integration. Why manually transcribe data from your echocardiogram into your patient health record? Most EMRs can import data directly from ECG, stress, Holter, spirometer, vitals, coronary catheters, ECHO equipment and other diagnostic and monitoring devices, automatically generating results and critical alerts and allowing you to mine the data for important information. There’s also several Web-based echocardiogram management systems.|
|Cardiac data analysis||Advanced cardiovascular EMRs support data analysis for treatment devices and measurements, including pacemaker, cardiac output and cholesterol lipids. So in addition to receiving raw data, the physician can receive support in diagnosis and monitoring of progress.|
|Urgent attention alerts||More than any other specialty, cardiologists often receive laboratory results that indicate a life-threatening condition. Therefore, the ideal EMR solution for your cardiology practice may include an alert system that leverages clinical data to provide emergency notifications.|
|Cardiology CPT and ICD-9 coding and billing||The cardiology EMR’s E&M coder should allow the practice to verify ICD-9 and CPT codes associated with any cardiac diagnosis. By connecting directly to the medical billing software, the EMR can completely expedite coding and billing, ensuring faster, more accurate payment.|
|PQRI reporting||Cardiac procedures comprise a significant percentage of PQRI outcome measures. Some EMR systems facilitate reporting for these and other pay-for-performance measures, so if this is an important part of your practice’s payment/reporting structure, ensure the EMR you select incorporates this feature.|
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