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Chiropractic electronic medical record (EMR) / electronic health record (EHR) systems will offer features such as ADAM diagrams to illustrate diagnoses and procedures, SOAP notes with customizable text, and custom reports for a chiropractor's office. Additionally, some chiropractic-specific electronic medical record software will offer an image storage and retrieval system to track patient images and X-rays.
Chiropractors should also consider the following when evaluating systems:
|Chiropractic-specific workflow||Customized templates designed specifically for a chiropractic practice facilitate workflow and increase efficiency by offering a clear-cut way to capture complaints, history of present illness, review of symptoms and physical examination.|
|Chiropractic SOAP notes templates||Example templates include neck pain, oswestry, carpal tunnel, disc bulge, herniation, fibromyalgia, car accidents, sports injuries, sciatica, scoliosis, and thoracic complaints.|
|Visual input||Some chiropractic EMRs use point-and-click anatomical diagrams for taking notes during diagnosis and treatment. This one feature alone can decrease documentation time by three quarters.|
|Chiropractic device integration||Ensure that any medical devices used in diagnosis or treatment—for example, computerized muscle testing or x-ray radiography—integrates into the EMR software. Images and data should automatically import into the patient record, making the information easy to analyze and track.|
|Chiropractic E&M coding assistance||The chiropractic EMR’s E&M coder should allow the practice to verify ICD-9 and CPT codes associated with any diagnosis and connect directly to the billing software, ensuring faster and more accurate payment. Associated features include claim scrubbing, batch posting, DME billing, and workers compensation billing.|
|RAND assessments||Automatically incorporate treatment data into RAND outcomes assessments, facilitating this and other quality reporting tools.|
|Best-of-Breed vs Integrated Suite||EMR software can be purchased on a stand alone basis (i.e. "best-of-breed") or purchased as part of an integrated suite with medical insurance billing, patient scheduling and more.|
For any buyer evaluating systems for managing a chiropractic practice, there are some things going on in the medical software industry you should understand. Here are three important trends.
Software as a Service (SaaS). More and more buyers are interested in web-based chiropractic EHR software. Developments in chiropractic management software--such as data security and encryption, server reliability, and data backup are driving wider adoption for web-based systems. Add to that such benefits as lower upfront costs, built-in IT support, and remote access, and it’s no surprise that more and more vendors are offering their solutions on a SaaS model.
ONC-ATCB Certification. Perhaps the most interesting trend in chiropractic software is the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which includes $19 billion to incentivize medical offices to adopt chiropractic EHR. To be eligible to receive $44,000 in reimbursements in the form of increased Medicare and Medicaid premiums, providers must show “meaningful use” of ONC-ATCB-certified chiropractic EMR systems. Guidelines for Stage 2 announced in 2012 detail penalties for those that fail to qualify, in the form of decreased Medicare and Medicaid payments. As such, buyers should be reviewing certified vendors to ensure early adoption.
Mobile device support. One thing many chiropractic practice management software buyers are beginning to consider is mobile device support. Practitioners and their staff are increasingly using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs for work. Mobile technology allows you to accomplish more from outside the office--and improves mobility within the office---vendors are increasingly offering mobile capabilities in chiropractic office software. Whether through supporting mobile sites for staff and patients or by offering native apps for various mobile operating systems (Apple, Android, etc), we expect to see more systems coming to market with mobile capabilities.
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