Orthopedic and sports medicine practices face the same challenges as other ambulatory care providers, specifically how to increase productivity, reduce expenses, speed up patient encounters and overall provide better care. But with the high volume of patients and rapid pace of patient visits, it’s that much more important for the electronic medical record (EMR)/electronic health record (EHR) to keep up.
Orthopedic EMR software will have ortho-specific templates for SOAP notes, as well as unique features to deal with patient progress and management of attorneys, disability and workers compensation. Some EMRs will also have image management to track X-rays, MRIs and other images imported electronically or scanned in from hard copies. Leading systems will integrate with EMGs and arthroscopic devices, support knee and hip clinical scoring systems and feature tools for analog coding of fractures. Finally, there will also be generic EMR features like the ability to enter history of present illness (HPI), chief complaints (CC), review of systems, E&M coding advice and more.
|Streamlined interface for rapid patient encounters||For a larger and particularly fast-paced practice, the interface should be highly intuitive and allow physicians, nurses and/or physical therapists to have multiple patient charts open all at once.|
|Computerized muscle testing||Import data from EMGs and other electronic muscle tests, immediately associate it with the patient and track it over the near and long term.|
|Orthopedic SOAP notes templates||Example templates include: Neuropathy, PT lumbar spine, fracture, neck and back A/P, ankle and foot injury, knee procedures and post-op, hip disorders and symptoms, shoulder injury, cervical disorders, lumbosacral disorders and interactive range-of-motion and strength assessment.|
|Preventive treatment & long term care||Maintain progress charts post-operatively and during and after physical therapy, use health reminders and alerts for preventive treatments and easily add, change or renew medications with marked “favorites” specific to the patient or diagnosis.|
|Picture archiving and communication system (PACS)||Using a PACS in DICOM format, capture digital imaging from X-rays, MRIs or electromyograms, and integrate them into your orthopedic practice. Electronic images and reports are transmitted digitally and can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection.|
|Attorney/disability/ workers comp management||Orthopedists need to support their patients as they deal with accident attorneys and workers compensation claims, so the EMR should make that process as painless as possible, storing and printing reports, photo and billing receipts in a way the insurant and attorneys will accept.|
|Web-based vs on-premise||EMR and practice management software can be deployed on-premise (i.e., installed at your office) or over the web as a Web- or cloud-based system. This latter model is also known as Software as a Service (SaaS) and allows users to pay for the system on a monthly subscription basis.|
During the start of the software evaluation process, you must assess prospective orthopedic EMR solutions based on your specific requirements. Some parameters that will help you identify the ideal solution are:
Size of your practice: Different orthopedic EMR software solutions suit different sizes of practices—what works for large practices doesn’t always work for smaller ones and vice versa. You need to make sure that the solution you choose takes into account the total number of orthopedic doctors and physicians working in your practice.
Certification from authorities: Before choosing the suitable orthopedic EMR software solution, you need to make sure that it is certified and tested by an ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB). An ONC-ATCB certification is a guarantee that an EMR software solution has met the required objectives and measures. Hence, you should check whether your solution has these certifications before you choose an orthopedic EMR software solution.
Number of unique features: Based on your specific requirements, you can evaluate various features that are unique to your orthopedic EMR practice. Such features include ICD/CPT medical codes that are specific to orthopedic; patient progress charting; compatibility with X-ray, MRI and other diagnostic image formats; integration with arthroscopic equipment; workers compensation templates and reports; integration with EMG equipment; and impairment and disability reports.
Choice of systems architecture: Based on your budget and specific needs, you can buy orthopedic EMR software that is installed on your local servers housed in your practice (client-server) or in the cloud. Some otolaryngologists select EMR software that can be installed on-premises because they are comfortable with self-maintaining Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance. By storing it locally, users remain in control of their fundamental data, but these systems also require frequent upgrade and maintenance. Orthopedic practitioners who select cloud-based EMR software have the freedom of accessing the solution online from anywhere. However, the consistency and quality of the internet connection needs to be above par in this case. Hence, you must consider the advantages and disadvantages of both the system architecture types before finalizing a system.
It should be clear that as an orthopedic EMR medical software buyer, you must find out if all your requirements are met.
As you begin the process of software comparison and evaluation, here are some emerging market trends in the field of orthopedics that you should consider:
Increase in robotics: In the coming years, robotics-based technologies in the field of orthopedics are set to play a major role in developing the market. Robotics and computer-assisted surgeries will continue to grow as these technologies are used in joint and knee replacement surgeries, along with cartilage repair procedures.
3D printing and custom implants are set to grow: The use of customized implants is rapidly growing in the market due to the increasing demand for patient-specific implantation. In addition, 3D printing is also expected to see wider usage in this field as a result of the rising popularity of custom orthopedic instruments.
The above trends will help you understand the latest developments in the field of orthopedics and guide you in the selection of the right software for your business.
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