Not all medical systems are created equal. While certain elements, such as electronic medical record (EMR)/electronic health record (EHR) systems, billing and scheduling carry across most of the medical field, dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons have unique needs specific to their specialty.
Dermatologists and plastic surgeons rely heavily on visual cues, so graphical integration is a key element in dermatology-specific systems. More than 50 electronic medical record vendors serve the dermatology specialty, and a handful focus exclusively on dermatology. Evaluate these specialists, as well as those multi-specialty vendors that have developed specific templates and functionality for dermatologists.
In addition to core functionality—which includes electronic medical records, billing, inventory management and scheduling features—dermatologists should assess their EMR solution for the following specialty-specific criteria:
|Before & after photo comparisons||The EMR should be fully capable of storing before and after photos of your patients and integrate seamlessly with your digital camera and other imaging systems, as well as the ability to draw directly on photos to demonstrate the procedure to the patient.|
|Dermatology-specific EMR templates||Generic EMRs may have templates dermatologists don’t need, and they may be missing sections that would make charting quicker and easier for dermatologists. The right solution will include templates for acne, psoriasis, skin cancer, other pathologies and immune-mediate skin diseases and cosmetic treatments.|
|E&M coding assistance||There are hundreds of diagnoses, not all of them fit every condition perfectly, and the codes are all changing in the move from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Many EMR solutions include definitions and support for evaluation and management coding, and industry-specific solutions provide more assistance for unusual situations, while avoiding the clutter of thousands of unrelated codes.|
|Graphical charting||As a highly visual specialty, graphical documentation of diagnoses and treatments is critical. Dermatology-specific EMRs may allow touch-screen or digital-pen drawing to identify the location of treatment.|
|Dermatology workflow management||It is important that your EMR workflow maps to the way you, as a dermatologist, practice medicine. Step-by-step procedures facilitate with mapping, interpretation, diagnosis and surgery to increase accuracy and reduce errors, seamlessly integrating into your EMR without distracting from the interaction with the patient.|
|Teledermatology||Most medical systems are already connected to the Web in some way. Truly bringing your practice into the 21st century means using the Internet safely and securely to exchange knowledge, establish second opinions or follow up with individuals with chronic skin conditions.|
When selecting the best EMR software for dermatology, it’s important to consider trends that are common in electronic medical records. These trends are generally applicable to most facets of electronic health records, though EHRs for dermatology do have specific applications as well. Being aware of system trends wil help you select the most beneficial practice for your practice. Some of the current trends include:
Mobile device support. Mobile devices are becoming more and more popular in medical practices. Additionally, dermatology EMRs offer many applications accessible via iPad, and similar devices. Vendors have adapted to specialized physician’s needs, such as dermatologists. Dermatology-specific EMRs supply a wealth of applications that are useful and time-saving for dermatology practices.
Software as a Service (SaaS). Cloud-based EMR software for dermatology has become more and more common, as on-premise solutions continue to be a heftier initial investment, and many dermatologists prefer the ease-of-use that accompanies a Web-based product.
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