Here's what we'll cover:
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 EMR software will offer an image storage and retrieval system to track patient images and X-rays.
|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 with the EMR software. Images and data should automatically be imported into the patient record, making the information easy to analyze and track.|
|Chiropractic E&M coding assistance||The chiropractic EMR’s Evaluation and Management (E&M) coder should allow the practice to verify ICD-9 (International Classification of Diseases) and Current Procedural Terminology (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, Durable Medical Equipment (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 standalone basis (i.e. "best-of-breed") or purchased as part of an integrated suite with medical insurance billing, patient scheduling and more.|
Chiropractic software buyers in the market can be categorized into three different groups based on the size of their practice. These groups are solo practice, midsize practice (two to five employees) and large practices (more than five employees). Each of these groups have different needs that can be summarized as below:
Solo practice: Running a solo practice requires more than just chiropractic expertise. A solo provider needs to take on additional office duties as well. Office tasks include appointment scheduling, documentation, billing and customer communication among others. In addition, solo practitioners cannot afford to spend time on managing the technical aspects of the software. Therefore, buyers in this segment should evaluate web-based solutions that are easy to implement and require little technical expertise. Ease of use is the main focus for this buyer segment.
Midsize practices: Midsize practices have up to five employees. These practices usually have one or two chiropractic practitioners, a receptionist and a few staff for other functions. For practices of this size, limited IT knowledge is a challenge in managing an EMR software. Therefore, this segment of buyers should also consider buying a web-based EMR solution that offers patient scheduling, medical record management and billing functionalities.
Large practices: Large-sized practices have more than five employees. This segment usually has a dedicated staff for managing different business functions such as receptionists for appointment bookings and accounting staff. In addition, with more customers to manage, the receptionists need to be aware of the availability of chiropractors in real-time so as to avoid instances of overbookings. For this reason, appointment setting is the most requested functionality among buyers in this segment. Practices of this size also need to evaluate the billing functionality based on different billing options—to personal as well as third-party insurance payers such as Medicare, Medicaid and private insurances.
Buyers of this segment can also evaluate on-premise systems because storing patient data on the company servers is considered to be more secure than storing it in the cloud. The added data security is an advantage in obtaining the “meaningful use” certification from the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH). This certification entitles practices to avail for reimbursements worth up to $44,000 on their software purchase.
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, 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 HITECH Act, which includes $19 billion to incentivize medical offices to adopt chiropractic EHR. To be eligible to receive the reimbursements in the form of increased Medicare and Medicaid premiums, providers must show the “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 (Mac, Android etc.), we expect to see more systems coming to market with mobile capabilities.
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