Cardiologists looking for specialty-specific electronic medical records software (EMRs) have a lot of options to choose from. Therefore, finding the right solution can be a daunting task, especially when different EMR solutions offer different sets of functionalities, benefits and deployments methods. We’ve created this buyer’s guide to help you understand cardiology EMR systems and choose the right solution.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
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 it 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, EMRs and electronic health records (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. EMR systems provide functions such as:
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 bidirectional data sharing.
EHR software that is specifically designed for cardiologists will typically include some or all of the following features:
|Cardiology-specific templates||Cardiac EHR software uses cardiology-specific exam and procedure templates, which speed up documentation by automatically populating patient information. Example templates may 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-10 coding and billing||E&M coding allows practices to verify ICD-10 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.|
The benefits of cardiology EMR software are clear: streamlined workflows, improved patient engagement, paperless transactions and higher revenue. Following are details about the common benefits that should be seen with the successful implementation of cardiology EMR software:
Streamlined workflows. By using cardiology-specific templates, practitioners can optimize workflows by automatically sending patient details from their medical history to lab test reports. This removes the need for manually inputting the data, which has a higher likelihood of error. In addition, EMR solutions help cardiologists and support staff automate workflows and reduce the overhead associated with manual tasks such as data entry, sending bills and appointment scheduling.
Improved patient engagement. With reduced time spent on trivial tasks, cardiologists and medical staff can focus on improving the patient experience by sending revisit reminders and relevant articles, as well as taking advantage of e-prescribing functions. In addition, advanced EMR solutions facilitate promotional campaigns by allowing users to send automated emails to existing and potential patients who opt in.
Paperless transactions. Cardiology EMR software helps to reduce paper clutter and make additional storage space available. Advanced systems with features such as e-prescribing, patient portals, online appointment scheduling and digital payment capturing help reduce printing and paper costs.
Increased revenue. Cardiology EMR solutions help medical facilities drive revenue by retaining existing patients, reaching out to potential patients and improving patient engagement. Furthermore, advanced systems enable credit card transaction and digital wallet payments to improve convenience.
Consider the following market trends as you choose a provider:
Patients are looking for self-service online portals. It’s not just cardiologists that are going digital; patients are increasingly looking for online platforms that enable them to schedule appointments, pay visitation fees, view results and read cardiologist notes.
Access from mobile devices. Mobile devices are the next big thing in the medical software market, and health care providers are gradually adopting them. Likewise, software vendors have responded swiftly to this trend by launching products with mobile device compatibility, especially for iOS and Android systems. In addition, mobile device support enables cardiologists and patients to access EMR platforms from remote locations.
Adoption of cloud-based deployment model. Cloud-based software is gaining traction as buyers realize advantages such as lower upfront costs and quicker implementation time. Cloud-based solutions are commonly available on subscription-based pricing models.
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