EMR Software Overview
Electronic medical records (EMR) software helps create, store and update patients' digital health records. Common features include digital charting, order entry, decision support and clinical reporting. This software helps physicians qualify for government incentives, meet regulatory requirements and improve overall care quality.
Benefits of EMR Software
EMR software, when properly implemented, yields the following benefits:
Better quality of care. Features such as integrated drug databases, symptom checks and drug interaction verification help physicians prescribe the correct medications and dosages.
Improved clinical reporting. When patient information is digitized, it's much easier to create reports that identify and track health risks for individuals or groups of people. Such reports can help physicians intervene earlier when a patient is developing a worsening health condition. An EMR's reporting tools can also make it possible for practices to participate in Medicare payment programs, such as the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).
Enhanced care coordination. It's important for charts to be easily accessible and legible so they can be shared with all authorized providers in a patient's care team, such as specialists and technicians. EMRs provide a standardized format to clearly present dated patient information that can be shared digitally—which is more secure than printing and transporting or faxing sensitive medical records to authorized colleagues.
Competitive Advantages of Using EMR Software
Whether you are a solo doctor or part of a large practice, EMR software can help you become more competitive by:
Increasing collections. Electronic patient records provide physicians with the necessary documentation to support claims sent to insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid. Integrated features for E&M coding also help providers code visits appropriately and confidently.
Operating more efficiently. Doctors and administrators can access patient health information without rifling through scores of paper-based records. Other time-saving EMR advantages include the ability to receive lab test results digitally and prescribe medication electronically.
Fostering patient loyalty. EMRs enable physicians to maintain better communication by delivering information directly to their patients electronically. Staying in touch drives patients to come back for future medical needs.
Provider Sizes Using EMR Software
With so many medical EMR companies catering to so many specialties, physicians face a big challenge as they determine which medical software is right for their needs. However, the majority of practices fall under one of these common categories:
Primary care MDs/DOs and related specialists. These buyers work at private practices that provide internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, Ob/Gyn, cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, urology etc. These buyers' various needs are addressed by broad systems with specialty-specific templates.
Specialists with other designations (e.g., DC, OD, PT, PhD, LCSW). These buyers include chiropractors, psychologists, therapists, counselors and optometrists. Their needs can be met by dedicated systems (e.g., primarily serving their specialty or a small group of specialties) or by systems that serve a wide variety of providers thanks to specialty-specific templates.
Small practices. These buyers work at small health care organizations, from solo physicians to practices with up to five providers. They may be moving away from paper charts to meet regulatory requirements or replacing an existing EMR. These offices typically have limited or no IT staff, so a solution with robust implementation and support offerings is ideal.
For more information on small practice buyers, check out our medical software needs cycle.
Midsize practices. These buyers may have between six and 25 physicians on staff. They're often looking to improve efficiency and care coordination. They may also want to integrate with other health care networks' systems and track information across several locations.
Large practices. These are practices with more than two dozen physicians on staff. They are usually multi-specialty clinics and therefore need a scalable solution that supports several types of documentation templates.
Inpatient care organizations. These buyers work for hospitals and acute care centers that need to manage patient rooms/beds, assigned nurses and physician rounds. They usually require robust EMR systems for hospitals that can integrate with a variety of other applications.
Software Related to EMR
EMRs include several types of software based on specific applications or functionalities:
Cloud-based EMR software: Can be accessed and updated online. These systems help practitioners manage patient health information from remote locations and are typically less expensive because they do not need to rely on servers to host clinical data.
Mac EMR software: Compatible with Apple devices. These EMRs are either Mac-native, meaning they were built to operate on the Mac operating system, or they are cloud-based software systems that can run on any Mac with an internet connection.
ONC certified EMR software: Meets regulatory requirements set by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). These EMRs have been tested to ensure they include a specific number of clinical capabilities, such as patient portal access, the ability to create care plans, robust reporting functions and more.
Behavioral/mental health EHR software: Electronic medical record (EMR) systems for mental and behavioral health providers have unique features for counselors, mental health clinics and group practices.
Medical billing software: Medical billing systems help providers generate patient statements, submit claims and more. This software is ideal for practices who want to handle billing in-house and can integrate with EMRs.