Otolaryngologists deal with a wide variety of patients and conditions, from three-year-olds with Eustachian tube infections to injury survivors receiving maxillofacial reconstructive surgery. Because of this variety, EMRs should meet the specific needs of otolaryngology or ear, nose and throat (ENT) practices with highly customized and customizable workflow and SOAP notes templates.
|Otolaryngology SOAP notes templates||Rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach, most otolaryngology EMRs have hundreds of customized templates for every condition imaginable, from hearing assessment to nasal fractures to thyroid conditions and beyond. Depending on the EMR, these templates can be personalized, but most physicians prefer simply taking advantage of the ample pre-existing templates already at their disposal.|
|ENT-specific medication management||Your ENT workflow solution can suggest medications, and in the unusual event that a physician tries to prescribe a dangerous dosage, or Levothyroxine instead of Levocetirizine for a patient complaining of allergies, it can let the physician know. These alerts can be modified for any trigger scenario desired.|
|ENT-specific coding & billing||ENT-specific EMRs provide more assistance on ICD9 and CPT coding & billing for common ENT encounters, while avoiding the clutter of thousands of codes unrelated to your practice. Since these systems administrative and clinical workflows, they also know what procedures have been performed and which treatments prescribed, making the claim process faster and more accurate.|
|Integration to ENT devices||That brand new rhinometry tool may be useful, but its ability to integrate into your EMR is just as critical as its ability to assess nasal congestion. Before buying your solution, make sure it will be compatible with all your otolaryngology devices.|
|Allergy management||Some products have a specific allergy module that streamlines the testing and treatment process from beginning to end. You can even track a patient’s adherence to their serum regimens, ensuring successful treatment and long-term results.|
|Audiology||With hundreds of conditions and diagnoses and its own special charting software, importing and integrating audiology charts is an important aspect of EMR software for an otolaryngologist. Some EMRs have over 100 workflow templates for this area alone.|
|Sleep studies||Use specialized templates to track, store and interpret data for sleep apnea, snoring or other otolaryngology-related sleep disorders.|
More than 100 vendors serve the ENT specialty. In addion to EHR, ENT practices will want a strong practice management system to support medical billing, as well as appointment scheduling to improve office workflows, efficiency and patient correspondence before, during or after their visits.
At the start of the software evaluation procedure, you must assess prospective otolaryngology EMR systems based on your specific requirements. Below are some of the parameters that will help you identify the right options:
Practice size: Some otolaryngology EMR solutions are better suited for large practices and others for smaller ones. Since otolaryngology software is designed with certain user types in mind—with sufficient scope for further scalability based on business growth—you must shortlist a solution that takes into account the total number of otolaryngologists in your practice.
Type of systems architecture: Based on your budget and specific requirements, you can opt for otolaryngology EMR software installed on local servers that are housed in your building (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. Other practices go for cloud-based EMR software, which can be accessed from anywhere as long as there’s an internet connection. This setup requires a robust internet connection so that you and your practice can be online and operational at any time of the day. So, weigh the pros and cons of both system architecture types before you make a selection.
Certification from responsible agencies: Before choosing an otolaryngology EMR software solution, make sure that it is certified by an ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB). They create various EMR certification standards and approve vendor EMR products. The certification is a guarantee that an EMR software solution has met the required objectives and measures for Meaningful Use (MU). You should definitely check for these certifications for final selection.
Number of unique features: Based on your specific requirements, you must evaluate features that are unique to your otolaryngology EMR practice. These include ICD/CPT codes specific to otolaryngology; audiology chart capabilities; integration with auriscopes, laryngoscopes and other devices; sleep study tracking; and the ability to manage images centrally.
Hence, as an otolaryngology/ENT medical software buyer, you must assess first whether all your requirements are being met or not.
As you begin the process of software comparison and evaluation, here are some emerging market trends in the field of otolaryngology that you must consider before making a final decision:
Rapidly growing otolaryngology devices market: The global otolaryngology/ENT devices market is growing rapidly due to several factors, the most prominent of which is the growing adoption among various segments that include ENT clinics, ambulatory practices, hospitals and home use. Some other factors for this growth are the increasing geriatric population base, growing incidents of sinusitis, improvement in technologies and the rising trend of customized implants.
Increasing role of robotic surgery: Applications based on robotic surgery are rapidly growing in the field of otolaryngology, as various new robotic technologies are being developed for neurotology and endolaryngeal work. Technological innovations are underway to increase the role of surgical robotics in otolaryngological surgery.
Growth in balloon sinus dilation: In 2005, non-surgical procedures were introduced in the form of balloon sinus dilation (BSD) that were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, success was limited at the offset due to the absence of insurance coverage and the slow uptake by ENT surgeons. Now though, the BSD procedure is experiencing a significant upswing as a result of a comprehensive healthcare coverage.
The above trends will help you understand the latest developments in the field of otolaryngology/ENT and guide you during the selection process for the ideal solution.
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