Differing functionalities and requirements of gastroenterologists means searching extensively for that one solution among the hundreds of options in the market. Medical practices need specialty-specific features to fulfill patient requirements and meet business needs. This buyer’s guide intends to help potential users select the right EMR solution for their gastroenterology practice.
Here's what this guide will cover:
Core features for physicians include billing, inventory management and patient scheduling. A quality EMR can integrate all of these features, improving patient attendance and retention and increasing the speed and accuracy of the billing process. However, gastroenterologists should also look for an EMR that can support their specific needs as a medical specialist.
These EMRs offer gastroenterology-specific templates, workflows and support for accurate billing, coding and reporting. They help gastroenterologists automate and streamline manual tasks so that they can focus on the important things, that is, increasing patient satisfaction. Medical staff can also serve patients better by reducing overhead activities.
As a buyer, it’s important for you to assess EMR systems for the following criteria:
|Gastroenterology workflow management||A gastroenterologist’s EMR workflow should fit the way a GI physician practices medicine. One visit may call for a symptom-based approach—abdominal pain or dysphagia—another may call for a condition-based approach—diverticulitis or Crohn’s disease. What’s important is that the workflow supports treatment and improves the patient and physician’s experience.|
|Customized gastroenterology templates||Dozens of customized templates make charting quicker and easier. These templates cover every aspect of a gastroenterologist’s practice, including upper and lower endoscopy procedures, cholecystitis, constipation, diarrhoea, dysphagia, gastroesophageal reflux, gallbladder, hematuria, UTI, ED, hepatitis, Crohn’s Disease, incontinence, nausea and more.|
|Gastroenterology ICD9 and CPT coding and billing||Your EMR should integrate seamlessly with your workflow and your billing practice to support you in coding and billing. The benefit of a GI-specific EMR is that it provides the support needed for conditions a gastroenterologist might encounter, but without thousands of unneeded, unrelated codes; this makes billing quicker, easier and more accurate.|
|PQRS Incentive Reporting||Earn a 1 percent bonus on Medicare billing, simply by reporting on your endoscopy and colorectal cancer screening and treatment, consistent with the Physician Quality and Reporting System (formerly PQRI). A good EMR solution can integrate this and other reporting automatically.|
|Endoscopy image management||A critical piece of a gastroenterologist’s practice, a GI-specific EMR should be able to store endoscopy images for current and later use and support the interpretation of those images within the physician’s workflow process.|
With advancements in medical technology, here are some factors you should consider when you’re looking for any EMR software:
Software as a Service (SaaS).Roughly 25 percent of buyers we speak with are interested primarily in cloud-based gastroenterology software, while another 50 percent are open to the model during the early stages of their research. The reasons are many:
The growing demand for cloud-based EHR systems is driving vendor innovation in SaaS technology. For example, gMed has a gastroenterology product (gGastro) that allows users to access gMed’s proprietary patient portal. The gMed portal allows patients to securely register information, request appointments, update records and send messages. Not only does this minimize double entry and tedious transcriptions for the staff, but it also allows patients to interact with their doctors anywhere there’s internet access.
Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH). As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2009, HITECH requires health care professionals to adopt cloud-based EHR systems. About $19 billion was allotted to incentivize early adoption, with guidelines set forth for demonstrating “meaningful use.”
Doctors are eligible for up to $44,000 in increased Medicare and Medicaid premiums, but only for those using ONC-ATCB-certified EHR systems (i.e., systems certified by Office of the National Coordinator - Authorized Testing and Certification Body). Buyers selecting a gastroenterology EMR should keep this in mind, as it’s an easy way to distinguish one product from another.
Mobile technology support. Riding on the wave of the widespread adoption of cloud-based software, many gastroenterology practices are beginning to depend heavily on mobile technology. Mobile device access enables gastroenterologists to reschedule appointments, prioritize urgent cases and review a patient’s medical history from anywhere. Even across the board, medical professionals are increasingly using smartphones and tablets to access work-related data.
As such, vendors are rolling out mobile versions of their products, with portals for doctors, their staff and their patients. Some vendors are even developing native apps for various mobile operating systems (e.g., iOS, Android and Windows), to give doctors and their staff access to key functionalities via these devices.
The medical software market is evolving with the latest development from software vendors that are being driven by patients’ needs and wants. Here are the primary trends in the gastroenterology EMR software market:
Patient portals for ease of treatment: With patient portals, fixing appointments and making credit card transactions becomes quick and easy for patients. They can look for a suitable time to visit their doctor and schedule their slots. Also, advanced solutions allow patients to view and download their lab reports and medical history. E-prescription is another common functionality that patients prefer nowadays. Gastroenterologists prefer EMR solutions with patient portals as it increases patient satisfaction levels and prevents any legal complications due to human error.
Interactive reports for better service: EMR solutions not only help in reducing manual tasks, but also assist in reviewing business performance with the use of dashboards and reports. Using interactive reports, gastroenterologists can review patient satisfaction levels, analyze disease patterns and make fact-based decisions. Advanced EMR systems also offer predictive analytics capabilities that help in collecting, mining and analyzing data.
Big data and its important role: Big data will play a huge part in patient service over the next couple of years. Analysis of big data databases will help practitioners identify risk factors and allergy triggers. Software vendors are planning to tap this market by offering big-data-compatible advanced analytics platforms.
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