Small and single medical practices often think that there is no need for EMR software (Electronic medical records software). I equite this to all the practices that didn’t believe they would ever need to bill insurance companies electronically. However, contrary to popular belief, EMR software doesn’t have to be so expensive that it’s out of reach. In fact, the cost savings for using EMR software may far exceed the cost of not having one in place. This is because with the right system, the operational costs of the practice increases.
For example, when patient appointments are managed manually,(in the big book) they tend to be rather disorganizedand open time slots are hard to find. Some times, patients forget about their doctors appointments. So they become no shows. So the doctor ends up with a free time slots, which equals no revenue.
Scheduling software helps manage and schedule patient appointments. One glance at today’s schedule, and the doctor (or staff) will know who is coming into the practice. It will tell the staff if there is an open balance on the account and give the healthcare provider a heads up on the reason for the visit. Staff may even call or send text messages to remind patients to turn up for appointments. This leads to fewer canceled appointments which equals better cash flow to the practice. If a patient can’t make it to a scheduled appointment, in most cases you can still call another patient and fill in that empty slot. In this way, appointments are organized in a much better manner.
Then there is the constant problem of billing. Some Patient bills will be self pays, or they can be settled by insurance claims, and than there is always remainder billing for the difference. Either way, you will need software to help manage all the billing issues. Charged amount is different from paid amounts. That means what your practice has managed to collect is different from the amount that you expect to make. This affects the overall cash flow of your medical practice. You may have plans to grow your practice for the next two to three years, but without accurate revenue projections, you have nothing to base your plans on. You will find that when the time comes to spend some money to grow the practice, your plans may have to be delayed due to cash flow reasons.
EMR software such as Medisoft Clinical EMR helps to streamline work-flow processes, and keep all medical and financial records in a well organized fashion. Now, with EMR software, you can truly transition to a “paperless” office thru electronic fax receiving, electronic e-prescribing, electronic lab results, and the electronic note and medical record.
Now that we have established the need for EMR software, let’s take a look at some key features to look out for when evaluable such software.
The first thing to look for is ease of use. Yours is a medical practice. So chances are, your staff are probably not the most tech savvy. Therefore, the software must be easy enough for them to know how to use.
Comprehensive tools – you need all the tools you can get your hands on to help with the operational challenges that you are facing. These include documentation tools, work-flow features, communication features, insurance billing; e-prescribing; document scanning and imaging; vital signs; patient family history; and of course recording the SOAP note. At a minimum, your emr software selection MUST be CCHIT certified, and preferably, certified for each year.