New, integrated technologies are affecting and improving all aspects of our lives – and healthcare is no exception. Through the widespread adoption of electronic health record software, telemedicine systems and patient portals, healthcare organizations are better able to store patient information, share data seamlessly with other providers, and improve quality of care. Advanced technologies are not only changing the way that healthcare is delivered; they also produce cost savings that benefit both providers and their patients.
Why EMR Software Adoption is Encouraged
The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, which was enacted as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, is designed to encourage the adoption of electronic health record software among healthcare providers in the United States. Due to the software’s countless clinical and financial benefits, ranging from lower costs and higher productivity to improvements in patient care, the government is invested in helping physicians implement certified EMR technology – and we are too.
If your healthcare organization uses a fully functional EMR system, you will see an almost immediate improvement in the following areas compared to paper charts:
- Quality and convenience of patient care
- Accuracy of diagnoses and health outcomes
- Care coordination
- Patient participation in their care
- Practice efficiencies and cost savings
Quality and Convenience of Patient Care
Reliable access to complete and accurate health information is important for delivering the best possible patient care. EMRs make it easy for providers to access important medical information when they need it. They also provide tools that help monitor patient health, track treatment progress, and facilitate quality improvement discussions with patients. The use of these tools results in improved care quality and convenience for patients.
How EHRs Make Care Delivery More Convenient for Providers
- Quick access to patient records from one centralized location
- Enhanced clinical decision support tools provide alerts, reminders and important medical information
- Interfaces with labs, registries and other EHRs make it easy to obtain patient health information
- Electronic referrals allow for easier access to follow-up care with specialists
- Better aggregation, analysis and communication of patient information
How EHRs Improve Care Quality for Patients
- Reliable point-of-care information and reminders notify providers of important health interventions
- E-prescriptions can be sent electronically to the patient’s pharmacy, increasing medication adherence
- Patient portals let patients communicate securely online with their providers
- EHR-integrated telemedicine and telemonitoring services help providers monitor patient progress
- Built-in safeguards against potential adverse events
Accuracy of Diagnoses and Health Outcomes
EMRs provide reliable, real-time access to patient data when and where healthcare professionals need it. Having a clear picture of a patient’s health can help providers make more accurate diagnoses, prevent medical errors, and support better patient outcomes overall. This is due to the fact that EMR systems are advanced and are able to compute data in ways that are beneficial to patients. For example, EMRs keep records of patient allergies and current medications. When a new medication is prescribed, the EMR checks this information against the data already in the patient’s chart to alert the provider of any potential conflicts.
EMRs also help providers avoid more serious consequences by exposing potential safety problems as they occur. In fact, EMRs can improve risk management by:
- Gathering all relevant patient data in one place
- Making it easier to consider all aspects of a patient’s condition
- Providing clinical alerts and reminders
- Improving aggregation, analysis, and communication of patient information
- Supporting diagnostic and therapeutic decision making
- Enabling evidence-based decisions at point of care
- Providing built-in safeguards against prescribing treatments that would result in adverse events
- Enhancing research and monitoring for improvements in clinical quality
By using electronic health record software, providers can easily monitor the health of groups of patients who suffer from a specific condition, are eligible for certain preventive measures, or are currently taking a specific medication – and alerts can be set to notify the provider if certain patterns are detected that might affect a patient’s health.
Patients often receive medical care from multiple providers at different healthcare facilities. This can result in care being fragmented, as providers do not always have complete information about their patients when they are deciding on a treatment plan. In order to improve treatment outcomes, it is necessary for providers to work together so that patient care is less disconnected. This is especially important with patients who are:
- Seeing multiple specialists
- Transitioning between care settings
- Receiving treatment in emergency settings
Better availability of patient information can reduce medical errors and unnecessary tests. It also reduces the change that one of a patient’s many caregivers will not know about an unrelated (but relevant) condition that is being managed by another doctor.
EMRs make care coordination possible by making it easy for providers to:
- Share information across different systems
- Integrate and organize patient information
- Perform order entry at the point of care and off-site
- Standardize data, order sets, and care plans
- Gain access to other experts through telemedicine
Patient Participation in Their Care
When patients become active participants in their health, health outcomes improve significantly. This is due to the fact that patients who are engaged and involved in their care take the management and treatment of their health conditions much more seriously. They also are more likely to take their prescribed medications and follow a treatment plan specified by their provider. EMRs help doctors promote patient participation by:
- Providing patients with full and accurate electronic information about all of their medical visits.
- Offering useful patient education materials and links to online resources.
- Allowing them to send follow-up information after an office visit, such as self-care instructions and reminders for follow-up care.
- Creating an avenue for communication with their patients.
- Sending email or text message reminders to notify patients of upcoming appointments.
Making it easy to reach out to patients and identify symptoms earlier.
Healthcare organizations can increase patient participation even more by adopting patient portal software and integrating it with their EMR. Patient portals allow patients to view their health records, update their allergies and current medications, track and manage vitals, and even suggest corrections to their record.
Practice Efficiencies and Cost Savings
With EMR software doctors can chart more efficiently and staff can carry out administrative tasks in less time. Processes that previously required phone calls, data entry, or transcription services are all automated and can be completed directly through the EMR. For example, patients can request refill requests through an online portal, meaning employees spend less time on the phone, and providers can easily accept those requests and submit them to the patient’s pharmacy electronically through the EMR. Fully integrated EMR systems can also increase practice efficiencies by improving the charge capture process and making it easier to perform billing and other administrative tasks.
According to a national survey, 79 percent of providers report that with an EMR, their practice functions more efficiently. Cost savings can be attributed to the automation of many paper-based tasks that tend to be time consuming and labor intensive. This includes things such as pulling and filing charts, filling out paper forms, and processing billing requests.
EMR Software Cost-Saving Benefits
- Reduced transcription costs
- Reduced chart pull, storage, and re-filing costs
- Improved and more accurate reimbursement coding
- Improved documentation for highly compensated codes
- Reduced medical errors through better access to patient data and error prevention alerts
- Improved patient health and quality of care through better disease management and patient education
Is your healthcare organization ready to start using a fully certified EMR/PM system that is ICD-10 ready? Call 480-782 -1116 or contact us online to get started.