While the implementation of electronic health records has been largely successful, physicians in specialty practices are not getting the greatest output from their systems. An Ophthalmology Times article by Dr. Robert Pollack explains why the best electronic health records for a practice are specialty specific and why they’re necessary for proper use of the technology. Standard EHRs don’t meet the needs of surgical practices, which function differently than internal medicine or family practices. Specialty practices need tailored systems that enable integration, convenience, and communication.

It’s important that the system be able to manage information in a manner that incorporates practice workflow. The adjustment period should concern easing the EHR software into the practice, not the other way around. When searching for the best EHR for your practice, Dr. Pollack suggests keeping an eye out for the following features:

  • Alerts and notifications between physicians and staff to ensure strong communication within the practice
  • Reminders for patients in order to minimize missed appointments
  • Appointment scheduling and tracking abilities
  • Ability to upload scanned documents into patient files
  • Preexisting templates specific to the specialty
  • Ability to create new templates manually
  • Schedule management to keep track of daily agenda
  • Medical billing software for easy management
  • Practice and procedure summaries to keep all physicians and staff informed
  • Revenue cycle management to simplify claims processing

For example, an ophthalmology EHR, might offer features such as specific templates for eye tests, terminology for related complaints, help with optical E&M codes, integrated medical billing services, and RCM. Each specialty has detailed needs, and for EHRs to work optimally for the practice, they must be designed with the specialty in mind.

A cloud-based system bypasses the need for on-site hardware and maintenance, reducing installation and security costs. The web-based platform creates a secure, encrypted environment and physicians are able to access information in remote locations. Such systems also decrease liability for physicians as they have less responsibility in maintaining and securing the system. Offering systems customized for specific specialties, such as ophthalmology EHR, can help increase EHR adoption rates and improve overall system utility.

Author: Apoorva Anupindi

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