There are literally hundreds of electronic medical record (EMR) systems from which to choose. Nitin Chhoda is a recognized authority on the adoption, selection and implementation of an EMR and offered physical therapists a new eight-point checklist to ensure they choose the right EMR for their practice.
“You have to evaluate your practice and decide exactly what it is you want the EMR to accomplish before beginning the selection process,” said Chhoda. “Form a team to assess each one and above all else, adopt an EMR that’s specifically designed for a physical therapy practice. Don’t rely on a one-size-fits-all solution. It won’t benefit the practice and you’ll only be setting yourself up for a disaster down the road.”
Chhoda was one of the first in the nation to begin utilizing EMR technology and he said just the process of evaluating an EMR can be exhausting, while actual adoption of the system can be a frightening experience for many. To help practitioners make the transition process as easy as possible, he’s offering eight new tips for EMR success.
- Privacy and security – HIPAA compliance and security measures are critical to ensure complete patient anonymity and to avoid fines, along with civil and criminal penalties.
- Customization – Each clinic has its own unique needs and an EMR should have the ability to create custom documents and templates to accommodate the practice. It should also be able to scan and import paper notes and documents.
- Electronic billing – An EMR offers an extensive array of coding options and the ability to submit reimbursement claims electronically is essential to decrease turnaround times on payments and increase the clinic’s cash flow. Claims can be automated to be send individually or as batch files, and at specific times.
- Web-based portability – Physical therapy clinics offer services at the office, but they’ve also expanded into other areas that include corporate wellness programs, senior centers and in-home options. A web-based EMR can be implemented on tablet technology and accessed anywhere an Internet connection is available.
- Communication – The ability to consult with medical professionals, send prescriptions to pharmacies, contact hospitals and order testing at lab facilities electronically is an invaluable tool for patient protection and expediting treatments.
- Patient portal – The patient portal in an EMR allows clients to complete health histories, schedule appointments, view test results and request medication refills. Clinics can obtain insurance information for verification and contact patients if there’s a discrepancy before the appointment.
- Online training – Staff must be taught to use the new technology and online training allows them to learn whenever and wherever it’s convenient for faster implementation.
- Customer service – Clinicians should have access to 24/7 support for their EMR, automatic updates and backups, and the ability to upgrade as the clinic grows.
The Affordable Health Care Act demands adoption and implementation of an EMR by 2014, as well as meeting Meaningful Use standards. Chhoda’s new eight-point checklist helps make selection and installation of an EMR easier, less frightening and ensure therapists have the right EMR tools for their practice.
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