Electronic medical record (EMR) software is a tool which allows professionals working in clinical and healthcare settings to create, store, and access data about their patients.
EMRs are typically gathered by a single healthcare provider, in contrast to electronic health records (EHRs), which compile patient data from a number of different sources and constitute a more comprehensive history of patient care. EHRs may include data from hospitals, family doctors, specialists, nursing homes, physical therapists, therapists, and other sources. These records serve to provide valuable information in the complex process of patient diagnosis and treatment.
Electronic medical records are digital, as the name suggests. They are far more convenient than paper records because they can be tracked by healthcare professionals over time. Software that allows healthcare providers to store electronic medical records automatically identifies when a patient is due for routine procedures, such as preventative visits, screenings, or vaccinations.
Physical Therapy EMR
Much like EMRs and EMR software, physical therapy EMRs provide records related to patient care in physical therapy settings. These specialized EMRs may have many of the same features and characteristics as other EMRs, as physical therapy practices also need to keep detailed patient records, and track and schedule appointments according to defined parameters.
Choosing the Right EMR Software System
If it’s up to you to select an effective and efficient EMR system, you’ve got your work cut out for you. Healthcare providers need to carefully select software that meets their unique needs, and migrating paper records to a digital system is not an easy task—choosing the right software can make it easier. In addition, the right software should not only save you money and time, but also improve the health outcomes of your clients. So, what should you look at in choosing an EMR system?
Create a list of potential EMRs, then ask yourself the following questions to understand whether the software is right for you.
1. Does it meet the current and future needs of my healthcare practice?
Establish a set of requirements and features, including “bonus” features. Go through each EMR carefully, and call the vendor if you’re not sure whether a particular feature is included.
2. Can you afford it?
Many EMRs are costly, at least initially. Others cost less up front, but require upkeep through fees for upgrades or maintenance. Some are free; however, in general they are less likely to include all the features you need. Make sure you’re aware of all the costs involved—and try a cost-benefit analysis—for a number of EMRs.
3. How easy is the transition?
This question is often overlooked, but it’s an important one. After all, if your system is down for longer than expected, it could have drastic implications for your practice. Get a clear idea as to how long it will take to get started and train staff, and identify what kind of assistance is available.
4. What kind of support is offered?
Should you have a problem with your EMR system, you’ll want to be able to access quick and helpful customer support. Make sure you know what’s offered in terms of customer support, and whether there are any fees associated.