How to Use EMR Software
The features of EMR software and instructions for usage differ from one product to another, but many EMR software applications have certain elements in common. Comprehensive EMR applications integrate clinical data input by medical practitioners with scheduling, registration and financial data from administrative staff to create a consolidated profile for the patient. Authorized users can access the information in the patient's records to carry out work processes that are specific to their job.
Using EMR software is more successful if the program has been customized to fit the needs of the clinic or hospital. Customized EMR software products emulate your existing work practices electronically, so that the transition from paper to electronic records isn't as jarring to your staff. The major EMR software companies offer a demo of their product so that you can see how the software works. In addition, your provider will work closely with you in the training phase.
Preparing for EMR Software Migration
Getting ready for the migration from paper to electronic practice management may be one of the biggest hurdles that a practice faces. The conversion of paper records to electronic format can be time consuming and expensive; however, many practices see a return on their investment once they've implemented the EMR software. Conversion is usually accomplished by scanning paper files into the EMR system. The extent of this process depends on the size of your practice and the number of current files you need to scan.
EMR software may be hosted on a server in your clinic or hospital, or on a central server hosted by the software provider. Electronic data is transmitted to desktop computers at your practice and to notebook computers or handheld devices used by clinicians. In preparation for the migration to EMR, your practice may need to invest in a server, new desktop computers and portable devices. Maintenance of the system may be performed by technical personnel on site, or by a representative from the software vendor, depending on the size of the network.
Using EMR in Your Practice
Using EMR software requires logging onto the EMR network from an authorized computer using one or more passwords or access keys. After the migration from paper records to electronic medical records has taken place, new patients will be registered directly into the EMR system using a registration interface. Ideally, the electronic form should prompt the user for the same information that any paper forms required.
Once the registration staff has entered the patient's demographic information, insurance information can be verified and appointments can be scheduled. Some EMR software products integrate scheduling features, allowing appointments to be made and reviewed by multiple staff members. When the patient is evaluated and treated, the clinician can document care at the time of the visit or immediately after the evaluation. Prescriptions, specialist referrals and patient correspondence can be completed through EMR software.
The most comprehensive EMR software assists medical staff in their clinical decision making. After the patient has been treated, the accounting staff can use their own interface to code the procedure and bill the patient or the insurance company. The account can be tracked from the time the bill is submitted until it has been paid. Overdue accounts can also be tracked using a collection feature.
Learning how to use EMR software is easier if the product replicates the most productive elements of your workflow. Most products consist of a series of templates that can be customized by the practice or the vendor. By migrating to an electronic interface, you can remove procedures that are no longer effective and replace them with more efficient, cost effective practices.
As a two-doctor practice we have a very small staff, so getting an EMR software system through this site means that everything is perfectly organized and on time. Thanks.
Drs. Terrence and Russell, Seattle WA