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There are over hundreds of EMR software vendors in the market to choose from, a staggering number for medical practices, especially dermatologists. This guide should help you narrow down the field and select the EMR system right for your practice.
Dermatologists specialize in treating skin conditions. The bulk of their recording is lab and image tests so patient records need to be kept up to date. Paper records are prone to getting lost or being disorganized. EMR software makes it easier to digitize the records so they are easy to organize and secure.
Everything else being the same, there are some features that are unique to electronic health record software targeted especially for an oncology specialty.
Specific Templates – Because there are certain characteristics to dermatology the EMR system already has templates for them in the software to make every case easier to navigate:
Comparison Imaging – Dermatology is heavily reliant on imaging. EMR software targeted towards dermatologists has advanced image recording as well as before and after comparisons to track progress, making it easier to sync with a digital camera.
Coding – Nature of diseases are changing with new disease rearing their heads more often than not. Generic EMR systems can’t always keep up with ICD-9 or ICD-10 coding for these diseases. Specialty specific software needs to be up-to-date with these codes.
Digital Graphing – Not every dermatological case is the same. Since it is a visual specialty the EMR system should support a form of graphic charting with a digital-pen, or touch screen drawing boards to make graphic charting easier.
Charting Progress – With the whole visual field of pictures and graphic drawings at your fingertips it makes it easier to analyze a patient’s history and progress reports within minutes.
Now that you’ve narrowed down all the vendors that provide dermatology EHR software you need to narrow the selection down to those that fill your requirements as a specialty as well as a medical practice.
Size – Some vendors cater better to large practices while some are best suited to smaller ones. EMR systems are designed keeping a certain number of users, scalability and support required in mind. When selecting a vendor keep in mind the size of your practice.
System Design – The choice, essentially, is between installation of the software in your on-site computer server, or cloud-based software that is available anywhere via Internet. Which system a practice goes for depends on their personal choice and comfort level. Some doctors feel more comfortable having the system on their computer server because they feel this is more compliant with HIPAA requirements, while others need to have access to their database wherever they are. You’ll need to shortlist vendors who fulfill your needs in this department.
Certification – It makes sense to make sure the software you’re going to purchase is certified. For dermatology the certification you should be looking out for is by the ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Body (“ONC-ATCB”). They are responsible for making sure your vendor meets Meaningful Use objectives and is HIPAA compliant.
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