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- Data Transformation
Also known as ‘general practice,’ family practice is considered too widespread to need focused specialty-specific software. Be that as it may, family practice can benefit from the features of specialty-specific software and the focus it brings to the day to day running of a practice. It is also assistive in the non-clinical side of the practice. Administrative and financial functions of a complete electronic medical record software, with secure messaging capabilities for referrals, can only expedite a family practice’s efficiency.
SOAP Notes & Templates – Because family medicine covers such a large area of medicine the electronic medical record incorporates hundreds of specialty templates to choose from. These make taking notes during consultations discreet yet accurate and quick. They also contain some general templates such as:
ICD/CPT Coding - With such a vast array of potential conditions, family practice-specific EMRs provide more assistance on ICD-9 and CPT coding & billing for common and unusual encounters.
History – Because family practices usually treat the entire family, and for most of their lives, they are responsible for their entire medical history. EMR makes documentation storage easier, it can also be used to establish family history of diseases, genetic predisposition etc.
Lab Interface – Family practices get multiple varying complaints in a single working day. Family practice EMR should allow the charting of multiple discipline complaints simultaneously. Similarly the lab interface should be able to integrate with a broad range of medical tests.
Equipment Integration – In order to get automatic results from diagnostic equipment, family practice EMR should be integrated with the equipment. This also allows for all patient data, of varying ailments, to be stored on one platform.
Referral Integration – Most cases are often referred to specialists from family practices. Instead of printing the file and then physically sending it to the referred doctor the EHR should have secure messaging capabilities through which all patient data can be sent discreetly.
Patient Portal – Family practices are known for nurturing long term doctor/patient relationships. One of the ways to enhance it is through the EHR patient portal. This allows greater interaction between doctor and patient. Patients can send in questions, or check their medical history, their recent prescriptions, and even set up appointments through their patient portal.
There are countless family medicine EHR vendors that provide the software you need. To narrow the selection down to those that fill your requirements as a specialty as well as a medical practice you need to keep a few things in mind.
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 family practice 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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