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Medical practice is a complicated business. Add to that the requirements of a specialty and the stakes get higher. Finding an electronic health record system that best suits the specialty practice is imperative but challenging.
Oncology is a complicated field requiring unique characteristics of diagnosis, making treatment plans and ordering and administrating of chemotherapy. The use of imagery tests is more frequent, requiring the storage of CT scans, PET scans and mammograms to name a few. Due to its challenging nature, an oncology specialization requires an EMR system that is compatible and specially designed for it.
Everything else being the same, there are some features that are unique to EHR software targeted especially for an oncology specialty.
ICD/CPT Codes Specific to Oncology – This makes it easier to identify the type of cancer, map its stage and recommend options for treatment.
Integrated Digital Imaging – The oncology specific EMR software is compatible with ultrasound, MRI, CT, and PET scans and other diagnostic image formats. This makes it easier to use a single software to save all the data for quick and easy review.
Built-In Interface With Labs – Lab results are received directly through electronic medical record software and can be stored digitally. Labs such as Quest, LabCorp, etc. are integrated on most oncology speciality EMR’s.
Chemotherapy Management and Automation – Automated dosing, scheduling and ordering makes orders easy to read and prevent errors. Oncology specific EMR software incorporates documentation of drug administration, inventory management and billing.
Integration of Patient Education Materials – Because this is a trying time for patients the Oncology specific EMR has tools to help educate the patients throughout the process, taking away some of the worrying aspects.
Registry for Clinical Trial – Most oncology specific EMR’s software have an in-built analytics to map out potential patients for a clinical trial, current research as well as demographic values of patients to support findings.
EMR vendors know that not all oncology specialists are the same, and not every case fits a cookie cutter design. For these complications and added challenges they also have pre-designed templates as part of their EMR design:
Now that you’ve narrowed down all the vendors that provide oncology 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 oncology 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.
Selecting EMR software can be stressful and exhausting, but with our detailed guide it can become, if not a little easier, much more focused to making the right choice.
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