5 features to look for in an EHR system

5 features to look for in an EHR system

Electronic health record adoption rates have increased significantly over the past couple of years. In addition to enhancing aspects like productivity and practice workflows, these systems are vital to keeping up with the changes that are taking place throughout the health care industry. These include the new stage 3 and updated stage 2 meaningful use standards as well as the ICD-10 transition that is on the horizon. To successfully adapt to these drastic alterations, providers and hospitals have either begun investing in an EHR system for the first time or replacing their current system with an updated version. 

With so many products on the market, it can be challenging to differentiate between the good- and poor-quality systems. What features should you look for in your EHR technology? Here are a five tools that an EHR worth investing in will have. 

1. ICD-10 interface
With the ICD-10 implementation date approaching, it is important that you invest in a system that helps make the transition easier. The increase in the number of codes to choose from compared to the ICD-9 coding set is bound to be difficult to adapt to at first. Look for an EHR with a user-friendly graphic interface that enables you to efficiently find, view and select the ICD-10 code you are searching for to make the switch to the new codes simpler. 

2. Mobile application
Nowadays, mobile technology has become a key component to the advancement of the health care sector. The convenience mobile applications provide doctors increases practice workflow by eliminating tasks that were previously essential to good patient care. For example, mobile apps can allow physicians to quickly input patient data into the system when necessary, which streamlines efficiency. Invest in a system featuring an app that enables staff to review documentation and send messages to the EHR system to make daily processes run smoother. 

3. Specialty outcome reporting 
EHRs that are customized to fit your practice's specific needs will make navigating your system simpler and less time-consuming. This is especially true with EHR systems designed by experts in your specific specialty, as they have the knowledge base and experience to develop a flexible system that works for your practice, whether it is small or large. 

Many high-quality specialty EHRs feature tools that cater to your practice's specific workflow and daily processes. For example, Exscribe, an orthopaedic EHR health care solutions provider, has partnered with Arthrex's Surgical Outcomes System to include an orthopaedic clinical outcomes collection tool that is integrated within its EHR system. 

4. Meaningful use resource center
Many providers have found that adhering to meaningful use requirements is challenging. Implementing an EHR that makes meeting these standards easier is key to avoiding payment penalties. Consider a vendor that offers providers a meaningful use resource center. While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services provides resources for eligible providers trying to meet the meaningful use standards, having a website on hand that helps you demonstrate the meaningful use objectives with your specific system will be beneficial to your practice. 

5. Software support
Implementing an EHR system can require time and assistance. To ensure that you have the support you need, invest in a system that offers unlimited technical assistance and maintenance. This will prevent you from having to face obstacles that can disrupt practice workflow during implementation.

Ideally, you will be able to seek assistance through telephone or online support. Packages that include software updates and upgrades are also worth looking into to ensure that you are investing in not only a high-quality product, but a vendor that is dedicated to supporting providers who use its system.