What Your ENT Practice Should Look For In Its Next EHR
Finding the right EHR system is a crucial decision for any otolaryngologist practice. Implementing a new EHR requires a significant investment of time, money and leadership.
To improve your chances of finding the right solution, the EHR software should be designed specifically for otolaryngologists. A specialty-specific solution will improve your practice management, help you attest to Meaningful Use, improve patient communication, provide medication management and more.
How well a system ultimately meets the needs of an ENT practice largely depends on how well the practice defines its needs before selecting a platform. Most practices begin by establishing key clinical, business and productivity goals for implementation.
To help you define the requirements, we’ve provided a list of the most common features to look for when buying an ENT-specific EHR and practice management software.
ENT Specialization – A specialty-specific EHR is designed for the needs and workflows of an individual practice type. Otolaryngology EMR vendors will include ICD/CPT codes specific to ENT, audiology chart capabilities, sleep study tracking and the ability to add video and images directly to a patient chart.
Templates: A good EHR comes pre-loaded with the appropriate ENT content for quick and efficient charting. With most systems, you can customize your charting preferences and integrate them into your existing workflow. For ENT practices, these include pre-designed templates related to allergy, thyroid, hearing, vertigo, sleep apnea, facial plastics and more.
24/7 Access – In a cloud-based system, the data is stored externally and can be accessed from anywhere, such as the operating room, at the hospital or anywhere there is internet access. There is no hardware or software installation required. Client-server systems store data in-house and requires a server and software be installed in the physician’s office. These days, practices are increasingly turning to cloud-based EHRs for IT resource savings, improved accessibility and security reasons.
Connectivity – One of an EHR’s most valuable features is the ability for it to share information with laboratory and diagnostic services. For example, audiograms and patient demographics charted can flow to Noah for hearing aid evaluation. Video, images and data such as a laryngoscopy, thyroid ultrasound or CT sinuses can be accepted electronically and incorporated into patients’ charts.
Patient Communication – The patient portal enables patients to update their demographic information, request appointments and prescription refills and ask non-urgent questions. Portals can increase practice efficiency and improve patient satisfaction and increase compliance. Patient portals may also include additional educational content for ENT patients, such as information on Cawthorne exercises, Reflux Regimen, Epistaxis regiment and TMJ regiments.
Revenue Cycle Management – Automatic charge capture and claim creation is important for billing efficiency. Having a claim automatically created and populated with appropriate demographics and charge codes from the visit can help streamline the revenue cycle process. For an ENT, a fiberoptic laryngoscopy, nasal endoscopy, stroboscopy or other procedure can be charted and then automatically queued for billing, so there are no paper superbills or their dual entry to handle.
Certification – Eligible health care professionals and eligible hospitals must use certified EHR technology in order to achieve Meaningful Use (MU) and qualify for government incentive payments. Certified EHRs have the functionality and security necessary to reach those benchmarks.
Meaningful Use Reporting – Meaningful Use defines the minimum government standards for using EHR and for exchanging patient clinical data between healthcare providers, insurers and patients. The rules determine whether or not a provider may qualify for government incentive payments. The ability for on EHR to create detailed reports tracking MU attestation is essential for reimbursement. It also provides documentation in the case of a Meaningful Use audit.
The process of selecting an EHR can be challenging and takes time. Knowing your organization’s goals and the specialty-specific features you require will help you choose an ENT EHR system that best meets the needs of your practice.