3 Reasons Your Electronic Medical Records Might Be Making You Miserable

3 Reasons Your Electronic Medical Records Might Be Making You Miserable   Despite some undeniable challenges in their implementation, electronic medical records/electronic health records have made great strides in the past few years. Between 2010 (the first year from which trend data is available) and 2013, there was a significant increase in physician adoption of EHRs capable of meeting Stage 2 meaningful use as defined by the federal government; now, about three-fourths of physicians with EHR systems report that their system meets meaningful use criteria.     Are electronic medical records actually making life better for physicians? Not everyone is so sure. As Eric Wicklund, editor of industry site mHealthNews, noted March 11, “Doctors are miserable, and technology isn’t helping.” He cites a recent study from Geneia that says that more doctors are miserable in their practices than are satisfied, saying that regulatory burdens and technological overloads are contributing to that misery. In the long run, everyone hopes that technology will ease burdens on doctors, he writes, but that’s not presently the case.       There’s another way of looking at this information, though. It could be that some practices are overlooking very simple ways of improving their EMR software experiences without having to wait for overhauls years down the road.   Here are three reasons why your EMR might currently be making you miserable — and how to fix the problem:   You’ve Not Using the Right EMR: One of the simplest explanations for your EMR not working for you is that you might be using the wrong EMR. Not all software is equal in quality, and you...

5 Ways Medical Appointment Scheduling Software Benefits Both Practices and Patients

5  Ways Medical Appointment Scheduling Software Benefits Both Practices and Patients   We spend most of our time on this blog discussing electronic medical records; that’s because web EMRs facilitate data collection both for individual patient records and for clinical and epidemiological studies, protect records from physical destruction, and improve overall efficiency by about 6% annually. But EMRs aren’t the only kind of medical software systems that can vastly improve a practice’s ability to run efficiently and profitably while serving its patients’ needs. Medical appointment scheduling systems, for example, can accomplish many of the same goals as EMRs. Here are five reasons you might consider a medical appointment scheduling software for your practice:   Administrative Efficiency Appointment booking — as well as associated tasks such as rescheduling and appointment reminders — used to be up to office staff. But now, medical appointment scheduling software can relieve that burden so staff can focus on other tasks. That means higher administrative efficiency and lower overall labor costs. Resource Allocation Complete medical appointment scheduling software does more than help you keep track of when patients are coming in; it also helps you keep track of where your resources (doctors, nurses, open rooms, etc.) are going at any point in time. That makes it easy to ensure that your day-to-day clinical operations run as smoothly as possible. Patient Convenience Medical appointment scheduling software offers benefits to patients, as well as physicians and administrators. It’s no secret that Americans love doing things online, so your patients will be thrilled to book and view appointments on the web 24/7. This will also make it simple to choose from several...

The Medical Technology Revolution: How Medical Software Systems Are Changing the Game

The Medical Technology Revolution: How Medical Software Systems Are Changing the Game   To say that technology is evolving at lightening speed is truly an understatement. In fact, technology has evolved so rapidly that the world is a much different place than it was only 10 years ago. Not only has technology completely revolutionized the ways in which people live, work, and play, it’s also changed the way people heal.     Perhaps the most notable technological advances are those seen in the field of medicine. Not only are people living longer, healthier lives than ever before thanks to advances in both preventative and reactive medicine, but the quality of their lives has drastically improved, even if they are diagnosed with or suffer from a chronic illness. Additional Support and Organization In addition, technological advances have allowed health care providers to better treat their patients by providing better behind the scenes support and organization. Examples of this include streamlined practice management software, which also encompasses appointment software and electronic medical billing systems. Better Patient Records These highly advanced medical software systems allow physicians to maintain better patient records, which in turn expedites the process of evaluating and treating patients. Electronic medical records can improve a health care facility’s overall efficiency by 6% per year. In 2011, more than half — 55% — of physicians adopted electronic heath record (EHR) systems. Fast forward to 2013, and 78% of office based physicians were using some form of an EHR system, an 18% jump from 2001. EHR Incentive Programs These critical systems have become so popular that there are several incentive programs...

Should Electronic Medical Records Be Shared With Patients?

Should Electronic Medical Records Be Shared With Patients?   Although electronic medical records can contribute to larger goals when it comes to epidemiology and public health, many of the arguments for using them come down to simple logistics: EMRs protect patient files from physical destruction, eliminate the concerns about legibility associated with handwritten records (which in turn can lead to medical errors), and result in an overall increase in efficiency of about 6% annually.     But online EMR software, in particular, offers another opportunity that’s far more controversial: sharing notes with patients, generally through secured online portals. Because so many patients ask for such access, and because so many healthcare providers express doubt about providing it, a recent research team decided to track what occurred when providers opened up their medical notes to patients.     The Outcomes In order to measure the impact of opening up electronic medical records to patients, a team partnered with 105 primary care physicians at three sites. After a patient’s appointment, he or she received a message offering the opportunity to log on and read a note about the visit. Before the patient’s next visit, he or she received another message encouraging a review of the previous note in preparation. The researchers found that more than 80% of the patients opened at least one note, and that more than two-thirds reported “better understanding of their health and medical conditions, taking better care of themselves, doing better with taking their medications, or feeling more in control of their care.” Very few patients (1% to 8%) expressed feeling worried or confused because of the...

Health IT News Roundup: Meaningful Use and Interoperability Roadmap

Health IT News Roundup: Meaningful Use and Interoperability Roadmap   In just 24 hours at the end of January, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued two statements involving electronic health records that will impact both the physicians who use them and the medical software companies that develop the systems to support them. The first has a more immediate impact, while the other isn’t likely to affect physicians for some time. Here’s what you need to know to catch up: Revision of Meaningful Use Standards On Jan. 29, the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) announced on its official blog that it intends to create a new rule for reporting Stage 2 meaningful use in 2015. Meaningful use means that EHR technology is being used to engage patients, improve care coordination, and improve the quality of health services, among other things. This is an important change because the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs implement financial incentives and penalties for eligible physicians and hospitals if they implement or upgrade their electronic health records. In order to receive benefits, however, these healthcare providers must demonstrate what is called meaningful use. Some physicians, it appears, have had no trouble making the changes to onsite or online EHR software systems to meet requirements. About 75% of physicians who had adopted an EHR system said that it met the federal criteria for meaningful use. But there was also quite a bit of feedback to CMS saying that providers would not be able to demonstrate meaningful use in time for 2015. So CMS will issue a new rule sometime...