What is an EHR system in healthcare?
An electronic health record (EHR) system refers to an electronically stored collection of patient information. EHRs help organize the extensive amount of patient information that therapy businesses manage. They streamline the process of generating and storing clinical notes, saving businesses significant amounts of time and resources. EHRs have been growing in popularity, and according to Definitive Healthcare Data, more than 89% of all hospitals have implemented some form of EHR software. With the best electronic health record system, your business will be more efficient in its organization and storage of data, allowing the day-to-day operations to run smoothly.
Need of EHR systems for therapists
Therapists spend a lot of their time consulting the clinical notes written by other physicians to treat their clients accurately. Unfortunately, a significant amount of documentation contains errors or is missing critical information. Most of the time these errors are simply a result of the limited ability of human processing, and the fact that therapists have to process a massive amount of client data. Many therapists at least partially rely on the information conveyed in their patient’s records to make treatment decisions, so errors can end up causing significant harm. EHR software provides a secure method for organizing this data and alerting therapists to any errors or missing information. This allows for a greater accuracy rate of stored data and ensures that therapists are provided with all the information they need to deliver high-quality services to their patients. Some of the advantages of EHR for therapists include:
- Efficiently organize patient data
- Improve data accuracy
- Streamline communication between departments and facilities
- Improve general workflow
- Encourage patient self-management
5 reasons why therapists benefit from good EHR systems
Therapy businesses that have implemented EHR systems have noted improvements in various fields of their practice:
- Patient care: EHR software allows you to foster a more personalized method of care for your patients. Patients are authorized users of their EHR, so they can access and view all of their data. This guarantees transparency and allows patients to play a greater role in self-managing their health. On the other hand, therapists can efficiently access all the information related to their clients, allowing them to provide more in-depth, rounded care.
- Patient Portal: Patient portals are often integrated into EHR systems. These provide a secure platform for communication between therapists and patients, fostering more meaningful relationships. Patients can directly ask their therapist questions or concerns without needing to play phone tag with office staff, and certain services like renewed prescriptions and referrals can be completed almost instantaneously. The majority of patient portals also display appointment information, providing patients with a schedule and reducing the number of no-shows. This type of effective appointment scheduling is highly beneficial for therapists.
- Documentation: As mentioned previously, one of the most time-consuming tasks completed by therapists is clinical documentation. They are required to write good clinical notes following each session with a client, and the accuracy of these notes is critical to a successful business. With EHR software, your business can keep all of its clinical notes in a single, secure platform that can be easily accessed by therapists. This is especially important when a different therapist is required to treat a client; online documentation means they are prepared with all of the necessary information. Using EHR software to streamline the clinical documentation process will guarantee that your notes are consistent, clear, and concise.
- Medical billing: Many EHR systems are integrated with medical billing and coding software. The process of billing patients and insurance companies, whilst necessary, can be lengthy and complicated, especially when you take into account rejections and denials. The online medical billing software allows you to generate and submit claims with a single click of a button. Errors in online claims are significantly less frequent than handwritten claims, improving the billing compliance of your business.
- Accessibility: Although this might seem like an obvious benefit, the accessible nature of EHR software should not be overlooked. In the past, accessing medical information has often been a difficult task for both patients and therapists. With EHR, this process is simplified, and authorized users can access key patient information instantaneously.
EHR for therapists: Basic requirements
Transitioning to EHR software can be daunting for therapy businesses, especially if you are used to things operating in a certain way. To help you understand the features you should be looking out for, we have compiled a list of basic requirements for any EHR software:
- HIPAA-compliance: Protecting patient privacy should always be at the forefront of your mind when you are dealing with confidential records. The EHR system you choose should have security features like encryption, and should always be HIPAA-compliant.
- Storage: EHRs usually offer two platforms for storage; either in the cloud or on the therapist’s computer. Each of these have their benefits and risks, so you should look into what would be the most suitable for your business.
- Client access: One of the best advantages of EHR systems is the accessibility they offer clients. Your EHR system should offer constant access to authorized patient users without requiring them to open access to third parties. The software should be easy to navigate so that records are accessible to people who have limited technical knowledge.
- Integration: Many EHR systems are integrated with various other features, including appointment scheduling, medical billing, and other forms of clinical documentation. Whilst this type of integration can allow your practice to deliver a more rounded form of care to its clients, you need to be careful when it comes to patient data. The information stored in an EHR should only be accessible by the people that the patient has authorized.
Electronic health record systems are highly advantageous for therapists. They organize your clinical data more efficiently and help reduce the errors that occur in hand-written notes. From the patient’s perspective, using EHR software ensures they have 24/7 access to their data, encouraging them to play a larger role in managing their health. The process of selecting the right EHR system to implement into your business can be overwhelming. We recommend Carepatron, a fully integrated HIPAA-compliant platform that will cater to all therapists’ needs. Carepatron allows you to streamline clinical documentation, medical billing, and appointment scheduling, all whilst maintaining complete patient privacy.