The History of Medical Records Software
As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. This is certainly the case when it comes to the need to find a better way to manage patient medical records. For the medical community, the invention was creating specialized medical records software.
Although EMR software is relatively new to many medical practices its roots as EHR software can be traced back to the 1960s. The University of Scranton states, “One of the earliest data processing systems originated in the mid-1960s and focused specifically on clinical data management…Also in the 1960s, the development of the Problem Oriented Medical Record by Larry Weed introduced the idea of using electronic methods of recording patient information.”1
Paper Medical Records Management Problems
It was widely recognized that because the number of medical records is so massive, storing and organizing them requires a lot of time and is error-prone. Small practices with small staffs endured a heavy burden from the time required to pull, manually update and refile medical records folders. When files were misplaced it exacerbated the problem with even more stressful, time-consuming tasks. Additionally, legal risks and HIPAA liabilities from records being destroyed by natural disasters, burglary, etc. heightened the need for records security. Paper medical records management was, without question, increasingly problematic.
Are paper records really a problem? Regarding financial risks to medical practice, Coleman Data Solutions, in a 2013 article, commented, “There are major security issues with paper medical records, mostly because of the costly consequences of not securing protected health information.”2.
EMR Software Solved the Problems
As have so many businesses, the medical community found their solutions in automation and digital asset management. Software companies recognized the opportunity to develop faster and easier ways to manage medical records.
From Records Management to Practice Management
As medical professionals embraced the use of EMR software solutions software developers received excellent user feedback. This feedback enabled significant year-after-year improvements to be made to the practice management software. What started as simply electronic medical records management software morphed into full-scale practice management software. Today there are numerous EMR / EHR software products.
The medical records management software programs, commonly known as EMR / EHR software, are now commonplace in medical offices and hospitals. These products offer a robust and secure system for managing health records, scheduling, billing and a host of front-office tasks.
Today, hospitals, clinics, and practitioners have a number of medical records management software options. The current challenge for clinicians, practice and business managers is to make the right choice when trying to find the best EMR software for their hospital, clinic or practice. Depending and the size and scope of your business, what constitutes the “best EMR software” will vary.
Types of EMR Software
Medical Records Software Comparison
Within the offerings of EMR software there are products that range from exceptional to poor based on functionality, training, post-sale support and pricing. Without a solid understanding of what is available in EMR software solutions in 2019, it’s easy to overlook the absence of features that you need.
The top 5 Things to Know About EMR Software
Converting to a new EMR solution is a major decision. Yes, converting from a paper-based records system or inferior EHR software to a new robust EMR software is a good business decision. However, the conversion requires a significant amount of time to implement the software, migrate data, and train users. Choosing your EMR system goes beyond just what the software can do for you. You need to look at the big picture of subscribing to and living with, an EMR software system and vendor.
- EMR Software Features: Quality basically equates to how well a product or service meets your needs. You need to explore all of the possible capabilities and functionalities of any software to evaluate its suitability for your needs. It is nice to have an EMR software that provides scalability to add services, users and features as you may need. The best EMR software solutions offer ways to manage scheduling, patient notifications, patient registration, medical records, billing, collections, and a myriad of custom reports.
- EMR Software Implementation and Conversion: How well does the software vendor manage converting customers from existing systems to the new EMR system? The greatest challenge is integrating and launching a new EMR software parallel to you actively running your business. The migration of data must be timely, precise and secure. The setup of security features and users must be done perfectly. Your best option is to use a U.S. based company that has many years of experience in software implementation. Specifically, it helps if they understand other systems (what you have now) to mitigate problems in a changeover.
- EMR Software Training: You already know subscribing to a service is the easy part. You don’t really get value until the service (software) is working for you. You need a vendor who will work closely with your staff to instruct and coach them on how to get the most from the software. The best vendors have live phone support and don’t just refer you to website pages or PDF documents. More to the point, you want to work with top EHR companies that goes beyond giving you only top-level instruction. You want a company that will show you how to unleash all of the bells-and-whistles of your software.
- EMR Software Post-Sale Support: Anything related to networks, computers, and the software will need service. Whether it’s troubleshooting, add-ons or upgrades you need a vendor that is highly responsive and customer focused. A good idea is to check online reviews for EMR software companies. Read actual customer comments to gauge which company really sticks with its customers.
- EMR Software Pricing: The best EMR solutions offer a monthly subscription model vs. the old way of making you pay a large price to “buy the software package”. Obviously, you’re going to question the affordability of the monthly subscription price. In your consideration, you should factor in the positive financial contribution the software provides. A software program that facilitates collecting revenue faster, improves record keeping efficiency and facilitates excellent scheduling sort of pays for itself. Try to balance the monthly fee with the impact the EMR software can have on your business efficiency.
You should always do a post-implementation evaluation to confirm everything is in place and working properly. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology offers information on its website. They state the following, “Conducting a post-implementation evaluation will enable your practice to continue improving workflows, achieve your goals and needs, and realize the benefits of EHRs. During your post-implementation evaluation, you should check that the practice/hospital/health center team is still intact and that workflows are running smoothly, with few workarounds. You should also seek to identify unresolved vendor issues, interface issues, and staff training needs. You can use the findings of your post-implementation evaluation to target and implement initiatives that will enable your practice/hospital/health center to continue quality improvement.”.3
Example of Comparing Medical Records SoftwareTo give you a specific example of how to evaluate EMR and EHR software we’re going to compare two popular systems – Lytec MD Software and CureMD Software.
Lytec MD Software 2019
What is Lytec? Lytec Practice Management software provides an ANSI 5010 compliant, platform to manage scheduling, billing and revenue management functions of your practice.
Lytec 2019 provides tools to efficiently manage patient accounting, insurance billing, claims tracking, accounts receivable, and appointment scheduling.
Lytec EMR is available as a stand-alone network version and as a cloud-based version.
Notable Features of Lytec’s Cloud-Based EMR
- Use our up-to-date Lytec Practice Management (PM) software without incurring any upfront or upgrade fees
- Medical software that is available anytime, Anywhere 24/7/365
- Electronic Health Records (EHR) option
- HIPAA compliant backup and disaster recovery
- Electronic services – claims, claims verification, patient statements, eligibility verification, remittance, and ePrescribing
- Appointment reminder system
- No expensive hardware to purchase
Other Lytec Features:
- Accounting– Move credits and adjustments between billings
- Engagement– Patient Email Connect allows for a targeted export multiple filters such as age, gender, activity, last visit, etc.
- Appointments– Customized printed appointment schedules.
- Notifications– Hold code display improvements including hovering on patient appointments – saving time and clicks.
- Collections– A/R Tracker enhancements, including the ability to see the patient co-pay in the unpaid transactions grid.
- Registration– Duplicate patient record enhancements
- Billing– BillFlash patient statement enhancements.
- Timely Filing– Billers can now instantly see how many days until timely filing expires and which claims have already been billed and which ones are overdue.
CureMD Software 2019
CureMD’s All-in-One Cloud platform integrates electronic medical records with practice management, patient portal, and an iPad app to personalize care delivery, increase patient safety, and minimize costs for medical practices of all sizes.
CureMD is well suited for cutomization to fit with a particular type of medical practice.
CureMD is an all-in-one EMR and practice management system that enhances quality, profitability, and collaboration. CureMD offers special features for:
- Enterprise Scheduling
- Intelligent Billing
- Workflow Management
- Gold Certified e-Rx
- DICOM Imaging
- Clinical Knowledgebase
- Clinical Alerts
- Device Connectivity
- Data Mining Reports
- Patient Education
- Credit Card Processing
- Text Messaging Reminders
- Lab Orders and Results
- Document Management
- Recalls and Reminders
- Risk Management
- Enterprise Messaging
- Electronic Superbill
- Data Backup
- E&M Coding
Notable Benefits of CureMD EMR Software
- Participate in pay-for-performance incentive programs
- Connect directly with hospitals, labs, radiology centers and diagnostic equipment
- Satisfy government and industry compliance regulations and standards
- Optimize billing and collection processes
Popular EMR Software Solutions
A Google search will bring up a list of countless EMR software vendors, each presented as a great solution for medical records and practice management. Obviously, each has it’s strengths and weaknesses. What may be a great solution for a hospital may be a bad choice for a small practice. What may be great for a small practice may prove to be okay to start but have no ability to scale up to other needs. Selecting the right medical records software can be a daunting endeavor.
To learn more, call 1-800-759-1321 for a free consultation with an EMR specialist.
- 1 The University of Scranton, “EMR: The Progress to 100% Electronic Medical Records”, September 17, 2013, Available from University of Scranton
- 2 CDSadmin, “Security Issues with Paper Medical Records”, October 4, 2013, Available from Coleman Data Solutions
- 3 HealthIT.gov, “How do I conduct a post-implementation evaluation?”, March 5, 2018, Available from HealthIT.gov