- One of the EHR features, automated scheduling prevents no-shows and cancellations, which otherwise can cost physicians around $150 per year.
- EHR documentation feature prevents medical error, which is one of the leading causes of death in the healthcare sector. Roughly around 7000 to 9000 deaths are reported due to medical errors.
- EHR data management involves accurate data collection from wearables, text-to-speech connected devices, and medical devices, which are later fed into the EHR system.
According to a report, 88.2 percent of office-based physicians use any EMR/EHR system, and 77.8 percent of them possess a certified EMR/EHR system. Electronic health records are adopted due to their unprecedented features such as access to medical records anytime, no paperwork, automated insurance claims, absence of medical errors, and much more.
Additionally, stringent HIPAA compliance regulations make the EHR system secure to use. It assures safe data transfer and prevents cyber threats. Let’s look at the vital EHR features in detail.
Crucial EHR Features to Consider
EHR Features for Front-Office
1. Automated Scheduling
Manual scheduling poses several challenges such as scheduling errors, long waiting hours, and difficulty in getting last-minute appointments. However, with automated scheduling, the front-desk staff can correctly schedule appointments without haggling over dates or wait times.
Patients can schedule their checkups at any time of the day. Automated scheduling prevents no-shows, which otherwise cost physicians around $150 per year. Further, in case of canceled appointments, those slots can be filled with last-minute bookings. Automated patient scheduling can be easily updated, staff can send auto-confirmations, and appointment reminders.
2. Task Management
Whether working as a clinician or at the front desk, this EHR feature helps allocate to-do items or projects to teams. Managing tasks via sticky notes or spreadsheets is quite cumbersome, hence the use of EHR integrated task manager makes things easy.
Some of the features of the task management tool are:
- Task prioritization
- Deadlines and task tracking
- Work delegation
- Audit trails and task history
- Task titles, attachments, descriptions, and statuses
3. EHR Documentation
EHR documentation feature acts like a communication tool between providers in recording ePHI and making data accessible to them for efficient care. Electronic health records documentation allows quick access to patient records for better-coordinated care between multiple doctors. It ensures smooth billing and coding process.
Moreover, it offers accurate and updated patient health information at the time of care. Documentation prevents medical errors, which are one of the leading causes of death in the healthcare sector. Additionally, it enhances the security and privacy of ePHI.
The US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) identified that EHR features such as copy, cloning, and paste are used to facilitate fraud, waste, and abuse of documentation. To avoid this, user authentication, limited users, audit logs, and many more steps are implemented.
4. Claims Processing
Automated healthcare claims management can be integrated as an EHR feature. It prevents the need for paper-based medical claims and simplifies the data management process. Claims management can access patients’ EHR and store all the essential information online.
Further, claims management can verify insurance information online. This makes it easier to either decline or approve claims. Automated claims processing reduces the time lag caused due to claim denials. It can detect errors in claim documentation and suggest changes. Thereby, avoiding claim denials while submitting proofs.
EHR Features for Doctors
1. Digital Charts
The EHR system collects all the information about a patient in a chart in electronic format. This consists of patients’ history, results, personal details, lab tests, drug prescriptions, medical images, and more. This can be used for reference by physicians. It also includes the billing and insurance details of a person.
Digital charts are safeguarded to prevent cyber threats, unlike paper charts which are at risk of cyber activities. Further, digital charts improve documentation and enable rapid treatment.
The EHR alerts healthcare providers on two critical occasions. Firstly, prescription alerts warn providers of adverse drug effects such as interaction with other medications and allergy warnings. These alerts allow physicians to act quickly and choose another prescription that can be instantly shared with patients over EHR.
Secondly, EHR systems alert physicians on clinical decisions. These include patient procedures, tests, and necessary screenings. The goal is to help providers diagnose patients and identify gaps in care.
The 21st Century Cures Act specified requirements in section 4002 (c) to create the EHR reporting program. Data gathered and reported under this program will address information gaps in the health IT marketplace and offer useful insights into how certified health IT is being utilized.
Further, EHR generates reports which include demographics, medications, vital signs, progress notes, health problems, past medical history, immunizations, radiology results, and lab tests. EHR features improve care by reporting all the necessary data to providers.
4. Auditing Trails
The Fundamentals of Law for Health Informatics and Information Management describes an audit trial as a ‘record that shows who has accessed a computer system, when it was accessed, and what operations were performed.’
Audit trails include tracking employee behavior, data reconstruction, and detecting computer failure sites. It is also built to monitor the modification, deletion, and viewing of information.
5. Data Transfer and Management
The rise in the adoption of EHR software has increased the volume of healthcare data. It’s essential to manage this data efficiently for better treatment, accurate results, and protection from cyber crimes. HIPAA compliance rules ensure safe data transfer between doctors, patients, and pharmacists.
According to HIPAA regulations, for data transfers, prior authorization is needed from patients. This denies any unauthorized access to data. Encryptions, firewalls, secure chats, and physical safeguards assure safe data transfers.
EHR data management involves accurate data collection from wearables, text-to-speech connected devices, and medical devices, which are later fed into the EHR system. Data can be migrated to the cloud for storage. However, check whether cloud systems are compliant and can keep the data safe.
6. Patient Communication
While attending patients, physicians have access to complete records in from of them, assuring patients that they’re aware of their conditions. EHR systems are patient-centric and ensure crystal clear communication between doctor-patients, as each is aware of medical conditions via safe data exchanges.
Not only this, EHR features allow seamless data transfers between doctors and nurses (as per their shift timings), so each one is aware of patients’ conditions.
Healthcare providers upon diagnosis prepare an e-prescription that’s directly sent to the respective pharmacy of their patients. The pharmacist then gives medicines as per the prescription. E-prescriptions are a great way to prevent adverse drug usage. Also, it avoids medication errors, which otherwise are possible due to illegible handwriting on paper-based prescriptions.
EHR-integrated e-prescribing software ensures that patients get accurate medicines for their ailments. Past prescriptions and medicine lists can be accessed via e-prescribing software.
8. Access to Medical Records
Doctors can check past medical records, patient history, demographics, allergies, prescriptions, surgeries, and much more. Medical records give a complete idea about a patient’s condition and allow doctors to treat them accordingly. They can pinpoint the reasons for patients’ illnesses and provide medications accordingly.
EHR Features for Patients
Reminders are sent to patients when they have an upcoming appointment with providers. Thereby, preventing no-shows and cancellations. Patients are also reminded about their billing, payment, claims, and refills from time to time.
2. Access to Medical Records
Not only doctors, but patients can also view their medical records. As discussed above, medical records contain past health history, allergies, surgeries, prescriptions, and more. This helps providers to diagnose patients better, as they’ve complete knowledge of their past medical conditions.
3. Claims Management
As discussed above, these EHR features work in the same way as for patients and doctors. The claims management feature helps patients to submit error-proof documents. Thus, preventing claims denials in the future. Automated claims management saves plenty of time for patients and ensures timely reimbursements.
As explained in the automated scheduling section, patients can book checkups at any time of the day. EHR integrated appointment scheduler makes it possible for patients to check free slots and book their appointments accordingly.
Online scheduling is an ideal option for people with tight routines. The only time of the day they’re free is either at night or early hours of the day. These people can schedule their appointments outside business hours.
Other Vital Features
1. HIPAA Compliance
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rule sets up security standards for protecting ePHI (Protected Health Information) that is created by CE (Covered Entity) and BA (Business Associate).
HIPAA security rules encompass the administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect ePHI. For EHR, data is encrypted for secure transmission and to prevent breaches. Healthcare developers need to address the following features while incorporating compliance in EHR.
- Auditing functions
- ePHI encryption
- Backup and recovery routines
- User-based access control
- Unique IDs and strong password
- Auto time-out
- Amendments and accounting of disclosures
- Emergency access
Apart from this, with Meaningful Use and a certified EHR system, physicians can communicate online with their patients. It has the appropriate mechanism to support compliance and physicians should avoid other means of communication.
2. EHR Integrations
Developers can plan out integrations during the initial stages of the EHR software development. This saves last minute hustles and allows healthcare developers to work seamlessly throughout the development cycle.
The primary aim of EHR integration is to ensure patient-centric care that’s secure and efficient. For instance, with a HIPAA-compliant integrated EHR system, healthcare providers can keep away potential cyber threats. Further, EHR-integrated patient portals provide access to medical records from any device. Thus, ensuring seamless health treatment.
Patients can check their lab results, prescriptions, and medical history through EHR-integrated patient portals. Not only this, medical billing software can be integrated with EHR as well. This ensures seamless invoice generation, claims to process, and payments management and users can have access to their payment history.
Integrations are preferred over developing the feature as it saves time for developers and doesn’t complicate the system with codes or user interface.
To know more about EHR features and to get an EHR software developed for your organization, just get in touch with Arkenea. With over 12 years of experience in the healthcare software development field, our team of experts delivers a high-quality product that meets your standards and needs.