Maintaining your records via electronic health records (EHR) system offers many benefits for you and your chiropractic patients. The University of Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine outlines just a few of the advantages of electronic patient files, some of which include making fewer errors, greater ease when keeping track of patients’ conditions and overall health, improved doctor-patient communication, and having immediate access to patient information, thus saving time and improving productivity during and after treatment sessions.
That said, there are pieces of hardware that, when used with your EHR, can maximize your system and experience, simplifying your network (and your practice) as a result. These pieces of hardware can be broken down by three key areas: your reception area, your waiting room, and patient treatment rooms.
Reception Area Hardware
When it comes to your reception area, an EHR server is a must. Put simply; a server is an electronic device that is responsible for storing all of your patient and office records. In other words, it does for you what a hard drive does for a computer, keeping all of your important information in one easy-to-access location.
For the best possible user experience, this server should be a desktop computer. This machine enables you to access the system with greater ease while using a device that is stationary and difficult for someone to remove.
Waiting Room EHR Recommendations
For your waiting room, the best hardware to use with your EHR system is two laptops. One should be a standard laptop used for returning or follow up patients. The second should be a 2-in-1 laptop that, while available for use to patients coming back for follow-up, also addresses the needs of your new patients as well, by offering the ability to do tasks such as completing intake forms.
For these waiting room laptop devices, it’s recommended to use a monitor that is 12 inches or larger. Having a larger screen improves the experience for patients with vision issues. This hardware benefit ultimately reduces patient reliance on staff, thereby increasing office productivity.
Best Treatment Room EHR Hardware
For the best EHR user experience, it’s also helpful to have a client machine in each of your treatment rooms. This option gives you access to important and necessary patient information when it’s needed most—during a chiropractic treatment session.
This client machine should either be a standard desktop computer or an all-in-one (which, if you’re not familiar with this particular term, basically means that the computer monitor and hard drive is all one unit as opposed to a computer that has a separate monitor and hard drive). Choosing a computer with touchscreen capabilities is also advised, allowing you to navigate through the EHR more effortlessly.
As mentioned previously, it’s advisable to use a monitor greater than 12 inches. The increased monitor size also makes information more comfortable to see for you and your patients while improving touch capabilities.
One Final Piece that Puts It All Together…
The one final piece of hardware that is necessary for an optimally-functioning EHR system, the device which brings all of these other pieces of hardware together, is a router. In simplistic terms, a router is the master communicator, sharing information from one device to the others.
For the best experience possible, this router should be reasonably new, or at least no more than five years old. As pointed out in the Popular Science article titled “Death of a Computer,” electronic components start to fail over time. They become less efficient, which means they need to be replaced every few years to maintain system proficiency. Your router should also be password protected. This level of security makes it harder for a hacker to gain access to your confidential information.
Regarding connectivity, ideally, your server should be hard wired (wired directly) to your router. This setup allows for optimal data transfer rates reducing latency or lag time for all other connected computers.
Upgrading to mirrored hard drives, providing you an added level of security when it comes to protecting the privacy of your patients and the integrity of your office. For example, if one of your hard drives crash, the other will continue to work with no data loss or downtime. The broken hard drive can be quickly pulled out and replaced.
Finally, depending on the EHR or practice management software, a wireless connection to the other pieces of hardware (the client machines in your waiting room and treatment rooms) should be adequate. This setup makes networking easier and mobility smoother throughout the office. Not to mention aesthetically it helps to avoid looking at wires between rooms.
Utilizing these pieces hardware for your EHR system will maximize your user experience while simplifying your networking at the same time. It’s like having the best of both worlds…for patient and doctor alike.