According to an article published by Epoch Times, there are many reasons that it’s great to be a chiropractor in today’s day and age. Among them are having a growing patient base (job security), making a comfortable wage while working for yourself (good income potential with no boss).
However, being a chiropractor also means that you need to choose the right software for your practice, a task that many DCs dread. It can be especially confusing when there are so many different options available. So, which one is best?
In order to answer that question for your individual office, you must first understand the difference between the three main types of software—EMR, EHR, and PM—as well as the differences between them. Let’s look at each one now.
EMR – Electronic Medical Records
EMR stands for Electronic Medical Records and this software basically provides you with a digital copy of your patients’ charts. In other words, when you choose to use an EMR over the other options available, you get computer-based access to your patients’ medical history, diagnoses, and treatments and nothing else. No billing. No scheduling. Just medical records.
Although accessing your patients’ history is critical, one big limitation of this type of software is that it isn’t certifiable. This means that there are no minimum criteria that EMR providers must meet when creating their programs. This can easily result in purchasing an EMRs which may or may not meet your chiropractic business-related needs.
Another limitation of using EMR software is that the information it contains cannot be shared with other providers. For instance, if you need to do a referral to another medical provider, you cannot electronically transfer the patient’s medical history. You must copy your records and send them manually, an action requiring more work and effort.
EHR – Electronic Health Records
EHRs, or Electronic Health Records, on the other hand, while similar, are still very different. When you elect to use this type of software, you’re not only able to see a digital chart for your patients, but you’re also able to manage their entire medical record all within the same computer program. No going from one provider to another in order to obtain all of the information as it can all easily be stored in one location.
This reduces staff workload and also limits the likelihood of errors that can easily occur when entering or keeping the same data in two separate locations. Sharing EHRs records with other offices and providers also makes it easier to correspond with them regarding patient needs and services. This reduces the response time as you’re able to forward and receive the necessary information within seconds.
Another advantage of EHRs over EMRs is that EHRs are certifiable. By choosing a certified EHR then, you can rest assured that your electronic system provides a minimum amount of functions required to help you successfully run your practice.
In fact, electing to use an EHR can also help DCs provide “better patient care” according to one national survey of medical professionals, This is due to having greater access to the patient’s complete history, which ultimately means better diagnosis and better treatment outcomes.
PM – Practice Management
The third software option is Practice Management, or PM, software. Oftentimes, PM capabilities can be found within EHR software, which means that the system integrates office management functions such as setting appointments and billing within the patients’ medical records. The primary benefit of this involves utilizing just one system to handle all of your business and patient-related needs.
Additionally, PM software enables non-medical staff to manage administrative tasks without having access to the data they should not be able to view and/or modify. It also assists them with the performance of a variety of patient care services, such as setting up alerts related to scheduling and billing.
Finally, PMs can make it easier to compare patient and demographic data by performing an in-program search. Access to this type of information is critical to helping you make better decisions in regard to operating your growing chiropractic practice.
Knowing the difference between EMRs, EHRs, and PMs makes it possible to make the best software-related decision for your individual business. Certainly, each one offers a different experience, so selecting the right one is important to practice, your patients, and your staff…the three things that matter most.