My husband and I are remodeling our home. I mean “down to the studs” remodeling in some areas. There is nothing like having the proper tools to reduce the workload and stress of a laborious task. We marveled at some of these tools, like the dry wall lift when we were placing new dry wall on our ceiling, and have come to appreciate their specific functions.
Therapy facilities have many tools at their disposal for treating patients; knowledgeable staff, state of the art equipment and best practice treatments. However, one of the best tools a therapy facility can have is an electronic medical records (EMR) system. Below we have listed five things to look for when considering an EMR system.
Therapy EMR Selection – Our Top Five Must Haves
- Integrated Workflow – One of the top items to look for is an integrated workflow that an EMR system can bring to the facility. An integrated system will allow all departments of the facility to maintain constant patient information without interruptions or delays from the patients scheduling and check-in, to medical documentation, and finally to the completion of the revenue cycle. Many EMR systems will naturally drive the charges from the therapist’s documentation to the billing system with one stroke of a key. The ability to your staff to have access to their specific job information or data is a huge benefit to the facility in regards to time, money and effort.
- Ability to Design Documentation Templates – Another feature of many EMR systems is the ability to design or manipulate documentation templates to fit the specific needs of the facility and to help the facility comply with certain regulatory guidelines. Most EMR systems will allow you to customize your own templates or provide support from their staff to help modify the templates that are in the system. This benefits the facility in many ways including faster and more concise documentation while increasing the quality of the documentation. We all know that patient documentation is an auditing arena and having the ability to customize your patient’s information is key to a successful facility.
- Alerts for Regulatory or Insurance Requirements – Another item to look for when choosing an EMR system is the ability of the EMR system to alert or flag specific staff members for any regulatory or insurance contracted items that needs to be addressed. Such items included in many of the EMR systems is the ability to track the certification and recertification of the plans of care, alert therapists to any Correct Coding Initiative edits, or CCI edits, that require certain modifiers to be added, or track the 10th day treatment visit. Having a system watching out for those specific regulatory and contract issues will allow the facility to be more compliant and can also increase the revenue of the facility.
- EMR Updates for Regulatory Changes– When deciding on an EMR company, make sure that you ask about how the EMR company’s staff keeps up on the ever changing regulatory world. How do they roll out updates to the system? How do they introduce such items to their clients and do they have education opportunities such as webinars, notices or PowerPoints at their clients disposal. Also, do they have support staff personnel on hand during your office hours to help your staff member with an issue they encounter with the system? Ask them if they have other clients that would be willing to talk with you about the system. Most EMR companies have a long list of clients willing to share their experiences.
- EMR Reporting Function – One of the last items to look for when purchasing an EMR system is the ability of the system to pull other useful, pertinent data for the facility. Items such as insurance aging, patient statement aging, and patient responsibility collections are a few of the items that most EMR systems have. Others may have more detail reports such as auditing tools regarding the Medicare therapy caps or verification of patient benefits. Some EMR systems allow you to create your own reports, while other will create a custom report for your facility for a fee. The data that is stored in your EMR system can be a very valuable tool for your facility.
Hopefully these top five items will assist you in your therapy EMR selection. There are many therapy EMR systems out there for therapy services and you will have to decide which one is best for your facility. Hopefully with the five items we covered above will help you along your way. No matter what you choose, make sure that the EMR tool works for you.
Thank you to Angela Cox, from BridgesPT for this guest post. Angela is certified in healthcare compliance, has been a therapy practice co-owner, a compliance officer and privacy officer. She has extensive expertise in therapy billing and has worked with multiple therapy EMR systems.