September 27, 2021 | Net Health

6 min read

6 Key Features for an Effective EHR System

An electronic health record (EHR) system is the program that gives digital structure to patient and provider data. In practice, though, it can be so much more. The top EHR companies and systems not only provide a critical framework for workflow, but they can also be one of the most impactful tools to help streamline operations, deliver better patient care, and drive a stronger bottom line.

Of course, this is only the case if you know what to look for when picking out the right EHR system for your practice. Here, we’re going to look at six of the most important features necessary to deliver these impactful results.

1. EHR Customization and Flexibility

One size does not fit all when it comes to treating patients, and the same can be said when it comes to EHR system integrations. The size of an operation, the scope of services offered, and the processes already in place can all have a marked impact on what the ideal solution looks like.

What this means is that finding an EHR that comes with flexibility and customization options out of the box is important. Otherwise, you may find that what is supposed to solve problems ends up creating more issues and bogs down efficiency.

If an EHR is too rigid and the support for customization isn’t advertised as a leading feature, you may be rolling the dice.

2. Patient Engagement

One of the most powerful features of top EHR systems is the ability to engage with patients effectively and efficiently. Through the use of a patient portal and automated patient communication features, providers are able to deliver better care in a more streamlined manner.

What does this look like in practice?

  • Patients are able to self-register online.
  • Patient benefits are automatically identified in the system.
  • Secure, HIPPA-compliant messages allow the facility and staff to communicate safely and securely.
  • Clinicians have easy and secure access to patient balances, statements, and payments.

Patient Communication

In addition to the aforementioned benefits, a great EHR system comes with a robust suite of patient communication features. This could include appointment reminders, NPS tracking, and home exercise programs for existing patients.

Electronic Patient Eligibility Verification

The ability to complete tasks in real-time in healthcare is the key to efficiency. One area in which top EHRs shine is the ability to instantaneously verify insurance coverage and patient eligibility right at check-in. It can quickly eliminate the need for unnecessary back and forth and let your patients know right away what is and is not covered.

Marketing Support

As we mentioned, an EHR has the potential to be so much more than just the functional framework for your digital data and processes. Another area where top EHR solutions make a difference is with marketing. By helping with reputation management, automatically identifying ideal patients for reviews, and benchmarking your practice against national standards, unique opportunities to showcase your practice become visible.

3. Systems Integration

Customization and flexibility are not just front-end considerations. The ability to integrate with existing systems is a must. Even if an EHR system offers a laundry list of features, if it cannot integrate with hospital and large healthcare organization systems, it won’t do you any good.

Here are a few systems integration considerations when deciding on whether an EHR system is right for your team’s current setup:

  • Does it come with single system billing capabilities?
  • Is it coded with Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), the standard in higher-level healthcare, or does it require a costly API to work?
  • Can you access outcomes, key performance indicators and patient engagement tools under one log-in?
  • What is the required training to get your team up to speed? Is there sufficient technical support to make that a simple process?

Out of all the factors that go into a top EHR system, this is where you’ll find the most hard-stop deal breakers.

4. Business Intelligence

While the chief goal is, and will always be, offering the best care possible to patients, that’s only possible when we have the resources needed to get the job done. In other words, a higher level of efficiency across the board and stronger bottom line enables us to optimize care. 

The key to these two supplementary goals is data. A strong EHR system not only helps to collect the right data points, but it can help to extract meaningful trends that can drive actionable changes.

Whether that’s with scheduling, resource management, identifying underserved markets, or opportunities to trim costs and drive revenue, your EHR should be at the forefront of the fight.

5. Predictive and Descriptive Analytics

The future of healthcare is predictive analytics. And while many might assume this only refers to using artificial intelligence (AI) to predict patient outcomes, the horizon is actually much wider, especially when predictive analytics are paired with the right EHR solution.

Some of the ways predictive analytics can be used to impact care:

  • Identify patients at risk for self-discharges and no-shows for physical therapy visits
  • Compare patient data with demographic data to predict risk level for rehab therapy patients
  • Predict healing rates for chronic wounds
  • Predict risk for amputation for chronic wound patients
  • Automatically measure wounds with digital images
  • Predict risk for adverse events, such as falls, pressure ulcers, hospitalizations, mortality, return to skilled nursing facility
  • Predict levels of impairment in activities of daily living, cognition, mood and pain
  • Optimize value-based payment models
  • Predict healthcare outcomes
  • Identify the treatment interventions most likely to be successful

6. Telehealth

Speaking of the future, telehealth is another area we expect to see a lot of growth and further demand from patients even past the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The ability to meet patients where they are and in a manner that they want is something that providers and EHR solutions need to be prepared to manage. As data and interactions become decentralized, does the EHR solution you’re looking at have the proper parameters in place to deal with the added challenges? 

Learn about the the future of healthcare with this article about Digital MSK and Digital PT

Is This a Reality or a Unicorn?

The term unicorn is often used to describe what sounds too good to be true and that don’t actually exist outside of our imaginations. Is an EHR system that encompasses all of these features a unicorn or a reality?

Net Health’s innovative EHR solution is built in a way that’s ready to capitalize on the technological advancements of tomorrow. If you’re looking for a flexible, robust, and ultra-powerful EHR solution that integrates seamlessly, reach out to schedule a demo and learn how our innovative physical therapy software, rehab therapy solutions, wound care solutions and analytics for post-acute care can make your providers more efficient.

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