What is an Electronic Health Record Software or EHR? An Electronic Health Record software (EHR) is a secured digital version of a client’s health record. It includes all aspects of the client’s record, including intake information, electronic copies of documents, treatment history, clinical notes, to name a few. In Canada, an EHR system must provide for the protection of Personal Health Information (PHI) in its record-keeping along with user rights, as provided for in Canadian laws and privacy principles.
An Electronic Health Record Software helps health care companies achieve three primary goals: (1) Save time and money; (2) improve security (3) improve compliance.
Save time and money
When the principal cost driver in your health care company is labour cost, saving time and increasing efficiencies have a huge impact on your bottom line (1 hr. per day = 10-15K/year). Here are five ways in which an Electronic Health Record Software can help to save time and reduce costs.
1. Duplicate data entries require more staffing
Some companies use a combination of several software programs and manual processes to manage their clients. As a result, the same information is entered in multiple places and multiple times. For instance:
- Bio-data – Excel, HCAI, QuickBooks, letters, notes
- Treatment charges – paper log or Excel, HCAI or Billing software, QuickBooks
A case manager, for instance, may average 80-100 entries per month for a client. If the daily activities are recorded on an Excel or manual template and re-recorded again (in HCAI) for invoicing, the total number of entries is now amplified. As a result, this company spends several extra hours each month on a double, triple, and even quadruple entries.
An integrated single-entry EHR software will reduce the number of entries. Your case manager or therapist enters her time directly into the client file (against the OCF plan in case of MVA). She sees the balances or number of sessions used and remaining. The software alert system advises of any overbilling. In this scenario, she requires no spreadsheet for tracking or notebook to record and keep track of her work. Her entries are cued to be an invoice and validated by the system for conformity. It’s easy, efficient and accurate!
Not only does the EHR track plans, balances and billing, it also computes payroll or contractor charges based on services provided.
The key time-saver: Avoid duplication of entries.
2. Storing information on a server is time-consuming
A recent survey suggests that 65% of Healthcare companies store their documents in folders on a network or local server. In-house employees navigate to the desired client folder to retrieve or save files. Therapists and employees, working outside of the office, have limited or no access to their client files, or in some cases, unrestricted access to all of the company’s files. In the former case, the completion of tasks is done by support staff in the office. These disparate and disconnected systems require layers of duplicated effort to coordinate, execute and track routine tasks.
There is the usual cost to set up and maintain the local server and maintenance of the client folders. Additionally, in-house servers have to be maintained, antivirus protected and backed-up. Compare this approach with an EHR system with integrated document storage capabilities. Upload your documents to your client file where it is stored securely and accessed by those with permission to do so. Whether you are in the office, at a conference, or at home, accessing your client files and documents is easy and secure. With 24×7 access to their client files, your therapists are empowered to perform any number of tasks without the intervention of support staff. Here are a few examples:
- draft, review or submit treatment plans;
- work on or review documents, progress notes and reports;
- access tasks, reminders and receive or post updates;
- post billing items, etc.
Key Lesson: Replace your in-house server system with an EHR system to improve efficiency.
3. Integrated Notes, Reminders and Task management saves time
Task management, notes, reminders are critical to the day-to-day management of a successful healthcare company. Although, a significant number of therapists still carry a paper Day-Timer of some sort, email, calendar and phone are the most common task management tools. These tools are familiar and flexible but come with questionable levels of efficiency requiring a significant amount of time to administer, at both ends.
Replace these critical tools with an EHR software with integrated Notes, Reminders and Task management tools provides 24×7 access to client information and tracking. Policy and process-driven tools provide automatic triggers and alerts; reminders and notifications are easy to action. Alerts allow support staff and therapists to identify and address issues in a timely and effective manner. With updates to clients-records shared across the organization in real-time, both staff and therapists know what the next steps are with the least amount of effort and uncertainty.
Overall, an integrated Notes, Reminders and Task management system is more streamlined and requires less time to administer. It is a time saver!
4. Program integration saves time
Program integration on an EHR is another time-saver. The EHR does most of the work. Let’s see how.
Preparing correspondence, reports, client notes are routine tasks in every healthcare sector. Preparation and transmission can incur many hours each month. Working with Templates (such as Microsoft Word) saves time; however, it stops short of a full mail merge, requiring additional editing and manual entry.
An EHR solution, with an integrated mail-merge system, produces professionally designed and personalized letters and reports, produces high-quality documents with the click of a few buttons. This system pulls information from various parts of the client and case file, improving both the efficiency and accuracy of the outputted document. For instance, an EHR software will produce a thank-you letter to a referring company with the same degree of accuracy and consistency in just a few mouse-clicks.
Whether you bill your clients through an accounting program (QuickBooks), Excel (or through the HCAI website), you enter and re-enter the same set of billing information for each billing cycle. Compare this approach with an Electronic Health Record software that is integrated with QuickBooks (or HCAI). This integration transfers your clients, invoice and payment to QuickBooks with a single click, saving you hours of data entry each month.
In the preceding, we looked at four ways in which an EHR software saves time, improves accuracy and overall efficiency. Let’s look at some other benefits.
5. Work from anywhere anytime
With Skedulex EHR, you could work from anywhere and at any time. This means having full access to all the incredible features of your EHR, such as an integrated HCAI, a full calendar system, document management, secure file transfer — all of which can help you provide improved care and superb client experience. This type of fully connected, rehab therapy-specific practice management solution or PMS, empowers you to provide efficient, patient-centred care—which is crucial in today’s competitive environment.
6. Provide better service to your clients
A good EHR system empowers you to provide better care, better customer service and achieve better clinical outcomes for your clients. Consider all of the extra time you can devote to your clients when you are not searching through stacks of paper looking for a misplaced file or simply filing paper or juggling templates. With a cloud-based EHR, such as Skedulex Case Management Software, all your files are located in one place. Additionally, you may document or chart your files from anywhere and at any time, and especially from the comfort of your own home. The ability to add to your patients’ charting at your leisure makes your documentation more efficient. EHR is also searchable; thus, with a few keystrokes and minimal investment of time, you find what is most important to you.
Health care is a competitive profession. Your clients’ first impressions matter. Whether your clients look at your website, your office, or your documentation, the image you project is crucial in creating and building a healthy brand. Imagine the image you project when you’re flipping through sheets of client charts looking to refresh your memory about the previous sessions. A good EHR system, on the other hand, allows you to present your documentation in an organized and professional manner. Your EHR software projects a modern, tech-savvy feeling.
7. Greater compliance
Electronic Health record software comes with a variety of features that help you to deal with ever-changing regulations and reporting requirements, and remain compliant. Today, the sheer number of requirements that a rehab therapist or counsellor must adhere to can be daunting. For many therapists, it is impossible to remain compliant without the help of software. Skedulex EHR software also provides training and on-going help to keep you abreast with industry and regulatory changes.
How much will such a system costs?
This article is not intended to provide an exhaustive cost-benefit analysis of investing in a case management software. Its objective is to highlight a few key cost-saving considerations in an increasingly competitive sector.
Each business is unique in the combination of its business culture, use of technology and service delivery. Chances are, however, an integrated case management system may save your company money. Look at it this way. If your therapist saves 30 minutes per month using an integrated case management system, the system will pay for itself.
The added benefits of such a system are a definite bonus: PHI data security; accountability and transparency, automatic backup and disaster recovery; data encryption; better quality, up-to-date and more complete client records.
Ask for a DEMO! This will allow you to see firsthand the software, its features and possible solutions to your challenges. You will also get a price and be able to ask questions and get answers to your questions.
Electronic Health Records Software EHR