Running a modern and successful private practice requires managing a secure database. This data includes everything from HIPAA protected patient medical records to insurance information, staff files, and general clinic performance metrics. Having a specialized system that manages all of the said data, keeping it organized and safe, is no longer a perk for high-end private practices but an essential part of every medical practice or clinic, regardless of size.
In today’s digital world, an information management system is the backbone of stable and successful medical practice. However, management systems take time and training to implement, so you need to be sure you’ve found the right solution for your clinic’s specific needs before purchasing software. For example, NextGen is a well-known healthcare information system provider that is affordable and offers countless features, such as advanced data analytics and record management.
Before you make a final decision on which management system or systems to use, be sure to consider all the services and features you do and don’t need, such as:
Practice Management Software
Many businesses across all industries use management software to stay organized as they grow, but a generic management tool won’t cut it in the medical field. Your clinic will need specialized tools, mainly practice management software.
As the name suggests, practice management software’s primary function is helping you manage your clinic by streamlining background tasks and tracking operations to identify and eliminate bottlenecks in productivity.
Electronic Health Record (EHR)
An electronic health record (EHR) is a system that translates all patients’ records into digital files. The data stored includes all sensitive yet critical patient data from medical history and test results to possible allergens and immunization history. EHR can also support other healthcare-related records from other healthcare providers to create a comprehensive image of the patient’s health.
Patient portals help practitioners stay in direct contact with their patients. A portal is a secure online website that allows the patient to view their medical records, using secure credentials to enter, including lab test results, medical history, and diagnosis, among other documents.
Master Patient Index (MPI)
A master patient index is a system that centralizes patient information across multiple healthcare providers and to help keep all recorded information up to date. Each patient gets a unique identification number or code to access their medical records while maintaining maximum privacy and data security.
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
Remote patient monitoring plays a significant role in telehealth operations. The software allows the healthcare provider to access and monitor their patients regardless of location through a secure internet connection. Remote monitoring includes exchanging patient records between healthcare providers; it can also be used to monitor a patient’s vitals, such as blood sugar, pressure, oxygen levels, and heart rate using internet-connected monitors.
Clinical Decision Support (CDS)
Clinical decision support systems present healthcare providers with relevant information that’s person-specific and digitally curated to help them make decisions. As described by HealthIT.gov, “These tools include computerized alerts and reminders to care providers and patients; clinical guidelines; condition-specific order sets; focused patient data reports and summaries; documentation templates; diagnostic support, and contextually relevant reference information, among other tools.”
The Benefits of Using Healthcare Information Systems
Healthcare information management systems vary by provider, and you can choose what level of services and features to invest in. If used correctly, some benefits to looks forward to when implementing one or more of these management systems include:
- Saving Time– Many of those systems, such as EHR, automate and take care of all the mundane background tasks faster than humans. They also manage staff schedules, making sure they’re never under or over-booked.
- Increased Patient Trust– Patients nowadays tend to trust clinics that rely more on technology. Also, systems like patient portals, which increase transparency between doctors and patients, can improve overall trust in a doctor’s decisions.
- Increased Productivity– Software takes care of redundant work and organizes the remaining tasks for your staff. This helps employees stay focused and ensures they use their time as efficiently as possible.
- Data Safety and Security– Replacing paper-bound patient records with digital versions increase safety and security as you can’t lose them, and they’re harder to steal.
- Better Handling of Medical Emergencies– Systems that keep track of a patient’s health will alert you when something’s wrong. Also, a management system allows you to set aside time for emergencies without messing up your schedule.
- Capitalizing on Trends– Data analytics can reveal trends that you can take advantage of to grow your clinic and identify weak points to fix and anomalies to look out and prepare for.
- Reduced Costs– Most management systems are a one-time purchase or an affordable monthly subscription, saving you the costs of hiring more employees.
Software is the Future of Medicine
The medical industry’s future is shifting towards automation and the utilization of software in combination with human expertise. The technology that started as a trend is now an essential part of your clinic that most patients expect. For a prosperous clinic, set aside a portion of your budget and start planning your transition into management systems and automation.