The Benefits of Combining EHR and PM Systems

The Benefits of Combining EHR and PM Systems

Electronic health record (EHR) systems are valuable tools. So are medical practice management (PM) systems.

As powerful as they are on their own, when they’re combined, they’re even better. Using them together could help health care offices do so much for their practices and their patients.

Update and access patient information


First and foremost, electronic health records are patients’ health charts in digital formats.

They contain extensive notes about patients’ visits. These records often chronicle:

  • Dates of appointments.
  • Conditions that the appointments addressed and treated.
  • Prescribed medications as well as their dosages and dates.
  • Results of lab tests.
  • Immunization history.
  • How patients reacted to procedures, medications, other treatments, and immunizations.

Given the dynamic nature of health care and medical offices, this information isn’t static. Professionals often revise and add to these records as conditions change.

Once it’s stored in EHRs, medical information could be used in conjunction with medical offices’ other software solutions, such as their practice management (PM) systems.

Since EHRs indicate when appointments have occurred, PM systems could use this data to send patients reminders to schedule follow-ups and other appointments. If EHRs and PMs are connected to online portals, patients could make these appointments themselves.

Work safely with other professionals


Combining EHR and PM systems benefits more than just the office that owns these software programs.

The interaction could help other offices the medical practice works with on a regular basis. For example, a general practitioner may want to send a patient with an eye condition to an eye care specialist for consultation and treatment.

Using EHR and PM systems could make this referral easier. The general practice physician’s practice could use both to gather and send the patient’s pertinent health information to the specialist.

Instead of doing this using physical files that may be lost or stolen, the practices could exchange this information digitally.

Safety is still a consideration, though, and EHRs and PMs help ensure that. To ensure the safety of sensitive and protected health data, a medical office might choose to encrypt the information in the patient’s file.

Encryption is the process of translating information into indecipherable strings of letters and numbers. People who want to understand this information will need tools called keys to decipher it. The general practitioner and specialist could exchange such keys and take other measures, such as using programs to monitor and isolate malicious software, to keep valuable data secure.

Handle sales tasks


Joining EHRs and PMs could also help a health care office’s bottom line by helping make sales easier.

Many practices sell medical aids and devices as part of their commitment to patient care. Eye specialists might sell eyeglasses and contact lenses through their physical locations and/or through their website.

After examinations, medical professionals could enter their patients’ eyewear prescriptions into EHR systems. Patients and opticians could retrieve these prescriptions when they’re choosing eyewear.

Practice management and product-related programs could also help determine which eyewear products are available, place and track orders, update product stock and inventory numbers, generate bills, and perform other tasks.

As an added bonus, software systems could help convert patients into repeat customers. Since they record when patients have visited offices for appointments and when they’ve ordered products, the systems could create and send timely reminders that their specialists are eager to assist them with their current and future needs.

Submit and manage insurance claims


Medical software helps generate revenue by simplifying the sales process, but it could also generate insurance revenue.

Accuracy is one of the major benefits of electronic health records. That is, they’re a comprehensive and accurate chronicle of a person’s medical history.

Thoroughness and correct information are vital when medical providers are submitting claims to their patients’ health insurance providers. Without the correct, complete information, medical professionals may take longer to find the insurance companies’ codes for diagnoses, treatments, and procedures. Or, they may submit the wrong information entirely.

Incomplete or inaccurate information may lead insurance companies to delay or reject claims. Medical offices may need to resubmit information for incomplete claims or submit appeals to dispute ones that have been denied.

Delays mean that offices and patients might be spending additional time on claims, adding frustration to an already-complex process. It also means that insurance companies might also delay their payments to health care offices.

By leveraging accurate information from EHRs and applying it to practice management systems and their insurance processes, medical practices could handle insurance matters and payments easier and quicker.

Incorporate digital patient portals


Integrating EHRs and PMs does more than help medical professionals. It could assist their patients as well.

Both systems could work together to create a digital patient portal. Online portals incorporate all the medical information found in a patient’s electronic health record and use it like a practice management system would.

So, if a patient wants to learn when they’ve had immunizations for certain diseases, they could log into their portal to research this. Once on the portal, they could see listings of the immunizations they’ve received from that particular health care provider.

During this search, the patient might discover that it’s been a while since they received a certain vaccine. Using the patient portal’s communication features, the patient could send a message to their health care professional to ask if they should receive that particular vaccine, and if so, when.

Or, health care providers might search their patients’ records for immunization records. After these searches, they could send reminders to patients via patient portal, email, or text that they might want to schedule immunizations or other preventative services.

Portals help patients and their medical providers stay informed. Like other features of EHR and PM systems, portals are tools that aim to make health care simpler and more efficient for everyone.

Are you looking for ways to incorporate such tools into your own office? Call Eye Care Leaders. We’ll help you choose, install, and unify electronic health record and practice management systems and other solutions that could help you treat patients and manage office tasks.

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