7 Essential EHR Software Features for 2024


Electronic Health Records (EHRs) enhance patient care and streamline medical practice operations. They contribute to improved note accuracy, efficient administrative tasks, better patient care, and increased profitability.

EHRs reduce the burden of administrative responsibilities, such as patient registration, medical history collection, appointment scheduling, payment processing, and insurance claims. These tasks are automated through EHRs, resulting in significant time and cost savings for patients and healthcare providers. Moreover, EHR systems offer seven key EHR features and benefits that can further enhance practice productivity.

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What is EHR Software?

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a digital rendition of a patient’s conventional paper-based medical chart. EHR systems are essential tools for healthcare providers, helping them manage a wide range of patient information, like medical history, lab results, progress notes, and treatment plans. These robust EHR platforms promote seamless collaboration among healthcare professionals across departments and organizations. This reduces medical errors and facilitates convenient storage and retrieval of patient records.

Benefits of EHR Software

Electronic Health Records are real-time, patient-centered digital records that provide instant and secure access to authorized users. These systems are pivotal in facilitating more coordinated and efficient healthcare by enabling rapid access to patient records. This, in turn, empowers healthcare providers to enhance patient care, make more accurate diagnoses, reduce medical errors, and deliver safer treatment.

EHRs contribute to improved patient care and outcomes and boost patient participation in their health management. Furthermore, they streamline care coordination among healthcare teams, leading to more efficient practices. The advantages of EHRs extend to improved diagnostics, better patient outcomes, and significant cost savings within healthcare organizations.

Key Features of EHR Software

The best EHR software features simplify work, cut administrative work, and improve patient care.

Indeed, you know what to look for when choosing the right EHR system for your practice in the following discussion. In that case, we will delve into six critical indispensables in achieving these transformative outcomes.

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1. EHR Software Reduces Medical Errors

Many medical errors occur during the prescription of medications, making it crucial to select the proper Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. An effective EHR should include drug interaction checks, intolerance alerts, and allergy identification when prescribing medications. These capabilities are vital in minimizing the risk of patients experiencing adverse effects from their medications.

When EHRs integrate with pharmacy databases, providers can avoid manual medication input, reducing the chance of errors. Integrated EHRs on all platforms make treatment plans more precise and reduce medical errors. EHR systems functioning in this manner can significantly reduce errors and costs by facilitating improved communication in a user-friendly manner.

2. Access to Complete and Accurate Information

EHRs allow patients and healthcare providers to access patient records conveniently, anytime and anywhere, using tablets and mobile devices. An effective EHR system should enable smooth communication between healthcare providers and patients, ensuring timely care.

For prescribing medication, doctors need essential patient info: age, gender, weight, height, allergies, and drug interactions. This access ensures that healthcare providers can prescribe patients the most accurate and safe medications.

Patients utilizing patient portals or mobile apps can readily access critical information such as medication details, administration instructions, and dosage duration. This user-friendly feature enhances patient comprehension and engagement, fostering a clearer understanding of their healthcare regimen.

3. Lower Operational Costs

Hospitals that have implemented basic EHRs typically enjoy a notable advantage with an average cost reduction compared to their counterparts. The reasons behind this cost-saving phenomenon are both practical and evident. EHR systems effectively diminish the burden of repetitive administrative tasks and promptly highlight potential errors that providers might inadvertently overlook. When performed manually, it substantially enhances the number of billable hours a healthcare facility’s staff can dedicate to direct patient care.

4. EHR Customization and Flexibility

One-size-fits-all solutions may be a better fit for some organizations. The EHR software features should align with your specific needs and requirements. The ideal EHR solution depends on factors like the size of your healthcare facility, the services you offer, and your current processes.

This highlights the importance of immediately selecting an EHR system that offers flexibility and customization options. We offer the ability to create customized tailored to your needs. Our EHR solutions are built based on your specific requirements. We provide ready-to-use components that expedite the development of EMR systems efficiently and cost-effectively.

5. Patient Engagement

One of the most crucial features of the best EHR systems is patient engagement. Patients can access their health records, receive timely reminders and notifications through patient portals or mobile apps, and easily connect with their healthcare providers.

Here are some critical features for patient engagement:

  • Online registration for Electronic Medical Records (EMR).
  • Self-scheduling of appointments.
  • Fill out intake forms via mobile devices before appointments.
  • Ability to electronically sign consent forms.
  • Access to medical records for a better understanding of their health.
  • Receive educational materials.
  • Convenient online payment and access to account details on their portals.
  • Secure and HIPAA-compliant messaging for safe communication with healthcare facilities and staff.

6. Customizable Templates

Accurate clinical notes are pivotal in documenting patient interactions, treatment plans, diagnoses, medical procedures, and the corresponding codes. Healthcare providers can optimize their clinical note-taking process by employing encounter templates or intelligent forms to simplify workflow. Intelligent forms utilize automation to expedite and enhance the precision of clinical documentation.

To enhance charting efficiency within Electronic Health Records. Healthcare providers can utilize customized form templates tailored to their specific practice needs. These adaptable templates can be customized according to medical specialties, procedures, or unique patient conditions.

7. Electronic Patient Eligibility Verification & Prior Authorizations

In healthcare, real-time task completion is essential for efficiency. When Electronic Health Records (EHR) are integrated with a clearinghouse, the system can instantly check a patient’s insurance eligibility during check-in. This integration also provides detailed insurance coverage reports, helping patients and providers understand which services are covered and the required copay amount. This real-time information ensures providers can deliver services knowing they’ll be compensated.

Electronic prior authorization represents one of the numerous ways EHR systems enhance the standard of patient care. Instead of the labor-intensive task of manually completing prior authorization requests, healthcare providers can simplify the process by utilizing an electronic prior authorization feature within their EMR system. This automation empowers providers to automatically trigger prior authorizations for any necessary prescriptions and pre-fill responses using data already documented in patient records, effectively saving valuable time.

Things to Consider When Selecting a New EHR System

There are many variables to account for when you’re in the market for a new EHR system. Ensure you evaluate the EHR/EMRs complete feature set and understand how upfront costs, maintenance costs, and add-ons will impact your budget. It’s a long-term investment.

Below are discussed things that need to be considered while selecting a new EHR system-

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1. Industry & User Experience

Ensure EHR vendors’ history in healthcare, how satisfied their customers are, and whether they regularly update and improve their system.

2. Customization and Growth Potential

EHR systems can be customized to fit your practice’s unique way of working and can grow with your practice as it expands.

3. Features and Functions

The essential EHR features are managing patient records, e-prescriptions, lab integration, and billing, to meet your clinical and administrative requirements.

4. Interoperability

For seamless data sharing, EHR should efficiently work with other healthcare systems, such as labs, radiology, and health information exchanges.

5. Compliance

Ensure the EHR complies with the HIPPA rules and standards, like Meaningful Use or other government regulations.

6. Usability and User Interface

Pick an EHR with a simple, user-friendly design that your healthcare staff can quickly get used to. Try it out with user trials or demos.

Conclusion

In summary, Electronic Health Records (EHRs) offer numerous advantages for medical practices, including improved revenue and enhanced patient care. However, it’s essential to acknowledge their potential drawbacks. To make the right choice, assess your practice’s specific needs. When selecting an EHR system, prioritize reputable vendors with experience, customization options, regulatory compliance, costs, and customer feedback.

FAQ

1. What are the primary features and functions of an EHR system?

An EHR system is designed to digitize and manage patient data efficiently. Its main functions include:

  • Patient Record Management
  • Appointment Scheduling
  • E-Prescribing
  • Lab/Radiology Integration
  • Clinical Notes/Customise Intake Forms
  • Patient Engagement

2. Which is a crucial feature of an EHR but not of an EMR?

The key feature of an Electronic Health Record not typically found in an Electronic Medical Record is interoperability. Interoperability refers to the EHR’s ability to seamlessly exchange patient information with other healthcare systems, organizations, and providers. EHRs can facilitate data sharing and communication across different healthcare settings and systems, allowing for more coordinated and comprehensive patient care. In contrast, EMRs are generally designed to manage patient records within a single healthcare organization or practice. While EMRs focus on the storage and management of patient data within a specific facility.

Ganesh Varahade

Founder & CEO of Thinkitive Technologies.

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