NOTE: With this blog post, we are beginning a series of posts examining the important features to look for when considering an EHR (Electronic Health Records) system.
One of the important things to assess when considering implementing any EHR system is whether or not the software company is staying abreast of the latest technology improvements, continually developing new features and functionality to make your job of caring for patients more effective.
Let’s look at the example of Telemedicine, which allows doctors to consult with patients remotely. Until very recently, expensive robot systems were needed for this purpose. But now with advancements in technology, it is possible to take advantage of a commonly-known feature found on your cell phone, Facetime. This technology can be integrated into an EHR, eliminating the need for additional costly equipment.
Simply with access to an email address, this new technology allows an EHR to offer several more enhancements to patient care:
- Doctors can consult with patients remotely.
- Family members in another location who have email addresses can be included in the consultation, if desired.
- Additional physicians in other locations, such as specialists, can be included in the consultation, if needed.
The patient clicks on a link provided in an appointment email to launch the telemedicine consultation. A cell phone, tablet or computer can be used for the consultation. On the doctor’s end, the Patient Chart is accessible from within the appointment record itself, which allows the doctor to easily review the chart prior to the appointment and make notes in the chart during the call. This substantially streamlines the process for the doctor, eliminating the need to reference several files or systems during the call and allowing the doctor to fully focus on the patient.
In addition, appointment confirmations and reminders can be automated, reducing administrative time spent on managing appointments. With this feature, an email is sent to the patient with the appointment information. The patient simply responds to confirm, causing the appointment status to automatically update to reflect this confirmation. If the patient does not respond within a time period designated by the facility, only then would a staff person follow up. Reminders are also automated and sent via email. Then, reports can be generated to show the number of automated confirmations, confirmations requiring personnel, no-shows and rescheduled appointments. Reports can also show the result of the consultation, among other data.
HarmoniMD™ ’s integration of Telemedicine Services streamlines the process even further:
1. The information displayed in the Chart can be customized for the specific needs of the telemedicine consultation for a specific facility, allowing the doctor to, for example:
- Submit a request for:
- the patient to be hospitalized
- a consultation for a particular service, including transferring an inpatient to another bed or location (either another department within the same facility, or a transfer to another facility).
- a surgery
- Print reports
- Comply with any regulations the facility may have for such consultations
2. Once a telemedicine appointment ends, the doctor marks it as complete. While this causes it to automatically move to a list of completed appointments, these completed appointments are always available for review, in case a doctor wants to refer to a prior appointment, for example, to see what orders were made.
3. Telemedicine appointments are made in calendars with a great deal of flexibility.
- They can be displayed in a variety of ways to best meet the needs of the various personnel accessing the information: Active and completed appointments alike can be displayed by month, week, day, or a simple list.
- Your facility defines these calendars: They can include a specific set of doctors and/or a specific set of services; They can have different appointment times each day; Each appointment can have the option to be an in-person appointment, a telemedicine appointment, or either; Calendars can last indefinitely or for a set period of time. (This is useful in case the schedule differs during the summer, or from month to month, or even week to week.); And, when needed, appointments can be made outside the set schedule.
As you can hopefully see from this telemedicine example, there are many new, exciting and powerful ways an EHR can assist with providing the best of patient care.
HarmoniMD is on the cutting edge of technology improvements and includes a Telemedicine component among its many features and functionalities. Schedule a no-obligation demonstration to find out more about our breakthrough technology and what it can do for your team and your patients. With success stories all over the world, we are ready to show you how your hospital or clinic will benefit from our affordable, easy-to-use electronic health records system.