Before we dive into the reasoning behind the continued rise in the number of Electronic Medical Records (EMR), let’s spend a little bit of time on the Speech-Language Pathology industry. The models used by SLPs to record and deliver medical records are transforming day to day. Institutions such as ASHA, individual SLPs across the country, and governing bodies such as insurance companies and Medicare/Medicaid are continuously working to remodel the system today. This leads to a two main questions. Is this a good transformation? What’s the point of going electronic?
Many individuals have negative views because they are familiar with their old ways and the decision is being forced upon them. The response we often hear is “What’s the point of this change?” Employees strongly believe that the current way of doing things works well and think “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!” So, why is there a continual rise in the number of EMRs developed yearly?
Here are a few reasons:
1. Industry specific EMR
Major EMR systems are seeing negative feedback because they are trying to catch all solutions. This has pressed EMR software today to become industry specific. There are starting to be EMRs and tailored for the SLPs, therapists, and also doctors. No matter what your industry, you should get the right EMR software based on your clinical needs. It is important that you take the time to review each of the available software. Create a needs checklist and have it with you while making your decision. Try avoiding big companies that offer a range of services as they do not specialize on your specific needs.
2. The incentive for EMR use
When a pathologist, therapist or doctor adopts an EMR, they will be eligible for the incentive program. Find out more about HERE. However, those who have not adopted an EMR by 2015 will face a reduction of 1% in their Medicare payments, increasing to a 2% reduction in 2016, 3% in 2017, and beyond. The adoption and growth rates were impressive in 2012 to 2014 the demand for specialized and tailored EMRs continues to grow too as this legislation continues.
3. Elimination of human mistakes
Most speech pathologists are expected to write or insert patient medical data electronically directly through an insurance company’s website or through snail mail. Potential mistakes such as the appearance of one patient’s data in another patient’s record, missing data, delay data delivery, and inconsistencies in patient information can happen more easily when not using an EMR. When a speech pathologist uses an EMR software in their practice, they can input data into the software with drop down menu options. This has increased consistency while reducing the time and effort required to in fill out the patient information.
4. Paper recording is severely limited
Much of what can be said about handwritten prescriptions can also be said about handwritten notes. For instance, clinicians usually use their own template, it is shorthand for their record keeping, and the document cannot be electronically shared or stored. It does not have structured data that is computable, hence it’s harder for insurance companies to read and review the data. Almost every industry is now computerized and digitized for rapid data retrieval and trend analysis. Software developers are consistently developing better software throughout all industries to make our world more efficient and effective.
5. Work from anywhere
For a cloud-based EMR, all clinical files and data are stored, shared, and updated in the cloud making medical practice much easier. It can be done anywhere compared to the traditional, server-based, EMR software. Today, a speech pathologist who works from home would be able to access the information from his/her devices anywhere and anytime as needed without having to bring stacks of paperwork home. When a client requests their medical record, the speech pathologist would be able to retrieve the data and get it delivered to them as long as they have access to the internet. With this being said, we take you back to the first reason, choose the right EMR software based on your needs.