What Are The Benefits Of Adopting A Specialty EHR?


Electronic health records (EHRs) have vastly improved patient care coordination and delivery. Every medical practice aims to achieve accurate and thorough EHR documentation. Medical transcription outsourcing plays a significant role in making the process of clinical documentation efficient and freeing up providers to focus on the patient. With continual technology upgrades, practices can now implement a medical specialty-specific EHR. From cardiology, neurology, pediatrics, dermatology, and behavioral health, EHR requirements vary across specialties. With customized templates and a host of other features, specialty specific EHRs can support workflows to meet the specific needs of medical specialists. Let’s take a look at the benefits of a specialty-specific EHR.

  • Special features to cater to the niche: A specialty-specific EHR is all-in-one solution that enhances the efficiency of the practice and allows the provider to manage all aspects of patient care. For example, a ipatientcare.com lists the features of a cardiology EHR as:
    • Dashboard that comprises built-in MACRA for MIPS reporting to avoid penalties
    • Patient engagement portal and access to the practice with ability for patients to self-serve and make online payment securely
    • Extensive cardiology-specific templates with built-in cardiology specific codes
    • Checklist of past/present (CAD, IDOM, CVA and other heart conditions)
    • Diagnostic equipment interfacing
    • Medication tracking mechanisms
    • Palpation with PMI, heart sounds and pulse functions
    • Capability to identify patients for clinical trials
    • Manage reports

Specialty EHRs are flexible, operate efficiently in all conditions, and help providers in creating a comprehensive centralized patient record.

  • Improves quality of patient care: Specialty-specific software improves the quality of care for patients. They can improve accessibility to patient records, allowing providers to evaluate key information pertaining to the patient prior to the scheduled appointment. For example, a quality cardiology EHR comes with add-ons like built-in checklists that ask patients for a full family medical history, which provides a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s health risks. This allows the specialist to process actionable information at all points, improve the clinical decision-making process, and meet the patient’s specific needs at a faster pace. Specialty EHRs can have a positive impact on the quality of patient care as well as the patient experience.
  • Improves workflow and processes: Most practices have uniform charting and workflow processes, but an EHR that is custom-built for a specialty will make charting and recording-keeping quicker, and more accurate and efficient. This will have a direct impact on diagnosis and patient outcomes. For example, neurologists treat complex disorders and have unique requirements in the evaluation, diagnosis, management, and follow-up of patients with neurologic diseases. In addition to detailed medical documentation of history and physical examination, a neurology-specific EHR would support specialty-specific neurophysiologic testing (e.g., electromyography/nerve conduction studies, EEG, evoked potential studies, neuroradiologic imaging (i.e., MRI, CT), and more. The neurologist can choose and set up modules and templates to automatically obtain patient data and add notes during the visit, eliminating errors and redundancies, and duplicate data entry. Overall, a customized system improves documentation and specialty-specific workflows, and enhances practice productivity.
  • Saves time and eases specialty-specific clinician burnout: A specialty-specific system is streamlined to meet a particular specialty’s needs. It is designed with templates and information for that specialty. As the study authors of a University of Texas Science Center in Houston study explained, “A bespoke EHR is an EHR custom designed to meet the unique needs of providers in a specific specialty or care setting. Bespoke EHR can prevent clinicians from spending a significant portion of their workday sifting through large amounts of clinical data for the specific data elements they need” (ehrintelligence.com/news). The study found that specialty-specific and physician-centered workflow improved clinical efficiency for users and delivered reports quickly. For example, while the average delay time for an EEG report is nearly 15 hours, the specialty-specific HER delivered EEG reports on the same day.
  • Accurate documentation: Proper and detailed documentation of the clinical examination is crucial to accurately diagnosing and following progression of complex conditions such as neurological disorders. Specialty-specific EHR software is designed to promote error-free, timely documentation with functionalities like the end to end documentation of patient notes, medical history, and lab reports. Medical transcription companies support the process with customized documentation for all major medical specialties and sub-specialties.
  • Integration with other office systems: Custom EHRs can integrate with the other practice software, which simplifies implementation, improves clinical workflow, and supports efficient billing workflow, communication, and patient engagement. By integrating with the practice management software, a specialty-specific EHR can decrease no-shows, and improve patient satisfaction and engagement, scheduling, billing, payment processing, and communication.
  • Meets specialty-specific billing requirements: Physicians providing specialized care have different medical billing and coding requirements. EHR systems with specialty specific features offer access to templates and codes relevant to the provider’s niche, allowing easy reporting with specific ICD-10 codes to identify the reason for the visit.  By automating processes such as scheduling, billing due dates and patient tracking, these value-added systems allow physicians to focus on delivering high-quality care rather than cumbersome administrative tasks, going a long way to improve the administrative aspects of the practice and bottom line.

 Choosing a Specialty EHR – Key Considerations

The best specialty EHRs include the advanced features described above. Keeping the following considerations in mind can help you choose a specialty EHR:

  • Flexibility to meet your specialty’s needs
  • Scalability to accommodate all the providers in your specialty practice
  • Technology that improves patient engagement
  • Secure HIPAA compliant messaging to enhance patient-physician communication
  • System architecture – must be directly installed on computer servers and accessible from anywhere
  • Seamless integration with relevant practice tools
  • Real-time insights
  • Support for telehealth consultations

Specialty EHRs are built with custom features, reports, and templates to match personalized needs. Proper EHR training and education are essential to optimize the use of these systems. Medical transcription outsourcing to a company that provides custom EHR documentation solutions for healthcare specialists can help providers streamline and coordinate effective care.