General Surgery EHR Software Buyers Guide
Last updated: December 04, 2023
General Surgery EHR — Successfully Set Yourself Up
Don’t be fooled into purchasing a ‘General EHR product’ for your ‘General Surgery’ practice. Despite the label you know your niche has unique challenges in your day to day functioning—there’s nothing ‘General’ about it. Your EHR (electronic health record) package is supposed to help you manage these problems and even prevent some of them from happening.
But you’ll only have those victories if you find a product relevant to your niche. And unfortunately, the market is filled with options, which leaves many general surgeons confused about where they’ll really get value for money.
Read through the information below and you’ll know exactly which software to invest in.
Start Off With the Right Foundation
Certain features are standard—or rather, they should be. An EHR isn’t of much value with at least these fundamental features:
- User-friendly interface: You need your staff (and you) to feel comfortable using it from the start. It must be intuitive and learning curves should be short.
- Quality services from vendor: Make sure you’ll get support whenever you need it, such as getting you back online if the system goes down. You must keep downtime to a minimum. If it’s not hosted on your premises, also ask for proof that they use secure servers.
- Easy integration: Your EHR software must be integrated with your existing programs, as well as machines (e.g. printers) and medical equipment.
- Billing module: One of the main services an EHR should provide is helping you improve your billing structure. With this you can enjoy the benefits of a streamlined administrative process and you’ll even see your bottom line improve. For this to happen your EHR must be loaded with ICD-10 codes so your claims will be error-free going forward.
These features will help you see a high ROI quickly as it can save you time and effort, as well as improve your income. So, discuss these aspects with your service provider before committing, no matter how impressive the more advanced aspects (see below) seem to be.
The Empowering Services of the Right EHR for General Surgery
Templates Relevant for Your Niche
If you want to glide through your days and get more done than before, technology shouldn’t be hampering your workflow—it should improve it. With the right General Surgery EHR, you get templates relating to situations you’ll often come across. These you’ll use on a daily basis to reach diagnoses faster, such as:
- Chief complaints
- Symptom reviews
- Physical exams
- A plan of treatment
- Surgery specific templates relating to (for example):
- Hernia repairs
- Breast or other masses
The software must help you manage pre and post-surgery appointments.
Important: If you find EHR products that allow for customization, even better. You know your habits and areas of expertise, so change your software accordingly to help you work even faster.
Forms for Every Occasion
Your EHR should easily help navigate a large amount of documentation related to general surgery:
- Intake forms
- Consent forms
- Patient charts
Patients can fill in forms online and it will become part of their files immediately—no time wasted on doing it manually (also avoiding human error on your staff’s part).
Once again, customization is a valuable extra. Some software allows you to incorporate local clinics’ forms into your system so it’s easy to network with them.
Note: Having digital signing services helps you limit printing costs.
Educate Your Patients
Part of your patients’ eventual recoveries will be determined by:
- Their understanding of their conditions
- Whether they look after themselves properly
It’s your responsibility to educate them and high-end EHR software will help you get this right. You can access and share information or literature during a consultation, or send it to the patient via email.
Having surgery specific body charts also help during the course of an examination. Not only does it help you explain in detail to patients, but it helps you document information which will improve the accuracy of your work.
It’s one of the best things to discover about any software program: Shortcuts. It’s a small feature that makes a huge difference.
When you can simply use a keyboard shortcut or right-click menu, you don’t have to waste time browsing multiple menus trying to find the function you need. This could save you a few seconds at a time, which adds up to quite a few minutes at the end of the day. This means you’ll have more time, you can see more patients and you’ll access vital information quicker.
To enjoy these benefits your EHR must be embedded with General Surgery related shortcuts.
You don’t work in isolation and your EHR should empower you to streamline processes, not hamper them. This relates to:
- Connecting to the equipment you use on a regular basis
- Integrating with other medical entities such as laboratories
- Communicating with other experts for referrals; ideally, your software should easily communicate with theirs
Solution for Every Stage of Care
You have a unique approach to patient care. You have to look after them in different environments, unlike some medical professionals who, for example, only see patients in consultation rooms. Ideally, your EHR software must have solutions for all steps:
- Before a procedure commences: This can include paperwork and appointment reminders.
- Checking in: Manage consent forms and even allergies, and you save time doing things digitally.
- Procedures: You can dictate as you progress so you have records of everything you’ve done for the day, without wasting time on paperwork or even typing.
- Checking out: A patient’s documentation can be managed via EHR (online).
- After the event: Aftercare is essential, which includes education and billing (all mentioned above).
When your EHR doesn’t cater to one of these steps, you’ll have to navigate between different programs which can waste a lot of time. In the modern age this is unnecessary, so do yourself a favor and pick wisely.
It’s simple: In today’s technologically advanced world the tools are out there to solve day to day issues of your health niche. You simply have to find the ones that align with your needs and now you know how to.
Is there anything you’re still unsure about? Leave a comment below and we’ll help you find a solution.