Internal Medicine EHR Software Buyers Guide
Last updated: December 05, 2023
Internal Medicine EMR—How to Identify the Best for Your Practice
In practicing internal medicine, no day is the same. The range of conditions, complaints, and patient reactions is so vast it can actually be challenging to manage. Is there a better way of handling charting, billing, and appointments of such a complex health care niche?
That’s why you need to invest time in not only finding any EMR but a very specific, niche appropriate internal medicine EHR.
What Does a Good EMR Look Like?
Important to note: You can’t settle for any general EMR software package. However, certain features form the foundation of your infrastructure and all EMRs need them. This includes:
- Keeping you secure: You need protection against hacking and your patient data must be kept secure. Your service provider should give you some guarantees, especially if data is hosted on its servers.
- Being user friendly: There’s no sense in implementing technology that will only slow you down. Read reviews to find out if other practices found the EMR software easy to use. Also, ask for training from your vendor so your staff is empowered from the start. The software should be helping, not hampering.
- Backed by quality customer service: You can’t run the risk of systems being down. It affects patient care and revenue. And what if you’re unsure about a software feature? Make sure your vendor will be available when you need a technician.
- Smart layout: The program should facilitate processes with as few clicks as possible, and with the minimum number of windows open so you don’t have to switch between them. Each second you save is one you can use elsewhere.
But this isn’t enough yet. Not if you want to give your patients the optimized care they trust you to provide.
What Does the Ideal Internal Medicine EHR Software Look Like?
When you’re involved in internal medicine you face adult patients on a daily basis, each one unique. Here’s what you need to provide them with quality care in an organized practice environment.
Ready for Anything
Adults visiting your medical rooms will come with one of many ailments, concerns or symptoms. You need to be ready for almost anything. And your EMR must be too.
EMRs that work for certain niches need to support exactly what that niche treats with templates. Templates are important because that’s why EMR software makes sense: Use technology to make a consultation flow faster. With a few clicks you can have charting done instead of wasting valuable minutes writing it down or looking for places to type your notes.
For internal medicine, the number of templates you need is quite large. You face everything from a simple migraine to cardiovascular and diabetes cases. Does the EMR you consider really provide all you need?
Sub Specialties to Consider
You have the option of picking an EMR that caters for every scenario. Alternatively, if you mostly treat certain aspects of internal medicine you may also find specialty EMRs that are relevant for:
- Adolescent medicine
- Hospice practices
- Sports medicine
- Sleep medicine
- Family physicians and GPs
The benefit in using one of these is that you may pay a little less and it will be a little simpler since you don’t need as many templates, forms, and workflows.
Track Problems and Solutions
No matter which option above you pick, for internal medicine you’ll rely heavily on patient history to make an accurate diagnosis. Turn from old school practices of using pen and paper: Digital records work better, they’re more secure and in one glance you can view a patient’s entire story.
One handy tracking tool is having your software remind you (and your patient) about important events such as when a vaccination is due. This is only possible if your EMR captures and provides (tracks) a detailed medical history.
It’s important that it updates instantly so you have a real-time view of your patient’s file.
This also relates to the next point.
EMRs are sought after because they help practices improve the billing processes. The software can assist in adding the correct ICD codes to claims to minimize errors so you get paid faster and face fewer rejections.
You can also enjoy automated features so your patients receive statements regularly. Real-time data is important so each statement is a true reflection of appointments as well as payments received. You don’t want to upset your patients with inaccurate accounting.
Patient Portal is a Priority
One additional way of keeping your patients smiling is to engage with them more. Some EMRs will facilitate interaction for bookings, reminders of appointments, and other communication. Use the software to share educational information with patients who face challenging conditions that require better self-care.
Tech Options to Consider
Not all aspects of an Internal Medicine EMR is about right or wrong—with many features you simply need to make sure it suits your preferences:
- Scalability: You don’t want to pay for features you’ll never use, therefore don’t use an EMR that’s designed for practices larger or more complex than yours. Some EMRs are scalable so you can adjust it to your practice’s requirements but others are designed for a specific type such as a clinic or small practice.
- Servers: You can keep the data of your patients on servers either on your premises or with your vendor. There are also cloud-based systems that are often more accessible off-premises. There’s no right or wrong here, but if you don’t have servers available acquiring your own calls for huge capital investment. No matter the option you pick, make sure to discuss ownership of data with your vendor. When your contract with them ends, make sure you have access to your patient information.
- Cost: There are enough options out there that you’ll find one that suits your budget. A dedicated internal medicine EHR can help improve your bottom line, but make sure the monthly premiums won’t eat up your newfound profit.
Make sure to discuss this with vendors so you’re sure what you’re paying for.
Find your practice’s EMR and you’ll look back in a year’s time and enjoy the view.