Establishing an IT department to maintain the EMR infrastructure can be expensive, but Chhoda said it has the advantages of improving communications, staff development, patient care and clinic management.
Denville, NJ (PRWEB) October 27, 2013
“An integrated physical therapy EMR is one of the most effective and useful tools a therapist can have in his clinic,” said Chhoda. “There are also specific considerations that must be addressed before and after implementing a system.”
- Each EMR has its own set of quirks and purchasing a system without testing it first is folly. Staff should be engaged to test and add input on any design difficulties encountered. The employee interface should be intuitive to aid in learning.
- The selected EMR should be designed specifically for a physical therapy practice. It will contain forms with which staff is familiar and the ability to create customized templates. The large majority of EMRs are designed by individuals who don’t have a working knowledge of what’s required of a physical therapy clinic. Chodda said the EMR should conform to the needs of the practitioner, not the opposite.
- Training is essential for every staff member to ensure accuracy and maintain HIPAA privacy compliance. Clinics will experience a slight drop in efficiency during the learning period and employees will only retain approximately 20 percent of what they’re told about the system. Employees learn by doing and Chhoda noted that a fully integrated electronic medical record provides the means for online training opportunities that can be accessed to assist in the learning process.
- Practice owners should ensure that employees understand the benefits of an EMR to themselves and patients. Reluctance by staff is one of the largest problems clinic owners will encounter. Each staff member should be encouraged to participate in implementation, and provide input and suggestions on how the system can be utilized for better efficiency and patient care.
- An information technology (IT) system is critical to address software glitches and problems staff encounter. An EMR affects every department within the practice, from patient visits to payments. Establishing an IT department to maintain the EMR infrastructure can be expensive, but Chhoda said it has the advantages of improving communications, staff development, patient care and clinic management.
- Long-term support and resources should be in place to facilitate communications and collaborations with other medical professionals and a wide range of facilities, ranging from hospitals to pharmacies. Having an integrated physical therapy software system is a cost effective strategy to conserve financial resources, while adding to intellectual resources.
EMR is one of the most important resources a physical therapy practice can implement, but addressing the needs of the human element is also essential. Chhoda’s new insights offer clinicians a roadmap to help avoid the biggest challenges they’ll encounter when implementing an EMR.
Chhoda’s office can be reached by phone at 201-535-4475. For more information, visit the website at http://www.emrnews.com.
About Nitin Chhoda
Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT is a licensed physical therapist, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and an entrepreneur. He is the author of "Physical Therapy Marketing For The New Economy" and "Marketing for Physical Therapy Clinics" and is a prolific speaker, writer and creator of products and systems to streamline medical billing and coding, electronic medical records, health care practice management and marketing to increase referrals. He has been featured in numerous industry magazines, major radio and broadcast media, and is the founder of Referral Ignition training systems and the annual Private Practice Summit. Chhoda speaks extensively throughout the U.S., Canada and Asia. He is also the creator of the Therapy Newsletter and Clinical Contact, both web-based services to help private practices improve communication with patients, delivery better quality of care and boost patient retention.