June 26, 2018 by ChiroTouch Article EHR
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Chiropractic EMR vs. EHR – Do you need a Chiropractic EHR vs. EMR? Learn what the difference is between these two different types of software and find out which one is best for your practice.

Chiropractic EMR vs. EHR

Let’s start with the acronyms. What does EMR stand for? Chiropractic EMR stands for “Chiropractic electronic medical records.” What does EHR stand for? Chiropractic EHR means “Chiropractic electronic health record.” Aren’t they the same thing? The short answer is “no,” although people mistakenly use them interchangeably. EMR is the older term, and dates from the early days of maintaining electronic rather than paper medical records. Fast forward a few decades, and not much has changed with EMRs. On the other hand, EHR is for electronic records containing more comprehensive information that can easily be shared with patient care team members, no matter their location.

The Paperless Office

While the computer revolution promised a paperless office, that standard hasn’t been reached in most places of business. Still, the use of paper files has been drastically reduced, and that saves time, money and the energy of your staff. If your patients’ files are still on paper, you may have experienced the panic that sets in when a patient’s file has gone missing. If your practice still relies on paper, a chiropractic EMR system or a chiropractic EHR system is a huge improvement.

There are other practical considerations to do with going paperless. What if your office was destroyed in a fire or natural disaster? Your paper files are literally up in smoke or so badly damaged that the information is irretrievable. That’s not the case when you have either an EMR or EHR system. Even if your physical computer system is gone, you can still retrieve your patient’s health records from the cloud. If you aren’t using integrated practice management software with an EHR, all of your business and insurance records are also gone in any type of calamity. However, when it comes to EMR vs EHR, there are far more advantages to the latter than the former, even if you are just now considering making the switch from paper to software.

Chiropractic EMR

A practice still using chiropractic EMRs today really hasn’t evolved too much beyond keeping paper records. In essence, it’s the digital version of a patient’s paper chart. A practice relying on EMRs can access a patient’s medical records via the computer, but that’s about it. Chiropractor EMRs can’t help you with billing, scheduling or other critical aspects of patient care and business. Another downside: Chiropractic EMRs are not certified for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the related Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) necessary to participate in Medicare’s Quality Payment Program, which is only available for EHR systems.

The federal government oversees certification, and the lack of certification due to using an EMR system means a practitioner cannot take advantage of Medicare incentive programs. This may prove a considerable financial blow to many chiropractors. That lack of certification also means EMR providers don’t have to meet any minimum program requirements. A chiropractor deciding to invest in chiropractor EMR software may find out that it doesn’t suit even the relatively simple needs for which it was supposedly designed.

There’s also the practical matter of inability to share EMR information with other providers. If you want to send patient information on, you have to make a copy and then scan it or fax it on. Perhaps the best analogy for EMR vs EHR is the cell phone. A decade ago, a flip phone probably met most of your needs. Considering that you can access the internet with your smartphone, make purchases, pay bills and accomplish thousands of other tasks, would you willingly go back to a phone that simply lets you make calls? That’s unlikely, and that’s the same reason chiropractors don’t benefit from having even the best 1990s technology in their offices. While EMRs have some advantages over just keeping records on paper in file cabinets, the difference between an EMR and an EHR is even more vast than the difference between paper records and an EMR.

Chiropractic EHR

When your practice utilizes chiropractic EHR software, all of your patients’ data is in one place, easily accessible and readily available to send securely to other healthcare providers, as long as that provider is also signed up for Direct Messaging. That includes not just other doctors, but laboratories, pharmacies, medical imaging technicians and any facility involved in patient care. The time needed to get in touch with other medical professionals is cut down to seconds. Overall, you’ll present your patients with better care and additional options after installing a chiropractic EHR software system. There’s less chance of some vital piece of information falling through the cracks, such as a patient’s allergies or the list of current medications. When information is shareable, patients are less likely to undergo duplicate, unnecessary testing. When you have comprehensive information about a patient in one place, it’s more probable you will make the correct diagnosis and devise the right treatment plan. If your patient moves out of the area, sending their medical information to their new chiropractor is a snap if the provider has Direct Messaging, allowing your patient’s treatment to continue without interruption. Non-health information, such as insurance coverage, is included in all patient records, too.

The ability to share isn’t just limited to fellow providers. Patients can also log in to the system via patient portals and see some of their medical data, such as lab test results. The data may answer questions that prevent patients from having to contact your office. For patients who rely on family or other caregivers and give permission for sharing, the ability to share these records may help both patients and those caring for them have a better understanding of the individual’s treatment needs.

Certification goes beyond MACRA and MIPS participation. With certified chiropractic EHR software, your patient’s data is completely secure and protected. You’re meeting federal standards for such software, and that means it reduces the liability if your system is hacked and security breached.

Chiropractic EHR Software and Practice Management

Most practitioners want practice management software for dealing with patient appointments, insurance, billing and other day-to-day needs. Chiropractic EMR software does not have practice management integration abilities, but that’s not the case with chiropractic EHR software. When you purchase integrated EHR and practice management chiropractic software, you are taking care of two of your most critical office needs at once. This, in turn, affects your staffing requirements and your bottom line. If you have two different systems storing a patient’s data – an EMR and a practice management system – it is more likely errors will occur than if the data is integrated in a single EHR system.

There’s another plus to EHR chiropractic software, and it involves getting your patient in the door in the first place. An EHR system may include an app that allows potential patients to find your practice on their smartphones, read reviews and even book an appointment. That’s something an EMR system cannot do. Once the patient is in your office, he or she can check in via an iPad app. Such apps also allow your staff to send appointment reminder emails and texts, as well as other information you’d like to share with patients.  Not only does this mean no more phone calls placed by staff for reminding the majority of patients of their appointments, but it also reduces the likelihood of no-shows and subsequent lost income.

Google Trends Data

As far as Google is concerned, there’s no contest in the search department. Those looking for information regarding EMRs far surpass searches for EHR, and that’s been true for at least five years. However, vendors have long since standardized the term “EHR” for their software. Since it would make more sense for EHR, with its integration capabilities, to prove the more popular choice, let’s examine the reasons why this isn’t apparently so. Part of this is cost and demographics. Younger chiropractors, presumably familiar with tech since childhood, are more likely to become EHR adapters since he or she knows their practice’s future lies in operations integration. However, at this stage of their career, they may not have the IT budget to support an EHR system. Older chiropractors, who might recall when desktop computers were an innovation, may not adopt IT as aggressively. They might want to go paperless and all that entails, but don’t see the need at this stage of their profession to spend the money on an integrated system, as a standalone EMR meets their needs.

When it comes to choosing between an EMR and EHR system, there is no wrong decision. It is a matter of choosing what is right for your practice and your budget. If an EHR is out of reach right now, you can always upgrade when the funding is available. The bottom line is that both systems eliminate paper charts and store patient information electronically.

ChiroTouch Chiropractic EHR Software

ChiroTouch’s certified chiropractic EHR software offers a fully integrated practice management solution. Not only does ChiroTouch interactive software provide a streamlined solution for your practice, but you can tailor the software to best meet your custom needs. With state-of-the-art, fully automated software, you have confidence in your documents, and you and your staff have more time to spend focusing on patient care. Call us today to schedule a demo and see for yourself the difference ChiroTouch’s certified chiropractic EHR software can make for your practice and your patients.

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