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The continuing evolution of physician specialist IT

When meaningful use incentive dollars began being disbursed to specialty medical groups back 2010, providers quickly implemented new practice management and electronic health record systems.

Fast forward 12 years and specialty practices now are replacing those legacy systems with next-generation platforms. Today, specialty practices are confronted with most of the similar “legacy versus new” challenges that hospitals faced about ten years ago, but you can find lessons learned that practices can pull from to greatly help inform these decisions.

Bill Lucchini is CEO of Nextech Systems, a vendor of EHR and practice management technologies for ophthalmology, dermatology and cosmetic surgery practices.Owner serves 4,000 medical practices nationwide.

Healthcare IT News interviewed Lucchini to go over gaps between legacy EHRs implemented by physician practices and today’s technologies. He discussed what EHRs implemented by physician groups have to include on the next decade, and the differences between general practice physician and specialist systems that require to be looked at as EHR technology evolves.

Q. You suggest you can find gaps between legacy EHRs implemented by physician practices and today’s technologies. What exactly are those gaps, and how are today’s physician practice EHRs filling them?

A. In the current EHR market, we have been seeing several gaps punctuated by trends happening across regulation, infrastructure, care coordination and patient experience which are impacting EHR technology.

The initial trend may be the consequence of a shift initiated nearly about ten years ago. It began with meaningful use, and due to several IT infrastructure improvement programs in those days, many specialty practices rapidly adopted less expensive, generic EHR technology to be meet up with the requirements of these initiatives.

What later resulted from the implementation of the solutions was formative the more generic EHR solutions weren’t prepared for or continually developed to support the requirements essential for specialty practice-specific workflows. The impact was a lot more than clinical and led to significant impacts to apply revenue, patient engagement and patient satisfaction initiatives, aswell.

The next trend we have been seeing more broadly concerning infrastructure in its present state is that practices are starting to move from server-based solutions toward software-as-a-service and web-based solutions.

Transitioning to a web-based solution is not any longer a “nice to possess,” however now a requirement as offices grow to multi-locations and/or necessitate employees to check out data from your home. A large driver of the change has been pragmatic and operational needs around remote and hybrid work.

Finally, specialty practices have become a lot more sophisticated as patient expectations of specialty practices rapidly evolve regarding communications, interoperability and process simplicity.

Which means that EHR companies must anticipate and ensure the platforms are well built with both front- and back-office functionality that’s well beyond what has been historically expected of specialty practice EHRs to include and streamline the payments and revenue cycle management, patient acquisition and relationship management, and improve the overall patient experience.

Changes in patient expectations alongside the ever-changing regulatory and compliance trends means specialty practice EHR providers must meaningfully lead and advocate because of their client practices by way of a difficult, complex and rapidly evolving landscape.

To best support specialty services such as for example those supplied by ophthalmology, dermatology and plastics which are inherently unique of acute care services supplied by a hospital system, future EHR technology is uniquely positioned to donate to the development of global standards for interoperable applications that also employ health, social, economic and behavioral data to advance outcomes-based care and health equity initiatives.

Q. From there, where will be the gaps in the years ahead? What do EHRs implemented by physician groups have to include on the next decade? What do current trends in patient engagement, value-based care and physician burnout challenges demand of physician practice technology?

A. Today, services supplied by ophthalmologists, dermatologists, orthopedics and cosmetic or plastic surgeons are usually delivered as complementary services to the services provided in acute and ambulatory care settings. This lends the business enterprise of specialty care delivery to be inherently distinct from the care supplied by a hospital or perhaps a clinic.

The predominant EHR technologies deployed on the market have centered on the inpatient experience with some accommodation for outpatient and clinic services, but largely unaccounted for are features nuanced for specialty practice workflows.

On the next decade as healthcare becomes increasingly outcome-oriented, reliant on care collaboration, and motivated to supply a better patient experience, modern EHR technology must take into account these nuances and can’t turn to historical clinical workflows a lot of that have been informed by inpatient clinical workflows to see the continuing future of electronic health record functionality.

Specialty practices have a growing role in supporting both providers and patients in achieving quality health outcomes having an outcome-oriented perspective and supportive technology.

Later on, EHR technology must concentrate on simplifying the delivery of excellent patient care with the features and functionality to proactively address rapidly evolving market conditions.

You will see features to improve physician productivity and experience. Workflows that assist the automatic identification and interpretation of medical information from prior sessions, hospital records, laboratory resultsand other sources release physicians’ time and energy to concentrate on their patients, instead of their computers.

Essentially, EHRs shouldn’t hinder how physicians think and operate. Moreover, many physicians in specialty practices are simultaneously business operators aswell, therefore this necessity to serve health related conditions experience is particularly critical. A renewed concentrate on health related conditions experience also accommodates nuances for both large and small practices, which are experiencing unprecedented market pressure and staff turnover challenges.

You will see the opportunity to reduce operating expense. By increasing clinician efficiency and simplifying documentation, coding and billing procedures, EHR systems might help lower operating costs. Documentation solutions that enable the rapid and effective capturing of visit information at the idea of care can help decrease or get rid of the requirement of transcribing services.

EHR technology may also gain insight from specialty practices by incorporating features that help streamline front-office workflows by automating manual tasks while supporting the clinical and patient-facing functions of the practice.

You will have the opportunity to enhance the patient experience: improved patient portals, quick access to administrative functions, care coordination abilities, educational components, communication tools such as for example chat/messenger/call, lab result access/integration.

Q. Do you know the differences between general practice physician EHRs and specialty physician EHRs that require to be looked at as EHR technology evolves on the next a decade?

A. Future EHR technology can be increasingly ready to service another healthcare economy that’s patient-centered and outcome-oriented if EHR technology evolves to create upon the dynamic functionality historically developed to aid acute and ambulatory care while adding accommodations for the requirements of specialty practices.

The gaps present today that specialty practice workflows can certainly help in advancing EHR technology include improved charting features operating of care collaboration and clinical referral workflows; proactive accommodations to control inventory to make sure that supplies, equipment and medications are for sale to services; and front-office support for scaling practice growth and managing patient relationships beyond the clinical interaction.

With one of these features accommodated, the prospect of EHR technology to evolve beyond transactional use cases is both encouraging and profound.

Twitter:@SiwickiHealthIT

Email the writer:bsiwicki@himss.org

Healthcare IT News is really a HIMSS Media publication.

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