Pain Management EHR Selection & Implementation Guide For Pain Clinics
Pain Management EHR is specialized medical software which supports the needs of pain management specialists who specialize in the treatment of different types of pain including acute pain, chronic pain and cancer pain. Have you often heard that EHR Software implementation causes more headaches than it solves? It doesn’t have to be that way.
To help ensure that your Pain Management EHR implementation or replacement efforts produce the best results, consider the following guidelines regarding features, pricing, strategies, hardware and software requirements, and patient satisfaction enhancers, among others.
What Are Your Pain Management Selection Criteria?
- Ability to Customize
- High Quality Training
- Top Notch Implementation Support
- Exceptional Customer Service
- Compliant with MACRA (Meaningful Use)
- Provides actionable data at your fingertips
- Includes features sought after by patients like Telemedicine, Online Payment, Patient Portal, etc.
- Seamless sharing of data in highly secure manner
- Integrated with Practice Management Software
- Appropriate Features and Fair Pricing for Small and Mid-Sized Clinics
1. Customizable EHR that puts you in control
When you have an EHR that can be easily customized to address your specific style and requirements, you can enjoy the flexibility of these essential features:
Customizable templatesCan be used as-is or adjusted on the fly for many procedures, such as trigger point injections, peripheral or selective nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulation, and many others.
Voice and handwriting recognition technologyAvailable on-hand throughout in order to support ease and efficiency of documentation.
Easy Access anywhere anytimeWhen deployed as a cloud-based technology solution, Pain Management EHR provides access to patient records using a PC, Mac, or tablet. In this case, the only requirement is an internet connection and a standard web browser. Because this is software-as-a-service (SaaS), it does not involve expensive start-up costs that are usually associated with implementing a new hosted system, such as buying and maintaining software and investing in server infrastructure.
Convenient and secure e-PrescribingOne of healthcare’s game changers, e-Prescribing enables patients to have their medications refilled without a single sheet of paper being used – and with much greater clarity and accuracy. This includes Certified ePrescription for controlled substances. What’s more, the ability to electronically check drug-drug and drug-food allergies adds an extra layer of protection for the patient.
2. High quality training to ease the strain of adopting new technology
Any change can put pressure on already-busy providers and staff. Providing comprehensive EHR training to providers and clinic staff so they learn the different aspects of the system is crucial to both short-term and long-term success of the implementation.
The many benefits of appropriately training the users of the system includes, among others:
- Ensuring patient safety – thorough understanding of the EHR’s functionality helps you and your staff know where to document and find important data about the patient so that you can make appropriate decisions and provide safe care
- Optimizing the system’s functionality – thorough training of EHR functionality decreases the frustration of learning by trial and error and increases users’ efficiency by giving them the confidence to know how to find the most direct way of getting to the information they need
- Achieving Meaningful Use incentives – sufficient training gives clinic staff the ability to navigate the different modules and ensure that all Meaningful Use-related data are captured in the documentation
Successful EHR training includes best practices such:
- Making sure everyone has basic computer knowledge before the start of EHR training
- Providing an in-house trainer
- Opting for ongoing EHR training
- Ensuring that the training is relevant and customized for your specialty, and
- Approaching EHR training with a plan
And because users have different learning styles, effective training incorporates various training modalities in the form of:
- Live in-person training
- At-the-elbow support during the go-live/implementation
- Supplemental online or computer-based training
3. Access to top-notch implementation support
An effective end-to-end EMR implementation includes comprehensive analysis of your needs and current processes to help ensure minimal disruption to your existing workflows.
Each practice should have its own Implementation Specialist who can act as a guide and resource person throughout the various phases of the implementation – from analysis to installation, testing, training, and implementation.
These Implementation Specialists should:
- Listen to all of your needs
- Study existing workflow and procedures, and
- Develop the Optimization Blueprint to customize your EHR software to optimize every facet of your practice.
Prior to go-live, these resources will ensure that every device is fully connected, tested and configured for maximum efficiency and security.
Ideally, you and your staff should also have access to the following support services:
- An online Resource Center that you can use as a reference
- Unlimited technical support via phone, email, and online chat
4. Exceptional customer service support
Small and medium-sized specialty practices need to have access to customer support that understands their specific needs. There definitely is more to implementing or replacing your EHR than just installation. Increased focus on efficiency, a transparent process, having an in-house operational or clinical champion, sufficient testing, and comprehensive training need to be supplemented by outstanding customer support, so that providers and staff always know who to turn to when they need their answers and concerns addressed any time, day or night.
5. Compliant with Meaningful Use
Certified and compliant EHR software is a requirement for reimbursement under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The best EHR systems for small practices automate compliance with MU regulations, thus saving you and your team time and effort and thus enabling you to focus more on patient care.
Pain Management practices can be successful in value-based care reimbursement models by leveraging EHR software that:
- Streamlines the end users’ workflows
- Enables patient care coordination
- Improves patient engagement, and
- Supports health data exchange
6. Actionable data at your fingertips
One of the advantages of EHRs over paper is the ability to continuously collect, sort, and organize data – even after office hours.
At any given time, you can make a few clicks and right there on your EHR is a dashboard that displays vital statistics – either for your patients or your practice.
This powerful tool gives providers and staff the real-time ability to:
- Track patients
- Identify trends that reflect the quality of care
- Monitor the practice’s compliance to MACRA and other reimbursement-related criteria
7. Increased level of patients satisfaction
Ever wonder what makes patients happy besides having their pain and other issues addressed? According to a study conducted in Florida, it could be as simple as:
- Improving waiting room wait time
- Exam room wait time
- Turnaround time for return of phone calls, and
- Time spent waiting for laboratory testing and results
The study revealed that the responses in these categories accounted for nearly 50% of all fair and poor ratings. An EHR has the ability to improve waiting and turnaround times through:
- Online booking via a Patient Portal that gives patients the ability to select the most convenient time for them to visit the office, right from wherever they are. These Patient Portals also enable patients to send and receive messages to their care team during times that are more convenient for the patients.
- Appointment reminders that help them to remember when they are supposed to get to the clinic, thus increasing engagement and satisfaction while decreasing incidence of no-shows.
Of course, providers and staff providing attention and excellent service are also major contributors to patient engagement and satisfaction.
A cloud-based EHR that helps to improve workflows and efficiencies definitely assist in making this a reality. When the EHR is very simple to use and is available in mobile format, it gives you the ability to streamline your workflows that help decrease waiting times and turn around times.
What’s more, the right EHR solution enables providers to conduct patient consultations through real-time videoconferencing that is both secure and HIPAA-compliant. It is very useful for simple medical issues as well as for health and care education for patients.
These “virtual” telemedicine visits allows physicians and patients to interact and communicate in the following ways:
- discussion of symptoms
- observation/assessment of many physical signs or changes
- collection pertinent data
- communication and explanation of test results and diagnosis
- discussion of treatment options
- provision of prescriptions.
The telemedicine consultations give patients more flexibility because it removes the requirement for them to physically be in a doctor’s clinic in order to obtain care. They can schedule a visit even when they are at work or away from home.
The use of telemedicine saves patients the time and effort it takes to drive to and from their location to a physical office building, and significantly lowers the time they have to wait in waiting rooms for their turn to receive care.
Just as important, telemedicine visits enable patients to get the care they need while lowering their risk of exposure to contagious diseases during times when social distancing is necessary.
8. Secure and Easy to Share patient data
These days, the challenge is two-fold:
- Seamlessly sharing data with other care providers while at the same time
- Ensuring that it is done so in a secure manner
The ideal Pain Management EHR system constantly gathers data from laboratories, other physicians and staff, categorizing data, and creating appropriate alerts to keep you focused and on-track.
Pain management software also makes it possible to do the following without worrying about security issues:
- Communicate with other facilities or providers about patient care in a secure manner
- Route specific records or information
- Send letters of recommendation or referral
- Bill insurance companies
Pain Management clinic operations spend a significant amount of time and resources in collaborating with, as well as sending and receiving referrals to and from, other practitioners or specialists.
The ability to use the EHR for referrals allows you to:
- Ensure that the patient receives necessary follow-up care, and
- Prevent issues and problems from falling through the cracks when a patient transitions from one care provider to another
This kind of internal and external collaboration requires robust EHR software that enables streamlined health data exchange to allow for electronic ordering of lab and imaging tests and accepting electronic results in return, as well as for e-referrals.
9. Increases revenue capture
Pain Management EHR that is fully integrated with the Practice Management Software increases and streamlines the efficiency of your clinic’s operations, giving you and your staff the freedom to focus on patient care and spend less time on administrative activities and tasks.
Having this integration provides a seamless user experience, and includes the following benefits:
- The billing process is easier and more efficient because ICD-10 codes are assigned to each complaint within the Pain Management EHR
- Reimbursements become faster, as encounters can be easily converted to billable EDI and paper claims.
- Charge capture is an automatic by-product of the practitioner’s documentation.
- Built-in evaluation and management (E&M) coding improves accuracy, offering providers the assurance that the appropriate level of service has been charged based on the patient encounter. This feature provides pain management practices with a tool to confirm ICD-10 and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes associated with the patient diagnosis, and in turn, communicate directly with the billing software to provide faster and more complete payment.
- Insurance eligibility verification is streamlined, reducing the incidence of incorrect claims and non-payments.
- Reimbursements become faster, as encounters can be easily converted to billable EDI and paper claims.
- End-to-end support from claim submission to payment posting and AR Management results in cost reduction, increased payments, and positive return on investment (ROI).
10. Appropriate features for your clinic size and priced fairly
Solo, small, and medium-sized practices may have different software and hardware requirements compared to larger practices.
Solo practices and small clinics with up to 5 providers often have limited budget allocated for EHR software and the associated hardware and infrastructure costs. Because of this, they may opt for the most affordable choices. For these practices, a cloud-based EHR that doesn’t require the purchase of expensive on-site servers and networks is the most reasonable and attractive option.
Medium sized practices with up to 10 or so providers may require EHR that can support multi-clinician access and specialty-specific EHR functionalities and tools. They might also need reporting and analytics tools as well as more comprehensive training needs for the clinicians and their support staff.
Software and Hardware Considerations:
- Cloud-based EHRs have the advantage of being available via a standard browser and internet connection. Being able to use devices ranging from desktop computers to laptops, tablets, and smartphones streamlines practitioners’ workflows even further. They also require smaller upfront costs and are much less expensive to maintain than systems that need the installation of on-site servers.
- Hardware requirements need to be included in the budget considerations when implementing an EHR. Hardware may include:
- Desktops – Often a popular choice, as they are inexpensive and easy to use. They are often stationary and can’t be moved easily from room to room unless attached to specially-designed wheeled carts.
- Laptops – They are more portable than desktops, but depending on the model, can still be heavy or bulky.
- Tablets – These are an increasingly popular choice, as they provide screen space that is almost comparable to laptops, and are lighter and easier to carry around. They also have the ability to capture electronic documentation and even e-signature directly on the surface without need for additional software or hardware. However, extra care or casing is needed in order to protect them from breakage. Battery power must also be considered, as they may need recharging more often than laptops.
- Smartphones – The most portable of all the devices and one that is also gaining more usage. However, the much smaller screen space and battery limits pose an ongoing challenge.
- Server-based EHRs often have license, set-up, and upgrade fees that result in total costs which may be too exorbitant for solo, small, and medium-sized practices.
- Cloud-based EHRs, on the other hand, usually involve only a monthly fee – making the upfront costs so much less than the server-based option.
- It is still important to remember that not all cloud-based EHRs are created or priced equally. Pricing-related information to gather include the following:
- Set-up and license fees, if any
- Customization costs
- Monthly rate
- Any upgrade fees
- “Extra” fees for training and support
There are other direct and indirect costs to implementing an EHR. It would be helpful to have a checklist and have a comprehensive discussion with vendors regarding these costs.
Looking to the future
The Practical Pain Management publication recently invited several industry experts to a virtual “roundtable” and share their insights as to what they see in Pain Management’s future.
W. Clay Jackson, MD, DipTh, President of the Academy of Integrative Pain Medicine shared the opinion that “technologic advances will digitize the assessment process, extending the monitoring of patient experiences outside the brick-and-mortar locale of the clinic into the realm of digital biometric devices… Digital devices will allow for continuous feedback from the patient experience to the clinician’s counsel.”
With Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning steadily being incorporated into the latest technology, Pain Management EHR Software has the potential to be even more intuitive and easier to use in the near future, as well as hold the promise of helping improve patient outcomes, lower costs, and reduce provider burnout.
Additionally, big data that results from the collection and analysis of data generated by a host of biomedical and other health-related devices, has the potential to make a positive impact in the personalization of patient care, as it creates a more holistic picture of patient patterns as well as physician efficiency and effectiveness.
How RevenueXL can help
The right partner with the right expertise and solutions can make a huge difference in making your EHR implementation or replacement experience more of a streamlined transition instead of a painful headache.
Our EHR team provides exceptional support right from the start. We can help you with customized and personalized support to get you up and running and smoothly going regardless of the size of your Pain Management practice.
We have the solutions, tools, and training to support practices and help make this transition seamless and successful.
Readers may also be interested in the following:
- More information about RevenueXL's Pain Management EMR
- Finding your replacement EHR - Do's and Dont's
- How to increase patient engagement using patient portals?
- Why Small Pain Clinics must not ignore RevenueXL's Pain Management System?