Physicians may find it a challenge to choose appropriate software for their practice with the vast number of electronic medical record (EMR) software choices on the market. To find suitable EMR systems for your pulmonology practice, you should first familiarize yourself with what criteria to use and what features to look for in a potential software.

To find the right EMR for your pulmonology practice, you should look for software that is designed specifically for pulmonologists or a similar specialty. This type of system will be the most useful to your practice because pulmonology EMR software is customized to deal with the unique characteristics of treating respiratory conditions. Pulmonologists rely heavily on medical devices to help monitor and detect respiratory abnormalities so your software choice should be able to integrate with CT, X-ray and PET equipment; spirometers; bronchoscopes; and other devices.

The workflow within a pulmonology practice varies depending on whether the approach to treating the patient is symptom-based or condition-based. The appropriate EMR will take this into account.  Since pulmonologists often treat patients with chronic lung disease, pulmonology EMR enable the physician to track and examine pertinent trends over time, throughout the course of the disease. Additionally, many of your patients may be suffering from time-sensitive or life-threatening conditions, so you should make sure that your pulmonology EMR has a robust alert system capable of providing the appropriate emergency notifications.

At the start of software evaluation process, you should evaluate potential pulmonology EMR based on the following criteria:

   • Practice Size: Some software is better suited to small practices, others to larger ones. EMR software is designed for a certain number and type of user, with scalability in mind. Make sure the software you select is appropriate for the number of pulmonologists in your practice.

   • Systems Architecture: You can purchase pulmonology EMR software that is installed directly on your computer servers on-site at your practice (“client-server”) or pulmonology EMR software that is located in the “cloud” that you access via the Internet (“cloud-based” or software-as-a-service -”SaaS”).  Some pulmonologists prefer client-server based EMR software since they feel more comfortable with HIPAA compliance when they control all the underlying data on their systems, despite the need to maintain and upgrade these systems periodically. Other pulmonologists choose cloud-based EMR software because it can be accessed almost anywhere through the Internet. However, you are reliant on your Internet connection, so you need to make sure the quality and consistency of your Internet service is high. It is worth reading about all the advantages and disadvantages of each type, to make sure you choose software with the systems architecture that best matches your needs.

   • Certification: When selecting your pulmonology EMR, you should make sure that it is tested and certified by an ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Body (“ONC-ATCB”). The ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology) is the responsible agency for establishing EMR certification standards and certifying vendor EMR products. ONC-ATCB certification assures that your EMR has met required Meaningful Use (“MU”) objectives and measures. This is a prerequisite to obtaining MU Medicaid (up to $63,750) and Medicare (up to $44,000) incentives for adopting an EMR, and avoiding penalties for not adopting one. To learn more about these topics, you may want to read the following articles:

To begin searching for the right EMR for your practice, click HERE

Unique Features of Pulmonology EMR Software

Once you have narrowed down your EMR choices based on practice size, systems architecture, and certification, you can evaluate certain features that are unique to pulmonology practices. Such features include:

• ICD/CPT codes specific to pulmonology

• Integration with X-ray, CT and PET equipment

• Interface for sleep studies

• Management of bronchoscope images

• Pulmonary stress testing integration

• Action plans for asthma

• Spirometer interface

Pre-designed Templates of Pulmonology EMR

Pulmonology EMR vendors understand that not all specialties are alike. While there are a lot of similarities shared by all EMR software, you should be able to customize whatever EMR you choose to fit your specific needs. To facilitate this, pulmonology EMR vendors offer a variety of pre-designed templates such as ones tailored for:

• Sleep apnea

• Lung cancer

• Pneumonia

• Asthma

• Bronchiolotis

• COPD

• Emphysema

While selecting a pulmonology EMR may seem like a daunting task, having familiarity with the basic selection criteria common to all EMR software as well as some of the features customized for your specialty can help you make the right choice for your practice. Start your search for pulmonology EMR software here.