Anesthesiology EMR and Washington & Idaho REC

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It is challenging to find appropriate electronic medical record (EMR) software for your anesthesiology practice because of the choices available and many factors to consider. However, knowing what to look for in ideal anesthesiology EMR software for your practice in Washington or Idaho can help the process a lot easier.

To find the right EMR for your anesthesiology practice, you should look for anesthesiology software or software designed for a similar specialty. This type of system will help your practice because anesthesiology EMR software is designed for the unique characteristics of administering anesthesia in a variety of settings and situations. Anesthesiology is a very precise specialty where minute differences in factors such as body weight, drug interactivity, cardiac output, age, metabolism, ventilation, and timing, can influence what type and how anesthesia is administered. Anesthesiology EMR software must be able to capture all this type of data.

Since anesthesiologists rely heavily on medical devices to monitor and detect abnormalities in blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels, your EMR software choice should also be able to integrate with blood pressure monitors, ECG, Spirometers, and other devices used by your practice.

Additionally, anesthesiologists must also interact with a team of nurses and other physicians, so anesthesiology EMR systems need to be able to seamlessly export and import data from other specialty-specific EMR software. Lastly, since a critical part of your specialty involves drug interactions, your anesthesiology EMR system requires an alert system capable of notifying you of any potential adverse drug reactions or allergies prior to delivery of anesthesia.

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

  • Practice Size: Some software is more appropriate for small practices, others for larger ones. It is important that your anesthesiology EMR software is suited for the number of anesthesiologists in your practice.
  • Systems Architecture: You can purchase anesthesiology EMR software designed with one of two different systems architecture. One type is installed directly on your computer servers on-site at your practice (“client-server”). Anesthesiologists may choose 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. The other type is anesthesiology EMR software that is located in the “cloud” that you access via the Internet (“cloud-based” or software-as-a-service “SaaS”). Anesthesiologists may choose cloud-based EMR software because it can be accessed almost anywhere through the Internet. However, this system depends on a good quality Internet service. It is worth reading about all the advantages and disadvantages of each type to ensure you choose software with the systems architecture that best matches your needs.
  • Certification: Any potential anesthesiology EMR software you are considering must be 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. These articles can provide you with more information on the certification criteria:

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

Unique Features of Anesthesiology EMR systems

Your EMR choices will include certain features that are unique to anesthesiology practices. You should make sure that the software you choose has the features that your practice requires.

Such features include:
  • ICD/CPT codes specific to anesthesiology
  • Integration with critical care monitoring equipment that capture physiologic data
  • Integration with ECG, EKG and other devices
  • Capability of interacting with surgeons’ notes, perfusion records and nurses’ notes
  • Time calculator
  • Anesthesia machine (Fraser Harlake, Ohmeda, Bickford, etc.) data compatibility

Pre-designed Templates of Anesthesiology EMR Systems

Anesthesiology EMR vendors understand that since all EMR software share similarities, you need to be able to customize part so your system to fit the specific needs your practice may have.

Therefore, anesthesiology EMR vendors offer a variety of pre-designed templates such as ones tailored for:
  • Pediatric anesthesia
  • Anesthesia for obstetrics
  • Pre-operative medicine
  • Cardiac anesthesia
  • Side effects
  • Possible health complications

It may seem like a daunting task to have to select appropriate anesthesiology EMR software for your practice, but knowing the basic selection criteria and features customized for your specialty, can help you make the best choice for your practice.

What can Washington and Idaho do for Anesthesiologists in the state?

Physicians, such as anesthesiologists, in Washington and Idaho are aided by the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center (WIREC) in the adoption of health information technology (HIT). Specifically, this Regional Extension Center provides physicians with technical guidance and information needed for them to implement electronic health record (EHR) systems. The Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center was created under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act’s Health Information Technology Extension Program.

Achieving meaningful use of EHR systems starts with the purchase of certified EHR software, however, it is difficult and time-consuming for physicians to choose valuable EHR software. This is due to the large numbers of EHR vendors and the complexity of choices available. The Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center can help streamline the selection process and aid in the EHR software implementation process for physicians in Washington and Idaho. This center is also dedicated to the long-term goal of supporting the development of Health Information Exchanges.

Preferred EHR Vendors recommended by Washington and Idaho

Some Regional Extension Centers may provide physicians with a list of preferred EHR vendors that have been screened from a pool of EMR companies. These preferred EHR vendors have demonstrated their commitment to the health information technology mission by offering physicians more meaningful use of EHR software through a higher base level of functionality and interoperability. Additionally, the preferred EHR vendors can offer discounted prices and group prices, as well as standardized terms and conditions to facilitate quick and smooth adoption of EHR software for these Regional Extension Center participants.

Below are the preferred EHR vendors recommended by the Washington & Idaho Regional Extension Center: