With hundreds of electronic medical record (EMR) software available, physicians may find it a daunting task to select an appropriate software for their practice. However, by knowing the basic criteria of all EMR software and knowing what specialty-specific features to look out for, the task of finding a urology EMR for your practice will be greatly simplified. To find the right EMR for your urology practice, you should look for software that is designed specifically for urologists or a similar specialty. This type of system will benefit your practice because urology EMR software is customized to deal with the unique characteristics of treating urological conditions. Urologists typically rely on lab and imaging tests performed by other specialists, so your EMR should able to receive and analyze the large amounts of data that may be generated for each patient. Since a big part of your caring for your patients involves drug prescriptions, you should make sure that your urology EMR software has a robust alert system capable of notifying you of any potential adverse drug reactions or allergies prior to any prescribing medications to your patients. Additionally, the workflow within a urology 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.
At the start of software evaluation process, you should evaluate potential urology 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 urologists in your practice.
- Systems Architecture: You can purchase urology EMR software that is installed directly on your computer servers on-site at your practice (“client-server”) or Urology EMR software that is located in the “cloud” that you access via the Internet (“cloud-based” or software-as-a-service “SaaS”). Some urologists prefer client-server based 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 urologists choose cloud-based 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 urology 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:
Unique Features of Urology EMR systems
Once you have narrowed down your EMR software choices based on practice size, systems architecture, and certification, you can evaluate certain features that are unique to urology practices.
Such features include:
- ICD/CPT codes specific to urology
- Database of common drugs used to treat urological problems
- Urology flow sheets
- Built-in interface with labs (LabCorp, Quest, etc.)
- Prostate cancer management
Pre-designed Templates of Urology EMR Software
Urology 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, urology EMR vendors offer a variety of pre-designed templates such as ones tailored for:
- UTI – Urinary tract infection
- Prostate cancer
- Renal stones
While selecting a urology EMR software 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.