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fectiveness of medical practices, it is very important that the products are easy to use for not only the physicians, but also for the support staff.


Some of the most basic requirements for the user interface (UI) include: Each operation should not take more than two to three page transitions; the information should not be cluttered and should be easy to read; the UI should be intuitive. For example, the form for insurance fi ling should match the physical form; the solutions should assist the staff in capturing the right data and avoiding accidental errors.


Vivek Jain is program director, business application products, healthcare, MindTree. For more information on MindTree solutions: www.rsleads/008ht-211


Ease of use applies to the administrative depart- ment, as much as it does to the physician; hence it is important that the support staff is able to use it more effi ciently, providing the pa-


tients a better experience. Physicians should ask for a dem- onstration of the product and should not limit themselves to the glossy brochures used by the sales representatives. Physicians and staff should try an end-to-end entry of the encounter to gauge the effectiveness of the system.


Practice management


The beginning of any patient encounter is making an appointment. If this module is easy to use for the admin- istrative staff, then it can mean more patients and more business for the practice.


In addition, systems that make the appointment sched- uling module accessible to patients enable them to choose their appointment time and provide greater visibility for the patient, which can reduce “did not keep appointment” occurrences and administrative costs.


Insurance details retrieval This is where the effi ciency and timeliness of an EHR system matter the most. The easier it is to retrieve patient insurance records (insurance fi rms, sum insured, premium dues), the smoother the claims settlements process will be.


Seamless integration with existing work fl ows A practice may have existing work fl ows in its systems, and if these have to be integrated with an EHR solution for the practice it is important to consider the ease of such in- tegration and do an impact analysis of such integration.


Compatibility and extensibility for practice A major criterion for selecting an EHR product should be based on the compatibility of the product with the needs of the practice. The products should also be cus- tomizable as per the requirement of the practice, (i.e., changing of work fl ow for approvals). Practices should


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insist on free customizations for basic changes and negoti- ate for other changes, which are more complex.


Decision support features


The decision support system generates relevant reports. The reports help in measuring the effi ciency and perfor- mance of various operational factors. The system should also provide relevant reports that will provide relevant data for compliance of the MU of the EHR system.


Physicians should ask for a demonstration of the product and should not limit themselves to the glossy brochures used by the sales representatives. Physicians and staff should try an end-to-end entry of the encounter to gauge the effectiveness of the system.


Electronic prescription


Electronic prescription allows the prescriber to elec- tronically transfer the prescription over to the pharmacies. The speed of e-prescription (eRx) along with accuracy helps reduce cost, while also improving patients’ safety. eRx also helps reduce paper work and improve effi ciency among other benefi ts. With the benefi ts it carries, eRx is becoming an integral part of EHR solutions and decision makers should evaluate this feature carefully.


Backup and restoration Murphy’s law states, “If something can go wrong, it will.” Hence, it is important that the solution has robust backup and restoration capabilities requiring minimal user intervention.


Integration


The solution’s ability to integrate with external/third- party systems, such as clearing houses, payers and labs, will help practices streamline operations and gain faster access to information.


Recommendations


Some of these features might not look too appealing or relevant; however, it is highly recommended that decision makers evaluate the need for these features. The owners should insist on customer references that can be contacted to help in the evaluation of the products’ effi ciencies, relevance and maturity.


Licensing HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY


Physicians should understand the licensing terms of the August 2010 23


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