The Health IT Duo – part 2: EMR and Practice Management System

Clinical and administrative workflows are two of the most integral parts within the healthcare continuum. Keeping anyone out of the loop means breaking a link in the chain. Where Electronic Medical Records (EMR) were introduced to simplify clinical documentation and ensure better care delivery on part of physicians, the health IT product vendors also never backed out from helping providers efficiently manage their administrative and financial operations through the use of practice management systems.

The health IT industry is enormous. Even with EMRs physicians have a wide range of choices available to them. From free EMRs to specialty EMRs, established product vendors are trying to make every possible move to keep the competitors from capturing market share. In fact, some renowned EMR vendors have also developed all-in-one solutions which unify EMR and Practice Management system within a single package. This provides physicians an option to streamline patient encounters as well as manage the billing operations from a single platform. This is exactly what physicians always required from a health IT application.

“It gets really interesting when, every time after completing the clinical procedures and documenting them, you don’t have to change the device so that you can get started with the financial operations. One, it saves time, and two, it eliminates the barriers that hamper the productivity by inundating physicians too much into the application”, says a California based physician.

Ever since their inception, practice management systems have come a long way to provide physicians with all the essentials to manage administrative workflows – keeping both the front and back office always connected.

While free EMRs provided physicians with the luxury of saving monetary costs, the lack of integration made opting separate practice management system completely inevitable. Not only this enhanced the burden of financial costs for physicians but also the augmented the hassles of switching screens, or even the devices in some cases. No wonder, despite having free EMRs, some physicians showed resentment towards technology. Basically the problem is, there have been instances in which some of the free EMRs have failed to be free in true sense.

However, after understanding physicians’ requirements and analyzing their own situation in the market, established EMR vendors have not only started working on the integration issues in EMRs but also improve the functionalities of practice management systems.


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