The introduction of interoperable health IT solutions had a significant impact on the entire healthcare industry. All conventional rules of medical practice were modified and providers across all specialties strive to stay in business with the ever changing regulations and new health standards. The adoption of EMR in the healthcare sector was a game changer, as conventional methods of storing, retrieving and documenting clinical data became obsolete overnight. The potential benefits of EMR technology were the major reason behind the introduction of Meaningful Use incentives for providers – helping promote widespread adoption.
EMR adoption was on the rise, but so was the increase in provider specific requirements, often based on specialty and practice setting. It has taken a while for the physician community to fully utilize EMR technology, as initial EMR solutions were limited in functionality and usability. The rising patient volumes and pressure from insurance companies, and other regulatory bodies meant that physicians now needed to accomplish a lot more clinical documentation whilst complying with the administrative and security requirements. This led to the integration of EMR systems with Practice Management software. Standalone practice management solutions existed before the introduction of EMR technology, but with the advent of interoperable “all-in-one” solutions rendered such standalone systems redundant.
This meant that EMR vendors now focused on amalgamating their systems with practice management software to retain market share. For clinicians, the appeal of reduced hassle with the integration of practice management was a better option that ensured optimum financial and clinical performance. Subsequently, physicians could now focus on patient care without having to worry about increased office administration.
With the number of vendors rising by the day, EMR and Practice Management technology is rapidly evolving – with specialty specific EMR systems now making their presence felt. Healthcare professionals are no longer satisfied with basic EMR functionality and thus look for a solution that caters to their specialty specific clinical content and workflows. As the care continuum strives for improved clinical outcomes, it would require a great deal of effort from vendors and providers to help develop solutions that meet their specialty requirements.