Less than 10 years ago, in 2006, only 11% of office-based physicians reported using virtual practice management software to manage their health records. That trend sharply increased by 2012, when 21% of medical practices moved to electronic records software in a single year. In 2013, nearly half of all physicians managed their practice electronically. And the number of physicians who have not yet adopted an electronic health system is rapidly decreasing. Of physicians who do not currently manage their patient health records electronically, half of them are planning to make the transition within the next year.
What is Electronic Medical Records?
The term “Electronic Medical Records” (or EMR), which is also often referred to as “Elecronic Health Records” (EHR), is the digital management of all records that relate to a patient. This includes electronic management of medical appointment scheduling, the notes made by the physician, the medical billing system, and prescriptions prescribed to the patient. From the patient’s initial call to set an appointment throughout their entire care, an EHR system captures all of the patient’s records.
Who Does it Impact When a Physician Adopts Virtual Practice Management Software?
Virtual practice management software is designed to centralize the involvement of everyone who is part of the patient’s care. Even the patient themselves. The patient can login to their physician’s online portal to schedule appointments for themselves and leave comments to the doctor about their condition. Also, the patient’s care is securely shared between any specialists who work with the patient so that they can function as a team, working together to provide the patient with the best medical care possible.
Why is virtual practice management software rapidly taking over the health care industry?
Because virtual practice management software is so beneficial to the patient, the federal government offers Electronic Health Records incentive programs through Medicare and Medicaid to physicians who adopt EHR systems. In 2013, 69% of doctors were either taking advantage of these incentives, or planning to.
It’s also appealing to physicians to adopt an EHR system because it organizes and increases efficiency throughout the entire practice. Doctors who have adopted virtual practice management software report an increase in overall efficiency in their office of at least 6% per year.
Additionally, an EHR system minimizes the room for human error. Since an EHR system centralizes the care that the patient receives from multiple specialists, healthcare professionals are able to ensure that the patient is not getting conflicting medical care. Additionally, it increases convenience for the patient, since it enables them to schedule an appointment, leave a note for their doctor and even view test results with the click of a button in the comfort of their own home.