Do You Have the Right Orthopedic EHR for Your Practice?

by Jason Weisstein, MD, MPH, FACS | , ,

Here are six reasons why you should look for an orthopedic-specific EHR

As an orthopedic surgeon who has experience working in private practice, surgery centers, hospitals and academic centers, I can tell you that not all electronic health record (EHR) systems are made the same. Many of the EHR systems commonly used in larger medical centers are designed to fit the bill for all of the various specialties and providers using it. Unfortunately, for orthopedic surgeons, that means you have to spend a lot of time upfront customizing templates that fit your workflow, or even worse, you have to take time out of your patient visits to click through irrelevant screens or type up custom notes. Luckily, there’s a better option. Here are some reasons why you should consider an orthopedic-specific EHR for your orthopedic practice:

1. On-Staff Orthopedic Physicians

Orthopedic surgery is a complicated specialty to learn. After all, it took me 10 years of medical school, internship, residency and fellowship training to master the medical and surgical art of joint reconstruction and replacement. That’s a lot of medical and technical knowledge to expect a software programmer to know when building an orthopedic EHR. Instead, Modernizing Medicine took a novel approach to developing orthopedic software—they hired practicing orthopedic surgeons and taught them how to code.

Currently, there are five orthopedic and pain management physicians on staff at Modernizing Medicine who help code and develop medical content for their orthopedic EHR, EMA®. This helps users experience an EHR that provides useful content and workflows that are designed to fit the way orthopedic surgeons practice.

As one of the on-staff physicians, I spend countless hours working with software development teams to continuously build new orthopedic content for our EMA users. I also regularly interface with other orthopedic surgeon clients to gather multiple sources of feedback on what they like, don’t like and want added in EMA. The rest of my time, I am in surgery or seeing patients at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence, where I actually use EMA as my EHR. This gives Modernizing Medicine and me a unique opportunity to make an EHR that is truly orthopedic specific.

2. Orthopedic Client Advisory Board

Not only does Modernizing Medicine have 5 on staff physicians, but we also have an advisory board comprised of 10 orthopedic and pain management physicians who use EMA in their practices. The client advisory board provides insight into current issues and trends in the orthopedics industry, helping identify opportunities for improvement and innovation.

The product advisory board meets regularly with marketing, software development, user experience (UX) and medical directors to provide feedback on current product functionality, test out new prototype features and help define the orthopedic development roadmap. Having a client advisory board of orthopedic providers helps us create and offer orthopedic content that is useful and important to our orthopedic customers.

3. Built-in Orthopedic Content and Workflow

With all of the input from the on-staff physicians and orthopedic client advisory board members, a team of software engineers and programmers dedicated to the orthopedic software platform put the ideas into action, creating an EHR platform that is designed specifically for orthopedic practices.

EMA comes preloaded with a wealth of orthopedic content that’s ready to use right out of the box, which helps save time from having to search through unrelated primary care content or build time-consuming templates.

Our orthopedic EHR comes preloaded with over 550 chief complaints; 4,750 diagnoses with ICD-10 codes; 2,000 orthopedic treatment plans and procedures.

In addition to ready-to-use content at your fingertips, EMA has an adaptive learning engine that actually learns the way you personally like to practice. As you move throughout your exams, EMA recognizes your top diagnoses based on the patients you usually treat and even suggests your preferred treatment plans. For example, EMA can remember that your preferred treatment plans for knee arthritis include viscosupplementation injections, potential for surgery discussion and physical therapy. This can help make your exam faster and more efficient.

4. Orthopedic Interoperability

Interoperability is a hot topic in healthcare technology right now. There are an endless number of technology tools in healthcare, from inventory management to lab and pharmacy interfaces to patient engagement. And I could go on and on. A generic EHR system may claim to interface with various healthcare technologies, but you may find out that many of those tools are not applicable to your orthopedic practice. Your EHR needs to be able to connect and communicate with the specific healthcare technology tools that you use everyday. Modernizing Medicine’s orthopedic software provides orthopedic-specific interoperability to help meet the needs of your practice.

EMA is certified with Surescripts, providing direct connectivity to the vast network of Surescripts community pharmacies. While you are documenting a visit, EMA can generate and queue ePrescriptions, including controlled substances. Additionally, you can easily view each patient’s prescription history and identify potential drug interactions, helping to improve patient education and communication.

Physical therapy is an important part of the orthopedic continuum of care, and orthopedic surgeons and the in-house physical therapy team need to have open communication to provide effective treatment. Through an interface between EMA and WebPT in your orthopedic office, physical therapy orders and therapy notes can be sent electronically between the two systems, saving you and your staff time and streamlining communications.

Like physical therapy, imaging is also an essential piece of orthopedic treatment plans to help appropriately diagnose and treat patients. EMA interfaces with Ambra Health’s cloud-based picture archiving and communication system (PACS), allowing orthopedic surgeons to directly connect EMA and their images from many PACS systems. Imaging orders can be electronically sent from EMA, and links to the imaging studies and interpretations are sent back to the patient’s chart in EMA. Ambra Health’s cloud-based PACS streamlines workflow by centralizing patient information in EMA. It also helps you reduce reliance on CDs and DVDs, speeding up the turnaround time on imaging studies.

5. Orthopedic Billing and Practice Management

orthopedic practice management software displayed on a desktopAn orthopedic EHR is only one component of the full software platform that your orthopedic practice needs. A seamlessly integrated orthopedic practice management system can help connect your front and back offices, streamlining communication and improving office efficiencies.

Some of the highlights of Modernizing Medicine’s Practice Management solution include:

  • Auto-suggested codes based on documentation in EMA feed into Practice Management for review by your providers and billing team to give them a head start on their billing and coding
  • Create and manage workers’ compensation and personal injury protection (PIP) cases and claims
  • Help patient collections with clear balances and co-pays at check-in and checkout
  • Help reduce denials and rejections with customizable claims scrubbing tools prior to submission
  • Speed-up scheduling process with easy-to-use appointment finder feature
  • Stay on top of financial performance with orthopedic billing workflow and financial dashboards

Insights from a current client:

“My front office staff loves the check-in and checkout process, especially the ability to view outstanding balances for collections before the appointment. The integration between EMA and PM is great!”

– Nicole Mayo, Daily Operations Administrator, Panhandle Orthopaedics 

If you are looking for a more comprehensive billing service to help manage your practice’s income drivers so you can spend more time with your patients, Modernizing Medicine’s Revenue Cycle Management service could be a good fit. With a team of orthopedic billing specialists that manage your revenue cycle within your practice management system, you maintain visibility over your financial performance while freeing up resources within your practice. The dedicated orthopedic revenue cycle management team can handle tasks like denials management, placing outbound collection calls to patients and monitoring your orthopedic practice’s key financial metrics.

6. Orthopedic Analytics Reporting

The ability to capture and analyze data is essential to understanding how your orthopedic practice is performing and identifying areas where you can improve. Generic EHR systems usually offer cumbersome data analytics tools that make it difficult to find the information you are looking for. Orthopedic practices like yours have some unique data needs that can be met with flexible and customizable analytics tools in your orthopedic software.orthopedic analytics platform with charts and graphs on a desktop

By capturing structured data within EMA and Practice Management, Modernizing Medicine’s integrated Analytics module provides flexible reporting options with the ability to filter data with a wide range of parameters like provider, date of visit or CPT code, just to name a few.

With access to a robust set of orthopedic-specific reports and dashboards, you can take a deep dive into the operational, clinical and financial performance of your orthopedic practice. For example, you can monitor patients’ pain medications, track primary care and physical therapy referrals or identify reimbursement trends by payer. Orthopedic analytics tools that provide meaningful insights in an easy-to-use platform to help you and your staff work smarter, not harder.

These are just a few of the many reasons why Modernizing Medicine’s orthopedic software suite should be on your shortlist the next time you are evaluating EHR vendors. Don’t get stuck with generic software that is a bad match for your orthopedic practice.

Want to see if our orthopedic EHR is the right fit for your practice?

Jason Weisstein, MD, MPH, FACS

Jason Weisstein, MD, MPH, FACS

Medical Director of Orthopedics at Modernizing Medicine

Dr. Jason Weisstein is the Medical Director of Orthopedics. A native of southern California, he graduated Valedictorian from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City in 1998. Simultaneous with his medical education, Dr. Weisstein received a masters of public health at Columbia University in New York, NY. He subsequently completed his surgical internship and orthopedic surgery residency training at the University of California, San Francisco, and then went on to receive fellowship training at the University of Washington. Dr. Weisstein specializes in joint replacement and limb salvage surgery. His interest lies in the restoration of function in limbs that are in jeopardy, either from arthritis, tumors or other diseases. He currently serves as the Director of both the Center for Joint Preservation and Replacement and the Center for Musculoskeletal Oncology at the Paley Institute in West Palm Beach, Fla. He also serves as an Affiliate Assistant Professor in Orthopaedic Surgery at Florida Atlantic University’s Schmidt College of Medicine.

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