Friday, September 11 | EHR Solutions and Operations, Post-Acute Care

What Makes an EHR Long-Term Care Specific?

By Netsmart

These details make all the difference when it comes to your daily workflow

As a long-term/post-acute care medical professional, you’ve likely tried an electronic medical record (EMR) or electronic health record (EHR) platform or two since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began incentivizing the use of such technology in 2015. You’ve also probably found that generalized, one-size-fits-all solutions don’t actually fit the needs of long-term care practices.

While it’s relatively easy to pinpoint the pitfalls of a platform you and your team must use daily, it can be more challenging to answer the question, “What are the particular features that make an EHR long-term care specific and therefore a better fit for us?” So, we’re here to help. Below are some key features of an LTC-specific EHR and why they make such a significant impact on your practice.

Easy, Intuitive Charting 

Workflows in long-term care settings like skilled nursing facilities do not mimic those of primary care practices or hospitals. They require a unique list of basic patient information, adhere to a specific follow-up appointment schedule, and utilize particular sets of billing and diagnosis codes in caring for aging populations.

With these considerations in mind, long-term care-specific EHR platforms provide charting tools that ask only for the patient information you need and use, default to the scheduling cadence you use most often, and make it easy to find and select the common codes needed to complete charts appropriately. Simply put, the charting sequence is designed to work the way you do – no extra pages, no unnecessary information fields, and no cumbersome workarounds.

Automatic Patient Note Delivery 

Many long-term care practitioners serve patients across a handful of facilities, which can leave room for patient progress notes to get lost, go without physician signatures, and fail to make it into the hands of facility staff who need the information to care for the patients properly. Long-term care specific EHR solutions streamline patient note delivery by sharing them digitally and automatically to circumnavigate these potential problems

As soon as patient notes are signed by the physician, they are shared with every member of the facility’s interdisciplinary team, keeping all staff informed and up to date on the status of that patient. When utilized at each facility you serve, this feature provides the assurance that all your patients are properly accounted for and managed in your absence.

A Mobile-Friendly, Cloud-Based Design

As previously mentioned, long-term care practitioners are often moving targets. So, they need an EHR that supports their workflows no matter where the day takes them. Long-term care-specific EHR solutions are mobile-friendly and cloud-based, giving practitioners secure access to real-time patient records at all times. This digital storage of patient information also ensures that all data remains organized in one place, minimizing the potential for lost, misplaced, or illegible notes.

What’s more, mobile-friendly EHRs should be compatible with a variety of PC and iOS platforms for additional accessibility. Smart designs also frequently back up stored data, as well as use dual authentication and encryption factors to protect you from data loss and security breaches. Storing patient data securely in the cloud, rather than on local devices, helps to ensure HIPAA compliance.

MIPS Reporting Made Easy

Many long-term care clinicians think that they aren’t required to participate in CMS’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) because they work in the nursing home environment. On the contrary, many of these practitioners must report to avoid penalty fees, which grow more expensive year after year.

A long-term care-specific EHR helps to make this reporting process a seamless part of your daily workflow so you can not only avoid those penalties but also earn bonus incentives instead. It stores information for all your patients across all facilities you serve in a single database, making it easy to collect and report MIPS data. Quality EHR solutions are also equipped with a real-time dashboard that shows your MIPS progress in real-time whenever you need to check it.

Successful Integrations with Other Systems & Services

Every long-term care provider has their preferred way of moving through their workday. Some insist on using dictation software to record patient notes more efficiently. Others rely on e-Prescribing tools daily to ensure that all patients across all facilities receive the medications they need as quickly as possible. Many spend the majority of their time in facilities that use PointClickCare and want to be able to share information with this particular system.

With this variability in mind, a quality long-term care-specific EHR platform maintains the ability to integrate successfully with a handful of other systems and services that are commonly used in the long-term care space. These integrations should also be optional, providing you with the ability to customize your overall experience rather than pay extra for tools your practice may not want to use.

Long-term care is a medical niche with a significant impact on aging populations, which are only expected to grow in the coming years. So, it’s important to equip specialized clinicians and practices with software designed with their specific needs in mind. The better we support the work they do, the better care they will be able to provide to these patients in need.


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