Are you realizing your EHR or EMR system’s full potential?  The obvious reason behind using an EHR or EMR designed with chiropractic specific programs is to make your chiropractic practice or department run as smoothly as possible.  Sometimes though, the software that comes with your EHR is not quite what it should be, and that makes things more difficult, especially when it comes to your practice’s workflow.

The most important benefit to having an updated EMR system is that it will provide your practice with the latest technology to support your practice management software.  Your EMR system that you have in place is only as good as the programs, tools and software it uses.  It is a good idea to have your current EMR provider update you on the newer specialty-specific software as it comes available to them.

If you are using software that is not fully adapted to your needs then you should consider investing in a more detail-oriented workflow program, and then have that integrated into your current EHR or EMR.  Do you know what you are looking for?  Have you decided how the system you have in place could be made better? If you need help deciding what you need in to improve your practice management with more specialized workflow, and your current provider is not helpful, then it is time that you talk to different medical IT software vendors.

A checklist of the software features you should have available in your chiropractic EMR/EHR should include the basic chiropractic examination reports, x-ray analysis, neck disability assessments, patient home exercises instructions, and flow charts for range of motion measurements.  Your chiropractic EMR/EHR should also come equipped with an interface with Electronic Goniometers that have graphical displays and documentation features.

Of course the number and type of templates available through your current EMR or EHR may vary from the newer software that has been more recently developed.  Some of the chiropractic templates designed specifically for the chiropractic EMR systems include the more common complaints such as sciatica, lower back pain, lumbar and cervical complaints, and motor vehicle accident complaints.  Other necessary templates cover Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Disc bulge (herniated or ruptured) in addition to other injuries and complaints. Templates are also provided for chiropractic narrative, physical exam, worker’s compensation and patient follow up.

The purpose specialty specific workflows are to enhance the productivity of your practice, so it is best to find a health information technology company which can accommodate your needs.  If you find a vendor who offers you a chiropractic software package which does not include everything you want, you should require that the vendor provide you with what you need from a 3rd party source.  Of course, you might not always get exactly what you want, but hopefully you will come that much closer to getting new features that you need for your practice.  You need to be able to use the integrated software in such a way as to make your practice run more efficiently.

As the software developers create better software according to requirements proposed by chiropractors, new programs and templates are added into the systems.  If you have found that your system or your vendor is still not staying current with the changes in your specialty, then you may find it eye-opening to check out Health Information Technology Expositions such as the HIMSS 2012.

You can also check with the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) for attending their Annual Meeting.  If they are not holding an exposition during their convention, then at least you can meet with other chiropractors and talk software and EMRs.  Word of mouth and recommendations, as well as words of warning about some of the lesser products, will most likely save you time and trouble in your endeavors to perfect your practice.