Essential EHR Features for Modern Urgent Care Centers

The Ultimate Urgent Care EHR Checklist: Essential EHR Features for Modern Urgent Care Centers

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Selecting the right EHR for your urgent care clinic is a serious decision. EHR impacts every aspect of your urgent care practice from scheduling to clinical notes and medical billing. You can use the following checklist to analyze EHR features and functionalities and take the pain out of choosing the right EHR for your practice!


“Virtual Waiting Room”

Most patients will be in a state of discomfort, and it does not make things easier to be in the waiting room for excessive amounts of time. Patient care starts with the initial engagement. Online scheduling with wait time notifications is a great way to reduce wait time frustrations at the clinic. Virtual queue management is another “virtual waiting room” functionality that continues to improve the patient experience, especially in urgent care as it let’s the patients know where they are in the queue. Be sure your EHR is looking out for your patient by enabling online scheduling and wait time notifications so they are at the clinic only as long as they need to be. Especially for high volume clinics, these functionalities can help reduce the length of overall door-to-door time while improving patient experience.

Convenient & Paperless Patient Check-In

Having a quick and easy check-in process also helps shorten wait times for urgent care patients and sets the initial patient experience. There are a few ways to accomplish this. First, with online check-in system, you can allow your patients to fill out the intake and other check-in forms in the convenience of their home before even coming to the clinic. In the clinic, your staff can either hand out an iPad with patient check-in app or allow patients to use a self check-in Kiosk.  With mobile EHR technology ever advancing, more and more urgent cares are turning to mobile technology to streamline their check-in process. Digital check-in process also minimizes paperwork and improves practice efficacy through higher staff productivity.

Mobile EHR App on iPad & iPhone

Your EHR platform should allow you to provide patient care on mobile devices such as iPad and iPhone without being tied to an office location. A fully functional EHR platform on the iPhone or iPad maximizes mobility of your practice. You can save a great deal of time by being able to document clinical notes at your patient’s side or having full access to patients’ charts and ability to order labs or imaging and send prescription electronically on- the-go.

eRX, EPCS & Medication History

Having an EHR system that lets you effortlessly order medication for patients is a vital role that EHR can play for your practice. Having an EPCS certified system means you will be allowed to order controlled medications for your patients, and being able to see your patient’s medication history with within the same screen makes it easy for you to e-prescribe and locate the nearest pharmacy for your patient’s convenience.

Integrated Labs & Digital Lab Ordering

Managing orders with differing lab vendors for multiple patients throughout the day can be a heavy burden on physicians and staff. Having an EHR that is integrated with a wide network of national and local labs will minimize paperwork and streamline administrative tasks for ordering lab work. Check if your EHR is integrated with best-in-class systems, such as LabCorp, Diagnostic Laboratory Service, Health Gorilla, Quest, Surescripts and other third party labs.

Virtual Patient Care

Treat your patient in the comfort of their own home through secure video conference that can easily clear for billing.Telemedicine has become increasingly prevalent, especially for urgent care patients that need care on site instead of a clinic for various reasons including time sensitivity, patient mobility, or just patience preference . Secure live video, secure messaging for sharing medical documents and messages, and easy billing for the remote visits are basic telemedicine features you should request your EHR vendor to provide. Being able to see patients remotely makes it possible for urgent care to see more patients, providing care to those that weren’t getting it before, and further improving the patient experience.

Intelligent Charting Tools for Efficiency

One of the big reasons for using an EHR is to drive efficiency. Be sure to check for clinical charting tools that can help you save time and improve productivity. As urgent care providers who come across a variety of different patients, be on the lookout for customizable clinical forms, medical templates and custom vitals that can adapt to urgent care specific needs. For example, custom templates and macros should allow you to document in seconds or just a few minutes. If documentation takes longer than that, it’s time for you to look for a new EHR. Medical speech-to-text also allows you to take clinical notes easily by voice and adapts to any accent or speech style. In addition, being able to take photos or draw freely on iPad or iPhone then annotate directly on the image will make note taking easy and fast.

Integrated Billing with Eligibility Verification Your EHR should include a robust medical billing solution that relieves you of administrative tasks and claims management. With real time insurance eligibility checks, you can provide care immediately and relieve any financial burden from the patients. Many patients entering urgent care clinics will be new, so having an EHR that is able to verify insurance status in real time will improve patient care and keep your clinic’s financial health in check. Using a cloud EHR that has integrated billing into the EHR system will allow you to maintain the integrity of your data by taking multiple data entries out of the process and let you seamless bill directly from your EHR. For example, pre-populated billing codes will let you bill accurately and get paid on time. Your medical billing software should also include features such as real time claims status, reimbursement and denial analysis, automatic mailing of electronically generated patient statements, and HCFA reporting.

HIPAA Compliant Patient Portal

Your urgent care EHR should provide you with a user-friendly patient portal. Urgent care visits can happen at all times in the day, so it’s great to allow your patient to schedule an appointment at home or on-the-go on their iPad, iPhone or computer and receive auto reminders via text/call/email. With patient portal, your urgent care clinic improve both new and existing patient experience by allowing them to manage essential aspects of their medical experience via a secure online portal. Patients should also be able to message you on a HIPAA compliant platform to stay in touch before and after their visit for any reason.

Sharable Patient Educational Material

A majority of urgent care visits will be for minor wounds or illnesses, with most of the treatment being out of the clinic at home. Providing patient education materials enhances patient care and helps you meet the Meaningful Use “patient-education” requirements. Your EHR should allow you to easily upload your own materials or access a credible source such as Mayo Clinic.

On Hand Training and Support Your EHR company should provide an expert who can help you implement and get your EHR system running as soon as possible. Once you’ve selected your EHR, your EHR company should tailor an onboarding program specially tailored to meet your practice needs. A dedicated implementation specialist or team should work with you to assess your needs and carry out a thoroughly planned training and implementation plan on a timely schedule. You should also ask what kind of ongoing support the EHR company will provide once you’ve finished implementation. Depending on your need, here are some support features you may want to request: email/chat/phone, on-site support, response time, and training/knowledge base materials.

Meaningful Use + MACRA Certified Your EHR should be Meaningful Use Stage 1 and 2 Certified, and MACRA Ready Selecting an EHR that is certified for Meaningful Use will allow you to qualify for the Meaningful Use Incentive program. Ensure that your EHR is certified for Meaningful Use. To avoid MIIPS non-compliant penalties, you should select an EHR system that will be MACRA certified and can help you attest. API & Third Party Integrations Your EHR should enable integrations with other health applications or build directly on their API. An open API means your EHR can integrate with the most innovative solutions in healthcare on its platform. Every physician practices medicine differently, therefore by being able to leverage the API to build to your specifications, your EHR is adaptable and customizable. If you are using or want to use other healthcare apps or solutions, check what third party solutions are integrated with your EHR and how flexible your EHR company is about third party integration.

You can download the PDF here, and be sure to contact drchrono about any more questions in regards to optimizing your urgent care practice with our EHR!

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