Why all allergists need IMS in their practice

Allergy specialists and immunologists rely on intelligent medical software for many reasons. Because these specialists depend on issues like test documentation, monitoring and protocol management, IMS is an essential component of any allergy practice.

Specific templates are crucial for diagnosing, treating and monitoring autoimmune issues like allergies. Without the proper management and quality-of-life assessments found in this type of software, significant obstacles can arise for both allergists and patients. This means that using just any EHR system is not going to be enough for this specialty. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, templates are very important in addressing the unique requirements of an allergy practice.

"Templates are crucial for diagnosing and monitoring autoimmune issues like allergies."

What researchers say about allergies and EHR templates
A 2012 study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, allergy alerts in particular were helpful for clinicians, especially since the most common allergy reactions were from drugs, foods and other materials. Because the alerts also provided important information about hospitalized patients, the health of entire practices improved. Allergy alerts can also differ depending on age and sex, so the more specific the EHR is, the better off the patient will be.

More recently, a 2014 article published in PLOS One showed that the way drug allergies are recorded in EHRs can vary widely. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult for clinicians to share important EHR information, including the risk of further reactions. Computerized health systems need to be more responsive and sophisticated to alert physicians about these issues, as drug reactions can have serious consequences for patients.

IMS features for allergists and immunologists
With specific templates that address a wide variety of allergy-related issues and symptoms, clinicians don't need to worry about reporting or documenting updated patient data. Here are some other excellent features of IMS that are a perfect addition to any allergy practice:

  • Several allergy-specific tasks, such as shot schedule updates, shot modules, skin tests, reaction checking and treatment, last shot follow-ups and automated immunotherapy billing. 
  • HIPAA-compliant software for single- and multi-physician practices.
  • Administrative tasks such as form fillers, lab order and tracking software, check-in and check-out capabilities, billing and collections, and a health care portal. 
  • Health maintenance reminders that allow physicians to stay on track with patients. 

Allergies and other autoimmune issues are some of the most prevalent health conditions and affect a wide variety of demographics. As such, it's crucial for health care professionals to implement medical software that caters to these specific needs. 

Improved cardiology patient outcomes with EHRs

Intelligent medical software has the potential to greatly increase the patient experience for many patients, including the increasing amount of individuals suffering from cardiovascular conditions. The use of electronic health records has grown in the health care field significantly to bolster patient outcomes, and since cardiovascular diseases are so prevalent, cardiologists have a unique chance to boost clinical outcomes with these advancements.

Major cardiological health associations are onboard with EHRs
In 2013, both the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association revealed a set of key data elements and definitions for EHRs. These efforts were aimed at improving clinical management for patients with acute coronary syndromes and coronary heart disease. These organizations stated that these efforts could aid in interoperability and allow researchers to better collect data for studies pertaining to these conditions in the future.

"We hope that these data definitions can advance research and clinical care, to increase the adoption of both proven old therapies and new innovations in cardiology," Dr. Christopher Cannon, chair of the writing committee and cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, explained in an ACC press release. "This advancement can support our ultimate goal – to improve outcomes for patients with cardiovascular disease."

EHRs can save time for cardiologists, allowing them to spend more time with patients.

Cardiovascular diseases and the patient experience
Cardiology is an important field in medicine, especially since many individuals are faced with these diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2012, 11 percent of Americans were told that they had heart disease and 24 percent were informed on two or more doctor visits that they were suffering from hypertension. This means that doctors need the best possible technological innovations at hand to create better outcomes, find out what treatments are best for an individual and improve risk prediction.

EHR tools for cardiologists
Intelligent medical software allows cardiologists to look at a variety of specialty templates for many cardiovascular illnesses, including hypertension and congenital heart disease. Because many of these diseases stem from lifestyle habits and family history, a linear view of a patient's history must be comprehensive, which can be attained in an EHR.

Cardiologists are very busy, especially in hospital settings. Intelligent medical software eliminates labor-intensive chart pulls and refiling so that doctors can spend more time bedside. What's more, patient education materials for cardiological tests, procedures and disease management can all be delivered within a patient portal.

EHRs an effective means of diagnosing and treating COPD patients

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder is the third-leading cause of death in the U.S., affecting fifteen million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even more startling, CDC data shows that more than 50 percent of adults who experience low pulmonary function were not aware that they had COPD. 

Clearly, disease prevention for COPD is something that has slipped under the radar for many physicians as well as patients, which is why the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute conducted a COPD Workshop to come up with solutions on how to better detect and treat this widespread condition. One of the key factors that was brought up in the workshop's discussion about disease ascertainment was the need to "expand use of EHR data to improve COPD management/treatment adherence among patients."

EHRs could help better detect COPD in at-risk demographics, such as seniors.

How EHRs can help reduce COPD cases
The NHLBI also stated in the workshop that there needed to be a clear set of EHR definitions and standard measurements for COPD. Diagnostic treatment guidelines for various at-risk demographics, such as rural populations, active and retired military, the elderly and smokers, could also allow for a better coordination of care.

One of the biggest quality-of-care factors is hospital readmission rates, as this determines financial burdens as well as coordination of care. A recent study published in the Handbook of Medical and Healthcare Technologies used EHR information for determining COPD, as it is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide, specifically impacting Medicaid and Medicare spending.

Treating COPD is costly, so preventing these issues early on could help patients keep better track of their health care budgets as well. One of leading causes of COPD is smoking, which could also easily be identified in medical software.

"Every [EHR] includes tobacco use as one of its required measurements for meaningful use. So there are keys inside every EHR that can help physicians move forward," Dr. Cain, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, explained in Modern Medicine. 

However, Cain went on to explain to the source that not all EHRs come equipped with the necessary information needed to determine risk factors for COPD. This is why having IMS is so important. Due to specific templates that better address the diagnoses and treatments for COPD, this highly sophisticated medical software allows physicians, nurses and staff to provide more quality care for COPD patients. 

Cardiologists require modern, streamlined EHR solutions

Cardiology is a field requiring key EHR components that weren't always available in the past, which, at times, led to dissatisfaction with EHRs in general during the beginning days of EHR implementation.

According to numerous interviews conducted by the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, cardiologists have become "wary" of poorly designed EHR systems. Although the physicians commented that medical software eliminated problems with paper records, they also noted that there were still lingering issues with productivity and interoperability between providers with platforms they had used in the past.

One cardiologist, Dr. John Rumsfeld, the chief scientific officer of the American College of Cardiology's National Cardiovascular Data Registry, explained these misgivings a bit further, stating that cardiologists "are wary of what they are getting into, or being forced to do, but they have a positive curiosity about whether or not EHRs can become clinically functional enough to improve care."

"With intelligent medical software, cardiologists don't have to choose between high-quality innovation and productivity with their EHR systems."

Indeed, the CRF went on to explain that for the past few years, there has been a "perception problem" for EHRs with cardiologists, mostly related to poor communication issues and data entry roadblocks with outdated software. The source also cited a study conducted in a joint collaboration between the Rand Corporation and the American Medical Association that revealed similar issues with inadequate EHR systems. The study concluded that better EHR usability is needed for EHRs to move forward in clinical settings, as many doctors are having to comply with meaningful use regulations and other federal mandates.

Cardiology-specific EHR features could ease these issues
The good news? With intelligent medical software, cardiologists don't have to choose between high-quality innovation and productivity with their EHR systems. With templates specifically catered to cardiovascular disease prevention, doctors don't have to spend as much time on documentation and lab orders. Templates are also customizable depending on the size and workflow of your practice. Here are just a few conditions that can be specifically treated through templates with a cardiology EHR:

  • Congenital heart disease
  • Stress tests
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Valvular heart disease
  • Murmur evaluations
  • Myocarditis
  • Aneurysm coronary
  • Prosthetic valve

Many cardiovascular issues are among the most prevalent in the U.S., making cardiology an important field in preventative health. As such, these physicians need the best possible tools available to send more time keeping their patients well and less time wasted on outdated technology. With cardiology templates, everything from health maintenance to E&M coding to referral tracking is completed in one simple and straightforward platform.

EHRs more collaborative for patients with addiction issues

Software might seem a bit unilateral in a mental health care setting, but IMS has actually come a long way in helping psychologists and other medical professionals handle the challenges and obstacles related to mental disorders. One area where electronic health records have improved dramatically is with addiction and substance abuse.

Addiction rates in the U.S.
According to the National Institutes of Health, illicit drug abuse in the U.S. is on the rise. During 2012, an estimated 23.9 million Americans age 12 or older (around 9.2 percent of the population) had used illicit drugs. These rates are up from 8.3 percent of the population in 2002.

Although many people associate drug use with a younger demographic, the NIH indicated that the use of these substances is increasing with people in their fifties. Drug use in baby boomers in particular is historically higher compared to similar cohorts in the past.

As a result, doctors need to have the right tools to make sure that patients are getting the treatment they need.
Substance abuse is on the rise in many demographics across the U.S.

Perhaps the most alarming statistic from the NIH was related to the "treatment gap" of those suffering from addiction issues. Of the 23.1 million Americans who need therapy for problems related to drugs or alcohol, only 2.5 million received care from a treatment facility. This means that physicians and software need to become much more robust to better detect and treat these issues.

Software improves greatly for people with addiction issues
There are signs that EHRs are getting more advanced in helping people with substance abuse issues. According to a study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, interoperable EHRs in behavioral health settings need a "multidisciplinary approach" that should be developed with flexibility in mind. Not only will this allow physicians to be more efficient and balance workflow, but interoperable EHRs can also work to fill in these gaps so that more Americans are getting the treatment they need to overcome these addictions.

Addiction is a condition that affects an individual both mentally and physically, and it also can also have wide-reaching effects on the whole family. That's why having the tools to better treat these patients is so important. Here are some excellent IMS features in mental health EHRs that can help doctors:

  • Specialty templates specifically designed for addiction and substance abuse problems.
  • An interface that works well with health maintenance, referrals and chronic care management.
  • Scalable solutions that fit behavioral health practices and treatment facilities large and small.

IMS could help doctors better identify depression in patients

Screening patients for mental issues like depression can be a challenging task for doctors. After all, the symptoms can vary widely from patient to patient, and there are many forms of depression to look out for, from major depressive disorder to postpartum depression.

However, it's crucial that physicians have the proper medical software to help treat these conditions, as depression is a growing problem in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 8 percent of individuals over age 12 reported that they are currently struggling with depression, but it's likely that the unreported figures are even higher.

Depression can have long-lasting effects on a patient's well-being, both mentally and physically. As a result, physicians require electronic health records that specifically address mental health issues like depression. Moreover, the recent health care reforms outlined in the Affordable Care Act have put more of a focus on treating these diseases.

Many symptoms of depression are physical as well as mental.
Treating depression involves proper reporting and screening.

What research says about EHRs and depression
In the early days of medical software, EHRs did not have specialty templates that catered to mental problems and symptoms. However, recent research is now showing that simplified and straightforward implementation of clinical documentation related to depression could be key in treating patients.

According to a 2013 study conducted in four outpatient clinics of the Department of Family Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, robust EHR development alone wasn't enough in treating people with depression. The study concluded that data extraction and exporting processes also need to be efficient and part of routine care in order to find treatment success moving forward. The study also revealed that although depression is common, only half of patients are ever screened for the disease, and only 60 percent of those who are screened actually receive the treatment they need.

There are many great therapies and medicines available to help depression patients live more balanced lives, so it is important that doctors are doing the best they can detect and report depression symptoms. With IMS EHRs, psychologists can enjoy beneficial features to better serve their patients, including:

  • Templates that cater to many mental health problems, such as major depressive disorder, addiction, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
  • Chart "by exception" capabilities that can allow doctors to cater their treatment to the individual's own needs.
  • Chronic care management and clinical flow charts that make ongoing depression treatments much easier to maintain.

Depression is an important medical condition that should not be overlooked. With the proper IMS EHR, physicians can better report these issues and treat patients with the utmost care.

EHRs greatly benefit the quality of endocrinology care

Endocrinology has become one of the most important medical specialties over the past few decades, so it's no surprise that a lot of endocrinologists feel a bit overworked these days.

Endocrinologists are busy doctors
According to a 2012 Medscape Physician Compensation Report, most endocrinologists stated that they spent 30 to 50 hours per week seeing patients, and the percentage of endocrinologists who worked more than 60 hours per week doubled from 3 to 6 percent from the previous survey. Since there has been a dramatic rise in diabetes cases as well as other hormone-related disorders, endocrinologists may feel like they are burning the candle at both ends.

Almost 70 percent of the endocrinologists surveyed indicated that they spent, on average, around 13 to 25 minutes with each patient, and the source also indicated that endocrinologists will likely see an increase in patient visits in the next few years. Additionally, the physicians in the survey indicated that they spent about 14 hours during their work weeks dedicated to administrative tasks or paperwork. With EHRs, these numbers can become much more manageable for a busy field of medicine like endocrinology.

EHR templates allow for better efficiency and flexibility.
With IMS, endocrinologists can manage their time much more effectively.

Research supporting endocrinology EHRs
As such, endocrinologists need to implement robust and intelligent medical software to keep up with these demands. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Biomedical Semantics showed that technology stored on electronic health records was able to correctly identify subjects with specific diseases and phenotypes, including type 2 diabetes and hypothyroidism.

Another study in 2013 published in the journal Medical Care also noted that there have been a number of successes accomplished with operational EHR data, including work with thyroid disorders. Both in research and health care settings, EHRs are proving to be a worthwhile investment for endocrinologists.

Why IMS matters to endocrinologists
Endocrinological disorders can vary widely and affect many different types of people. As a result, many doctors who work with hormone disorders rely on specialty temples to store and share patient data related to endocrinology. With IMS, doctors can create EHR data for a variety of endocrinology diseases, including thyroid disorders, diabetes, infertility issues, bone and calcium conditions and many more.

With IMS, endocrinologists can also handle administrative duties that might be taking more time away from their patients than they would like. IMS can handle document and image storage, referral management and chronic care routines on one easy-to-use platform.

EHRs improve diabetic patient outcomes

Medical professionals have read studies and learned about how electronic health records can improve physician workflow, implementation strategies and the overall health care system. However, some of the success stories about intelligent medical software and patient care fly under the radar – but this isn't the case with diabetics.

The Department of Health and Human Services has highlighted numerous real-life instances where health IT has made a difference in the lives of diabetics across the U.S. Here are just a few of these success stories:

"Sahgal was able to better identify prediabetic and diabetic patients by using EHRs, and the technology also allowed diabetic patients to become more engaged in self-management of the disease."

Dr. Sumir Sahgal works in the Bronx, New York, at a multispecialty physician group. In 2008, Sahgal decided to include an EHR systems in all six offices of Essen Medical Associates in order to improve diabetic care, and the investment definitely paid off. According to HHS, Sahgal was able to better identify prediabetic and diabetic patients by using EHRs, and the technology also allowed diabetic patients to become more engaged in self-management of the disease. One of the most impactful benefits of the software included care coordination. The EHR allowed Sahgal to look at notes from a patient's endocrinologist, which created a more streamlined and efficient treatment plan.

EHR implementation works with remote patients, too
Donald Jones is an Army veteran and retired educator that has been able to effectively manage his diabetes during retirement thanks to his doctor's health IT plan. By using software, Jones is able to check his test results, acquire new medication while traveling with his wife in their RV and better manage his condition while still keeping up with his grandson. Dr. Karen Smith, his primary care physician, was able to work one-on-one with the software every step of the way.

KC Arnold is a nurse practitioner who works in a diabetes center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the practice opened with the use of EHRs, and the technology allowed many patients to better maintain care after the storm.

"I knew that my patients had no other options for diabetes management in the area, especially considering that the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina forced many physician practices to go out of business," Arnold explained. "I decided that day to open my own practice so that the diabetes patients in my area could continue to receive needed care."

Arnold went on to tell HHS that she is looking forward to health information exchange in the future to serve her patients even further.

These are just a few glimpses into how EHRs can truly make a difference in the lives of doctors as well as patients.

Gynecology EHR features safeguard women’s preventative health

To prevent many diseases and promote fertility in women, regular well woman visits and gynecological exams must be performed. Over the past decade, obstetricians and gynecologists have allowed EHRs to help women and doctors find solutions for their fertility and women's health needs.

Florida OB/GYN practice sees great success with EHR software
There are many chronic conditions that can be possibly detected with the aid of intelligent medical software. One such example was highlighted by the Department of Health and Human Services and showcased the town of Palm Beach, Florida, which has experienced expansive growth over the years. To date, Palm Beach County has been placed in the top 30 most populous counties in the U.S. As a result, Palm Beach Obstetrics and Gynecology OA, which was established in 1993, has also seen a lot of growth as the population of the city continues to expand.

Dr. Sam Lederman, who was once the single practitioner, explained that he saw the potential of EHRs in gynecology as soon as they entered the health IT market. Ever since the practice opened, electronic services have allowed Palm Beach Obstetrics and Gynecology to handle all of its scheduling, billing and collection functions. However, things really changed when these same innovations began to aid doctors in quality patient care. After installing these programs, overall practice efficiency improved significantly, which was much-needed to keep up with the ever-expanding population in Palm Beach. Lederman informed the source that the practice has been issuing upgrades to make the EMR software work even more optimally for its patients, including e-prescriptions and patient portals.

EHR features that help women
There are numerous EHR templates that are specific to well woman health. Detecting many of these ailments is essential to preventing more serious complications further down the line. Some of these templates include:

  • pelvic disorders
  • sexually transmitted diseases
  • urinary tract infections
  • ovarian conditions and cancer
  • ectopic pregnancy
  • infertility
  • hysterectomy (and alternatives to hysterectomy)
  • cervical conditions and cancer
  • menopause
  • menstrual disorders
  • oral human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • pregnancy
  • uterine fibroids
  • endometriosis
  • breast conditions and cancer
  • molar pregnancy
  • premenstrual syndrome
  • uterine prolapse
  • miscarriage
  • brachial plexus
  • dysmernorrhea
  • urogynecology and pelvic floor disorders

Templates for all of these issues can then with tailored to match your patients' specific needs, including clinical flow charts, integrated OB charts, medical history of past pregnancies as well as document and image downloads. Doctors can also issue patient education tools for women via patient portals and find scalable solutions regardless of the the size of their practice.

EHR templates boost internal medicine

Information technology is growing in prevalence and functionality across all industries, including internal medicine. With intelligent medical software, physicians can enjoy many benefits through quicker reimbursements, lower denial rates, improved workflow and automatic coding recommendations.

These important tasks are even more crucial in internal medicine, a field that covers a wide variety of diseases and symptoms as well as various age groups and demographics. Meaningful use attestation is also a common reporting strategy that internal medicine practices need to consider, and with IMS, they can remove the guesswork of keeping compliant with federal mandates.

What studies say
Because electronic health record use is still relatively new compared to other clinical advancements, there isn't a sizable amount of data about the subject. However, there are several studies proving the importance of EHRs in internal medicine practices.

For example, according to a 2010 study published in Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, reliance on multiple systems (both paper and electronic) can limit a doctor's ability to perform care coordination activities. As a result, it is in a practice's best interest to streamline its system under one consistent and functional IMS platform.

A 2012 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine monitored the potential of EHR technology in correlation with malpractice claims. Researchers noted that EHR use has been linked to a reduction in medication errors, more efficient doctor visits and tools that can help in population health. However, some doctors still have some misgivings about EHR technology. As result, researchers wanted to connect medical software to another subject that many doctors are concerned about: medical malpractice. The results showed that EHR implementation and use was associated with lower malpractice claims.

Templates catered to internal medicine could prove useful for practices
One of the biggest concerns with EHRs is that many take a one-size-fits-all approach, which can leave some doctors with a lack of choices if they want to narrow down on a specific condition or treatment option. Doctors who work in internal medicine are often quite busy, as they treat a variety of diseases – from diabetes to asthma. In many cases, they also have to become knowledgeable about how these conditions affect different age groups.

As a result, internal medicine physicians need robust medical software that caters to many different issues. IMS can allow physicians to set up chart "by exception" capabilities, which includes template auto-fills with common information at the start of an appointment. However, as the physician interacts with the patient, he or she can then change what is not applicable in the template based on individual need. Not only does this make physicians' lives easier, but it also creates an environment where the focus is on the patient. 

What's more, IMS is ICD-10 compliant and helps practices work toward meaningful use attestation, so there's no need to be concerned about meeting federal guidelines. Other features, such as chronic care management and links to medications and diagnostic codes, can help internal medicine doctors stay up to date with recurrent patients.