Remember during Pediatric Residency when you had more time to document Visits in the clinic? As a Pediatrician in training, you were probably not seeing 25+ patients per day. This slower pace and multiple residents in the clinic allowed time to write and write and write (usually there were paper charts in previous residency programs). Once in clinical practice, many Pediatricians were only able to document a sentence or some key words for the visit due to the time pressures of Practicing Primary care Pediatrics. Although, in most cases, the Pediatrician had a total well visit, the clinical paper chart did not completely reflect what was done during the visit. This level of charting is not optimal for continuity of care as well as documentation related to coding and billing.
A visit at a Pediatric office has a much different look and feel than the visit at a plastic surgeons’ office. When an Electronic Health Record system is designed for all specialties, the system usually misses many of the day-to-day details of a particular specialty (if you are in a Multi-specialty group, you might not have a choice). Even if a general E.H.R. system maintains all the content of a One Physician Specialty, the E.H.R. system has many extra windows/screens/options due to being designed for every specialty. A ‘universal’ design usually causes hours of extra charting time and in many cases misses pertinent information found in a single specialty Electronic Health Record system.
Clinical Templates provide a list of options for a visit (e.g. Asthma Template) that can also serve as reminders of options for treatment. Template design is also important for ease of documentation. A template that looks like MS Excel with boxes and many pop-ups is generally much more different to see, use and document than a template with appropriate ‘white space’ that looks more like paper. Differences in design also might provide an indicator of how up-to-date the vendor is on their User Interface.
Here are some areas that all Pediatric-Specific E.H.R. systems should contain:
• Layout and design of system based on today’s Pediatric office. This means easy to use and see screens, different views of the system depending on role of individual in the practice (Front Desk, Medical Assistant, Nurse, Practice Administration, Billing, Physician, other Providers).
• Templates based on content similar to either bright futures or Denver development.
• Growth charts based on today’s recommended standard per the AAP/CDC.
• Listing by family, linking siblings, ability to copy medical and social history from siblings
• Communication tools such as e-mail reminders, voice message reminders and announcements.
• Patient Portal.
• Link of Back-end Medical Billing to Front Desk team to communicate/flag charts that have a balance to be collected on next visit.
• Ability to link to Vaccine Exchanges, Quest, Lab Corp and Health Exchanges.
Some other questions to consider: Was and does the system continue to be developed via a Pediatric Office? Is this office similar to your office in operations (for instance, do they accept Medical Assistance and have integration with Vaccine for Children)?