Technology's advancements have provided more innovative ways to store patients’ records and other relevant information. Currently, healthcare organizations move towards completely electronic systems to keep all medical records in one location - a centralized database. This will help physicians and different medical staff get the essential patient information quicker and easier. According to recent statistics, 86.9% of office-based physicians in the US are already using electronic medical records (EMR) software to manage their patients’ records. Moreover, the global hospital EMR software market will amount to 20.7 billion U.S. dollars by 2025. With such adoption rates risen, we’ve decided to develop an electronic medical records system from scratch. Let’s dive into the details below!
What exactly is an electronic medical records system?
Basically, an electronic medical records (EMR) system is a digital version of all the health-related information designed around the unique workflows of the healthcare organization. Thanks to the electronic medical records system, you can find such information as medical history, diagnoses, medications, lab results, immunization dates, allergies, doctor's notes and recommendations. Sometimes, the terms electronic medical record and electronic health record (or “EMR” and “EHR”) are used interchangeably. However, they are not the same. EMR systems have a focus on a patient's medical and treatment history in one practice while EHR systems include clinical data collected in the provider’s office that can be shared with other health care providers.
Types of electronic medical records systems
Here you will find various types of EMR software that meet any healthcare organisation’s needs and requirements. Keep on reading to learn more!
- Cloud-based: this type of software allows healthcare providers to keep all the medical information about patients in the cloud and access it online.
- ONC-certified: means that EMR systems have certification established by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and give healthcare providers and patients confidence that the systems they use store their data securely and maintain confidentiality.
- Behavioral/Mental Health EMR: designed around the unique workflows of mental health practices, these systems allow specialists who serve people seeking help from behavioral health challenges and provide them with specific options that simplify the care delivery, documentation and billing processes.
- Medical Billing Software: used by healthcare providers to process patients’ statements and insurance claims more quickly and easily by automating administrative tasks.
Why do you need an electronic medical records system?
Healthcare organizations have been forced to invest in EMR solutions to meet the rapidly changing demand for a higher quality of care. Patient-related data housed on the EMR system allows them to share it within the clinic and get a more complete picture of patient treatment and medical history. Moreover, this solution is also helpful if you need the following:
- To make electronic medical records scalable by turning paper-based patients’ charts into electronic ones
- To reduce the number of duplicate tests
- To increase productivity by enhancing patient workflow
- To reduce errors within the medical practice
- To process patients’ billing accurately and efficiently
- To deliver advanced e-prescribing and clinical documentation
However, we should mention that these are not all advantages offered by the EMR system.
What’s the idea of the project?
The adoption of digital technologies has accelerated changes in the healthcare sector. Along with the technological changes, the ways the healthcare providers deliver healthcare services to patients are reshaping. That’s where EMR systems come into play. With a wide range of functionality, it allows experts to make healthcare more driven effectively. Not only can they access critical patient data in one click and share it with other staff within the clinic, but the system also helps them process payment and insurance claims quickly, schedule patients as well as update information about the patients. Having vast experience in such sectors as logistics, healthcare, eLearning, eCommerce and recruitment, DDI Development team can turn any idea into a real product. Recently, we developed and implemented an EMR system that helps our client to do the following:
- eliminate paper-based records and save space
- cut down operational costs
- speed up billing process
- improve documentation
- provide clinical alerts and reminders
Project structure of the electronic medical records system
When developing and implementing an electronic medical records system, the development team applied the following technologies:
The development process of the electronic medical records system
Here you can find more details about the development process of the electronic medical records solution.
To create an EMR system, we used the agile methodology. Thanks to this methodology, we could better coordinate the development process as well as keep the balance even when the workload was extremely heavy. The development team consisted of the following specialists:
- 1 Business analyst (BA)
- 1 Project manager (PM)
- 2 UI/UX designers
- 2 Front-end engineers
- 2 Quality assurance engineers (QA)
- 2 Backend engineers
- 1 iOS engineer
- 1 Android engineer
There were several reasons to choose the agile software development methodology. Let’s take a closer look at them below:
- The team could respond to changes by following a development plan
- Working software took higher priority over comprehensive documentation
- We could fix any error in the middle of the project.
At the very start, our Business Analyst interviewed a client to gather requirements and document them to prepare functional specifications. Only by analyzing all the requirements could we make sure that the future EMR system would work as the client wanted. Once all the requirements were identified, our team was able to define the users’ roles - physician, patient and administrator - with the following features and functionalities:
- Patient portal
According to the documentation, the Project Manager provided the client with a preliminary estimate and suggested the roadmap for the development process of the EMR system. Once it was approved, the team broke down the planned scope of work (so-called Backlog) into smaller parts named 2-week sprints. The development team started the design, development and testing process once they received which features from the backlog would be developed by the end of the sprint. The development process took 12 months. Once the EMR solution was free of bugs, we launched it and made improvements based on the client’s and users’ feedback.
Below you can find some information about the user roles within the EMR system. This will give you a clear picture of the users’ roles and their responsibilities within the system. Let’s dive into the details below!
- Patient: is a user who can register in the EMR system, view medical information, schedule an appointment, etc.
- Physician: is a user of the EMR system responsible for providing care, prescribing medications and drugs, ordering laboratory tests, etc.
- The Administrator has the highest administrative responsibility level within the task management system and can customize that access for users.
Patients can register in the patient portal of the EMR system. As a Patient, you need to log in to the system to land on the home page. Generally, it includes the following options - Medical Records, Appointments, Medical Bills, Medications, Labs, Messages and Account Settings.
The Medical Records feature allows you to view all the health-related information - from medications and allergies to lab results. Not only does it help you to be in the know about your diseases - current and previous, but you can also view immunizations and other key data points with a simple click.
The Appointments feature allows you to view appointments slots of the doctors and schedule a future visit. In addition to that, you can filter appointments or deny them. All the information is presented in the table with the following columns:
- ID #
- Visit type (urgent/new symptom visit/annual medicare wellness visit/follow up visit/chronic care visit)
- Status (pending/unconfirmed)
The Medical Bills feature helps you to be in the know about transactions made within the EMR system. On this page, you will see the following information: Mount due, Status (overdue, due to), Physician, Visit type (urgent/new symptom visit/annual medicare wellness visit/follow up visit/chronic care visit), Date, Action (view/print/download) and Pay bill.
Thanks to the Medications feature, you can find what medications and drugs have been prescribed. Moreover, you can also know the dosage and frequency. This will prevent you from taking the wrong medication and remind you when it’s time for a refill. In addition to that, you can set various reminders for the whole day that will prevent you from missing a dose.
The Labs feature includes all the digital information about your blood, urine or body tissues samples. Thanks to this data, medical providers can diagnose medical conditions, plan or evaluate treatments and monitor diseases. Moreover, it allows them to compare results from the previous and current tests to look for changes in your health.
Once you are logged in as a Physician, you will be redirected to the Dashboard page. On this page, you can see general information on what is going on within the EMR system: Agenda for today, New patients, Billing information, etc.
The Appointments feature allows you to manage appointments: booking, modifying and canceling appointments. This will prevent you from manually dealing with setting dates and times with your patients. Moreover, the system automatically sends reminders or alerts if any changes have been made within the EMR solution.
With the Patient Records feature, you can access information that includes allergies, medicines and any reactions the patient has had to medicine in the past. Not only can you view test results or order tests, but you can also schedule an appointment and prescribe medications. This will help significantly improve diagnosis and treatment.
The Billings feature opens up ample opportunities to provide a seamless billing process. Not only does it help you manage and track all payment information, but it also sends medical claims automatically and on time. In addition to that, the system reminds patients about payment or insurance expiration.
Thanks to the Reports feature, you are in the know of how well your practice runs. On this page, you will see the following tabs - Patients, Appointments, Payments. On the Patients page, you can obtain the following information presented in the table:
- Patient ID
- Patient Name
- Date of Birth
- Last visit
- Next visit
- Medical history (view/print)
The Messages feature allows you to quickly communicate within the system by sending text/voice/video messages. Not only does it speed up and simplify collaboration among medical teams, but it also allows you to keep your messages easily accessible.
As an Administrator, you can view the following options in your main menu - Dashboard, Users, Billing, Reports, Integrations and System Settings. Here we are going to discuss the options that are not presented in other accounts. Let’s take a closer look below!
The Users feature allows you to know all the users registered in the EMR system. In addition to that, you can add or delete any user accounts with one click. All the information is easily accessible and well-structured. You can find it in the table that includes such columns as Names, Phone numbers, Address, Emails, Roles (Patient/Physician), Last access date, Actions.
With the Integrations feature, you can integrate additional medical solutions into already existing hospital infrastructure. This will help you receive an efficient, easy and understandable workflow. Moreover, it allows you to collect and analyze the medical data automatically.
Thanks to the System Settings feature, you can make any changes within EMR. Moreover, you can set up rules and restrictions from this page. However, there is no need to change default settings if they work for your healthcare organization or clinic.
Also, you can read about: How we've built a medical appointment scheduling software
Key features of the EMR system
Here's a closer look at some of the key features of an EMR system. Let’s get things under way!
- Scheduling: with this feature, healthcare providers can organize their day and see which patients are scheduled and what type of appointment is set.
- Templates: this feature provides healthcare providers with different types of templates. Not only does it help them edit templates on the fly, but they can also add or remove sections that are not relevant to an individual patient.
- Recommendations: this feature helps healthcare providers to determine treatment for certain diagnoses, prescribe preferred medications, order certain lab tests, etc.
- E-prescribing: with this feature, medical practitioners can review a patient's active medication history and prescribe medications.
- Labs: this feature allows medical practitioners to electronically order lab tests and receive results while patients can access this information through the patient portal.
- Patient portal: with this feature, patients can log in and access various information, such as their medication history, the number of visits to doctors and lab results in the EMR system.
Also, you can read about: How we've built Patient Management Software from scratch
Benefits of EMR software for your healthcare organization
Let’s overview what benefits healthcare organizations and clinics can derive from implementing EMR software.
- Better communication: EMR solution allows you to improve communication among members of the care team as well as between them and their patients.
- Improved care: Thanks to the EMR solution, medical staff is warned about potential drug interactions or patient allergies. Not only does it help them avoid prescribing incorrect medications and dosages, but it can also eliminate unwanted events.
- More efficient workflow: Maintaining electronic patient medical records and accessing them online with a simple click speeds up productivity, eliminates paper-based time-consuming processes and saves time and resources.
- Advanced reporting: Only by digitizing medical records can you easily create reports that identify and track health risks for your patient or group of patients.
- Fostered patient loyalty: Medical practitioners can deliver e-based information directly to their patients which drives them to come back for future medical needs.
Bottom line: Ready to run your healthcare practice more efficiently?
Delivering better care to patients is highly substantial for the healthcare industry. Only by sharing medical information within the healthcare organization or clinic online can save time and resources as well as provide a better experience possible during treatments of the patients. That is where electronic medical records systems come into play. Recently, these solutions have become more prevalent in healthcare facilities. Not only do they help practitioners reduce manual work and eliminate all the possible errors due to human factors, but they allow medical professionals to focus more on patient care by standardizing patient records across the board.
However, making this transition can be extremely time-consuming for the physicians and administration as well. Moreover, succeeding with EMR software depends on the needs of your hospital or clinic. We, at DDI Development, can create and implement an EMR solution taking into account your unique requirements. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line if you want to bring your idea to life as fast as possible.