5 Reasons Why PTs Love Their Cloud-Based EMRs

Some physical therapy clinics seem to have it all together: documentation gets done in a flash, claims are processed—and reimbursed—with ease, and everyone’s up-to-speed on all the latest regulatory changes. Maybe they’re born with it—or maybe it’s their EMR. Great cloud-based EMRs are designed with PTs in mind; these systems help make running a clinic seem like a breeze. Here are the top five reasons why PTs love working with a cloud-based EMR:

1. Affordability

Thanks to the cloud, PTs no longer have to shell out big bucks upfront—or cover the recurring costs associated with manual updates and IT staff—to use server-based EMR systems. Plus, software-as-a-service (SaaS) EMR vendors typically offer month-to-month payment models, making a cloud-based EMR an even less risky investment—an especially crucial selling point for smaller practices. Plus, users of these systems can switch to another EMR at any time. Vendors know this, which means they’re dedicated to providing customers with the highest-quality products and support.

2. Support

Speaking of support, like your best friend (or a pint of ice cream), a good EMR vendor is there when you need it with top-notch customer service. Think you have to bust out a user manual or comb through compiled help files if you have issues during setup or implementation? Not with a cloud-based EMR that’s ready to assist you with how-to guides, extensive knowledge bases, and an expert support staff.

3. Ease-of-use

A great cloud-based EMR is simple, user-friendly, easily scalable, and flexible. PTs love that cloud-based EMR vendors provide constant software and compliance updates to improve the user experience. Some vendors even develop enhancements based on user suggestions. With cloud-based EMR systems, PTs never have to lift a finger to access the newest version of an application or waste time worrying about—or fixing—notes or claims that aren’t up to payers’ standards.

4. Security

When it comes to keeping your patient data safe and secure, never fear—cloud-based EMR is here. With bank-level security encryption, tough password guidelines, automatic data backups, audit trails, super-secure data centers, and specialized staff, cloud-based EMRs have your back (and your front, and your sides, and—you get the picture).

5. Accessibility

PTs enjoy the convenience of working with a truly cloud-based EMR, which can be accessed anytime, anywhere, from any browser, and on any Internet-enabled device (unlike those bulky server-based EMRs, which sit in your office like a bump on a log—and require downloads, installations, and manual upgrades).

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Cloud-based EMR vendors work hard behind the scenes to make documentation, billing, compliance, and practice management less of a hassle—and less of a hit to a clinic’s budget. But it’s not just about saving time and money (or wearing long-lasting makeup). A truly great EMR makes PTs feel all of the feels. Why? Because these features give PTs the freedom to get back to doing what they love most: helping patients.


6 Ways an EMR Keeps Your Data Safe from Hackers

Sadly, the Internet is full of folks looking to steal your personal information, and while most people probably are keenly aware of the need to protect their Social Security numbers (SSNs) and credit card accounts, many don’t realize that their medical identities also are vulnerable to hackers. According to NBC News, the Ponemon Institute estimates more than 2.3 million adult Americans have either been the victim of or know someone who has been a victim of medical identity theft during or before 2014. Even scarier? The institute’s fifth annual survey revealed that medical identity theft rose by 22% in 2014—and that rate shows no signs of slowing down. Forbes reports that in this year alone, three major health insurers—Anthem, Premera, and CareFirst—were hacked. These major data breaches exposed tens of millions of patient records, leaving those patients at risk for medical identity theft.

Using stolen patient information, criminals can fraudulently receive medical care—inherently altering victims’ medical records and racking up costly medical bills in those patients’ names. If you’re a medical provider, the responsibility of preventing data breaches—and the legal and financial consequences of failing to do so—is on you. But you aren’t in this fight alone. Here are several ways top-notch cloud-based EMR systems keep your patient data safe:

1. Bank-level security encryption

An industry standard, bank-level security encryption scrambles up your information (sort of like my breakfast this morning), so you can safely transmit it over the Internet using a cypher (i.e., an encryption algorithm)—like a 256-bit or better Secure Socket Layer (SSL)—and a cipher key. Furthermore, as this resource explains, “Data transmitted over an SSL connection cannot be tampered with or forged without the two parties becoming immediately aware of the tampering.”

2. Password guidelines

Password-protected access is a given for any technology company worth its salt, but your EMR also should have strict password guidelines to better protect your patient data. For extra security, look for the TRUSTe Certified Privacy badge on your EMR vendor’s website. To earn the privilege of displaying that badge, the EMR must:

  1. employ strict password guidelines that ensure complete login security, and
  2. feature unique password-protected access to ensure HIPAA compliance.

3. Automatic data backups

When was the last time you backed up your data? (Insert cricket noises.) Yeah, that’s what I thought. Not to worry: your EMR has your back. Armed with automatic data backups—with multiple replication processes to boot—your EMR will never lose your all-important patient data, even if you lose power or Internet connection.

4. An audit trail

This special feature helps discourage hackers—and fraud in general—by tracking user activity (criminals don’t want to get caught, after all). So long as providers keep it turned on, an audit trail maintains a chronological record of all attempts to access patient data. It records the data accessed, who accessed it, and when and from where it was accessed.

5. Specialized staff

Great customer service reps are hard to find, but when it comes to protecting your patients’ protected health information (PHI), the search is crucial. That’s why awesome EMR vendors take the time to hire and train staff who are well-versed in online security measures and at the ready to provide you with their expertise.

6. Data centers

To ensure HIPAA compliance, the best EMRs house all their—and thus, your—data at state-of-the-art data centers. These data centers must possess bank-level security and supreme encryption methods that render data unreadable—even if hackers somehow get to it. WebPT, for example, stores all of its data at IO Data Center, a Tier III-Certified facility that provides multiple layers of access control, including a defensible perimeter, video surveillance, biometric screening, and round-the­-clock security guards.

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Often, the victims of medical identity theft remain unaware of the crime for months—or even years. Upon discovery, victims usually have a difficult time determining how it happened, and they often struggle to undo the damage. Make sure your patients don’t fall victim to medical identity theft. Web-based physical therapy software vendors—specifically, those that built their systems from scratch with the Internet in mind—are your practice’s best defense against cyber attackers.


How to Implement an EMR in 4 Easy Steps

If your PT clinic currently uses pen and paper for documentation, implementing an electronic medical record (i.e., EMR) in your clinic might seem like a daunting task. All new technology comes with a learning curve, but implementing an EMR system doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are four easy steps to get you up and running:

1. Identify your needs.

As you begin your search for an EMR, you’ll need to examine your clinic’s needs. On the most basic level, your clinic needs an EMR designed with your specific workflow in mind. That means choosing a PT-specific EMR system. The technology should improve your workflow, not make it more difficult. Additionally, the ideal EMR is web-based and comes with month-to-month terms of service. Steer clear of long-term contracts, because if your business changes, your EMR should be able to change with it. For example, you should have the flexibility to add (or remove) users, features, or whatever else your clinic might need. Moral of the story? Figure out your needs, and then choose a system that’s:

  • Web-based,
  • Designed for your speciality, and
  • Flexible enough to accommodate an ever-evolving practice.

2. Investigate technology challenges.

It’s best to base your EMR decision on how the system fits your practice—not on the technology requirements. But if you’re looking at a server-based system, technology requirements are the name of the game. Server-based systems operate using expensive servers that need IT maintenance. That means you have to invest a lot of money in equipment and possibly even bring on new staff members. In addition to the servers, you will need to make sure you have enough computers for all staff members. Furthermore, because a server-based EMR isn’t accessible from any device, it requires downloads and specific software. Web-based solutions, on the other hand, offer everything you need without the technological hassle. A web-based (not web-enabled) EMR is easy to use on any device with Internet capability—sans IT team. Be sure to ask your prospective EMR vendors about technological requirements before you make your buying decision.

3. Boost your Internet speeds.

When you’re looking at implementing a web-based EMR, you’ll want to ensure your Internet speed is fast enough. Additionally, you’ll want to take a look at your modem and router. An old modem and router can slow even the fastest Internet speeds to a snail’s pace. Another Internet speed word of caution: Running web-based applications on many computers and mobile devices can slow you down. For that reason, you’ll want to make sure your Internet connection is at least 10 Mbps (megabits per second) download. Different EMRs require different speeds, but the 10 Mbps rule is a good starting point. Keep in mind that your total Mbps gets divided among all of the devices in use at a particular time—which means the faster your Internet connection, the faster your EMR. If you’re curious about your own Internet speed, check out this speed test (it’s free).

4. Train, train, and train some more.

You may—or may not—include your staff in your EMR buying decisions. But it’s crucial that you do include them in training. For successful EMR implementation in your clinic, you must have your staff on board with the transition. Training is the best way to ensure your employees are comfortable with the new system before you implement it—which in turn boosts their confidence when it comes time to go live. A good EMR vendor will offer high-quality support and training—for free. Exceptional vendors also provide educational blog posts and webinars on a wide variety of PT industry topics as well as on-demand, online training courses.

 

Keep these four tips in mind for a smoother EMR implementation. Have questions? Leave them in the comments section below, and we’ll get you an answer as soon as we can.


Why You Shouldn’t Stick It Out with Your Software

Are you unhappy with your current EMR? If so, you’re not alone. Every year, thousands of rehab therapy professionals suffer through clunky documentation processes, delayed reimbursements, and manual—which means time- and resource-consuming—updates (cue saccharine Sarah McLachlan song). But it doesn’t have to be like that. For as little as a few dollars a day, you can rescue a rehab therapy professional from the cruelty of antiquated and dysfunctional EMRs.

Okay, so maybe the current EMR market doesn’t quite call for an ASPCA-esque commercial, but for rehab therapy professionals who deal with ill-designed EMRs every day, the struggle is very real. According to a 2013 report from Orem, Utah-based research firm KLAS, private practice providers “are leaving their vendors at an unprecedented rate as EMR solutions fail to meet rising expectations in small physician practices.” The report found that providers are experiencing bad service, product gaps, poor usability, and other limitations that come in like a wrecking ball and destroy clinic productivity, employee satisfaction, and revenue.

If you’re a professional grappling with EMR dissatisfaction, your current system’s résumé probably reads like this:

  • server-based
  • designed for physicians
  • charges per chart or visit
  • lacks free training and support

While those aren’t the only reasons for switching, they are four of the biggest EMR pitfalls—and the cause of many a headache for rehab therapy professional everywhere. If you think you can’t ditch that crappy EMR because it’s too difficult or too expensive to switch, you’re wrong. In fact, staying with an EMR that doesn’t work for you could end up costing you more. Here’s how:

Weighty Consequences

Server-based EMRs are obese clunkers full of ancient technology. In the age of all things mobile, you deserve an EMR you can take with you—anywhere, anytime—but you can’t exactly fit a server in your pocket. Server-based systems take up a large chunk of space—and take a large chunk out of your wallet. If you’ve had your EMR for years, you’ve already written off the cost, so having to shell out for a new system—especially a web-based system, which comes with a low initial investment—shouldn’t be too much of a concern. However, if you’ve recently adopted a server-based EMR, I can understand your hesitation to switch—but think about how much that system is costing you in time and productivity.

If you have a server-based system, the responsibility of securing your patients’ protected health information (PHI) and performing all the upgrades is solely on your shoulders—and that’s no easy task, especially if you aren’t technologically inclined (you may even have to hire IT staff to maintain your system, which makes server-based systems even pricier). Plus, if you miss an update, your system immediately becomes out-of-date, putting you at risk for non-compliance—and considering the speed at which regulations change, that could end up being very costly (I’m talking penalties, fees, rejected claims, and audits). Web-based systems, on the other hand, offer you the security, accessibility, compliance, and data management you need.

Weak Flow

You wouldn’t stay in a relationship with a person who didn’t “get you,” right? So why stay with an EMR that doesn’t understand you, your industry, or your workflow? EMRs designed for physicians—not physical therapists—tend to offer workflows that don’t make sense for your needs, forcing you to spend far too much of your precious time trying to mold the system to fit a PT’s workflow. Wouldn’t you rather get back to treating patients instead of working around problems that shouldn’t even be there? If your EMR lacks key features like built-in functional limitation reporting, 8-minute rule monitoring, and therapy cap tracking, you need to switch to one that cares as much about your practice as you do.

$pendy $upport

If your EMR doesn’t offer you free training and support, you’re going to wind up spending way more than the sticker price to successfully implement and operate your new system (if that’s even possible to begin with). You’re already paying for the software; if you need help along the way, you shouldn’t have to pick up the tab for that, too. Straightforward, flexible, and free phone support and training—from the get-go—should be part of the package, and any EMR company worth its salt will agree with me on that point.

And speaking of unnecessary fees: Does your EMR charge you per chart or per visit? Well, it shouldn’t, because that means you’re penalized for expanding your business. Who wants to be punished for success? (Psst: the answer is no one). When you make the switch, be sure to choose an EMR that charges per user and offers a subscription model. Oh, and one more thing: Beware of “Jack-of-All-Trades” software companies that give away certain aspects of their software (e.g., their documentation or scheduling platforms) in an effort to lock you into their more lucrative components (e.g., revenue cycle management).

 

If you’re having documentation problems, I feel for you. Because even if you have 99 other problems at your clinic, your EMR shouldn’t be one of them. It’s simply not worth holding onto a system that doesn’t function or follow through on promises. And right now—fewer than seven months away from the mandatory transition to ICD-10—may just be the best time to switch if your current EMR vendor isn’t prepared for the transition.

To help you achieve greatness in practice, you need an EMR that is accountable, efficient, cost-effective, accessible, secure, and most importantly, compliant. Trust me, you’re not going to get that with anything but a truly web-based EMR designed with the PT in mind. Don’t settle for less than what you need—and deserve.


4 Reasons Your EMR is Bad for Business

Your clinic already has an EMR, but it’s less than ideal. In fact, you frequently wonder whether it might bring you more satisfaction if you threw the whole computer off the roof of your building. But don’t despair. There are actually good ones out there. Here are four reasons why your current EMR is bad for business and it’s time to make a switch:

1. It’s designed for physicians.

While they share a doctoral title and a love for caring for people, physical therapists and physicians certainly don’t share the same documentation needs. If your EMR is designed for an MD instead of a PT, you’re probably having a heck of a time developing Band-Aid fixes and workarounds to ensure you can complete your documentation compliantly and thus, get paid. So ditch that bad-for-business EMR and switch to one that’s designed for therapists. After all, you want an EMR that’s tailored to your needs. Just think: functional limitation reporting, 8-minute rule monitoring, and therapy cap tracking all built right in. Plus, you’ll have a system that follows your workflow, which’ll save you oodles of time.

2. It’s server-based.

If your EMR is running on a server, you’re shelling out way more money and time than you should be. Not only do you have to worry about securing your patients’ protected health information (PHI), but you’re also responsible for updating the system to ensure you have the latest compliance features—if your server-based EMR vendor upgrades its technology at all. Who’s got time for that? Toss your server-based EMR in the trash heap and adopt a web-based one instead. You’ll be able to securely access your documentation anywhere you have an Internet connection. And because most web-based EMR vendors store all their data with top-tier security firms, you can be sure your patients’ PHI is safe. As if that weren’t enough, you’ll also gain the benefit of never having to perform a manual upgrade again. Instead, your EMR vendor will automatically update the system for you, so you’ll always have the latest technological advancements and relevant compliance features at your fingertips.

3. It costs an arm and a leg—and a chart.

Your EMR should increase your cash flow, not deplete it. So if you’re using a system that charges you per chart or per visit, where’s your incentive to grow? The more patients you add, the more you’re paying your software vendor. That doesn’t sound right. Good thing there’s another payment model available. Move to an EMR that offers you a monthly, membership-style payment structure so your technology can grow with you, not cap your growth. Plus, look for a solution that doesn’t lock you into long-term contracts or hold your data hostage. That way, you’ll never again feel stuck with an EMR that’s bad for business.

4. It doesn’t include free training and support.

If you’re paying extra for support and training—or worse yet, there’s no one available to answer your calls—your EMR is definitely bad for business. Sure, your system should be intuitive and easy to use, but good training should be a given and support should always be available just in case you need it. The last thing you want is to have an urgent question and either not be able to reach someone or have to shell out your hard-earned dollars just so you can get back to work. Instead, opt for an EMR vendor that prides itself on providing exceptional customer support and training—for free.


If any of the above rings true about your current EMR, then there’s no denying it: your system is bad for business. Replace it with a better option—namely,
WebPT. For more information on how WebPT blows your current EMR out of the water, schedule a free demo today.


Four Web-Based EMR Myths Exposed

Spend enough time scrolling through Facebook, perusing magazine headlines in the grocery store checkout line, or catching snippets of daytime television in the waiting room, and you’re bound to get a healthy dose of gossip. Typically, we assume that the grapevine babble stops with Miley Cyrus just being Miley or politicians getting caught doing smarmy things. In reality, though, rumors swirl everywhere—even within the healthcare industry. Take web-based EMR for example. Do you know the myths from the truth?

Myth: The Internet’s not secure enough to keep my important data safe.

Truth: With so much at stake, data security should be one of your top priorities—but don’t write off the Internet just yet. As Power Your Practice points out, web-based EMR systems “store data in high-level storage centers with bank-level security and a minimum of 128-bit encryption methods, per HIPAA’s standards.” Consider WebPT: We store data at IO Data Center, a Tier III-Certified facility that provides multiple layers of access control, including a defensible perimeter, video surveillance, and round-the­-clock security guards.

Paper storage certainly doesn’t offer that, but what about server-based EMRs? Well, if it’s under your desk or in a room in your office, I bet not. And that means you—and your patients—could be at risk. Just think about what could happen in a natural disaster. If your data is stored offsite, in the cloud, with multiple failsafes and backups, it will remain safe and secure. You’ll be able to get back to work as soon as you’re ready—exactly where you left off. What about theft? Whereas IO has 24/7/forever guard protection, your clinic probably doesn’t. WebPT currently holds 27 million patient records in the the cloud, and we’ve never lost a single one.

I could prattle on for several more paragraphs about how any web-based EMR worth its salt is far more secure than the server-based systems of yesteryear. Instead, I’ll refer you to this super awesome blog post I wrote about the security and compliance of web-based vs. server-based software.

Myth: Cloud-based systems go down—a lot.

Truth: System-wide downtime in a web­-based EMR should be a very rare occurrence. WebPT, for example, boasts over 99% uptime. Downtime for site maintenance is scheduled ahead of time during low-use hours, and Members always receive plenty of advance notice. There’s a lot of chatter out there about the threat of downtime with web-based applications, but oftentimes such problems are actually the result of issues with individual Internet providers. In that case, you can easily prevent outages with the installation of a backup Internet solution, such as a mobile hotspot device. Lastly, Internet speeds today are more than fast enough for your web-based EMR needs. (And remember, server-based or web-enabled systems often require Internet connections, too.)

Myth: Learning a new system is just too hard.

Truth: Contrary to popular belief, you can teach old (or change-resistant) practitioners new tricks. As Healthcare IT News reports, “although there is an initial learning curve during the EMR adoption process, an easy-to-use EMR can significantly improve workflows once [it’s] fully implemented.” We here at WebPT, for example, we routinely get new clinics up and running (with training) in a matter of days. Most new Members learn our application in a virtual meeting environment; however, we do offer onsite training as well, which might be convenient if you have a lot of employees who all need to learn the new system at once. Ultimately, no practice-wide change comes without a period of workforce adjustment. In the long run, though, you’ll recover any losses you incur due to transitional hiccups (see the next myth). Furthermore, if you’re considering retiring, selling, or changing hands at your practice, switching to EMR sets your clinic up for future success and an easier transition, says Healthcare IT News.

Myth: Switching to web-based EMR is expensive.

Truth: Some EMRs are expensive—and that goes for both server- and cloud-based systems. However, the best web-based EMRs cost merely a fraction of what server-based systems charge. Why? Because web-based options typically charge low month-to-month costs and require neither a contract nor a hefty upfront investment. Server-based systems, on the other hand, typically require a lot of upfront costs, including hardware purchases or upgrades and software installation. There are also recurring costs to consider, such as hiring new employees, conducting training, and replacing, repairing, or adding to your hardware.

I know I mentioned that web-based EMRs can be expensive, too. The key is to look for truly web-based (not web-enabled) software. True web-based EMRs charge per user, whereas web-enabled either employ the pricing structures of their server-based forebearers (contracts, hefty upfront investments, maintenance fees, etc.) or employ cost-per-chart pricing. You’re probably focused on growing your business, but that’s tough to do in a per-chart pricing structure where you pay more money for every patient you add. In my book, your EMR should work for you and your business, not the other way around.

Now, you may be thinking that paper is more cost-effective than EMR. That’s another myth. (Just think how quickly the costs of copying, transporting, and storing paper records add up.) Check out these myth-busting stats from DSSI:

  • One four-drawer file cabinet holds 15K-20K of pages, costs $25,000 to fill, and costs $2,000 per year to maintain.
  • The US spends $25-35 billion annually on filing, storing, and retrieving paper.
  • It costs $20 to file a document and $120 to track down a misfiled document (if you can find it).

Still not convinced? According to this article, it costs about $8 per year to maintain a paper record, compared to $2 to maintain an electronic record. Multiply that by hundreds of patients, and the case for EMR becomes pretty clear. Plus, with no need to spend precious minutes digging around for patient files, you’ll save in labor costs and free up more time to see patients—a double dose of increased efficiency.


Now that we’ve busted these web-based EMR myths, we can return to guessing which celebrities are now dating. In all seriousness, though, it’s important that private practice PTs wade through the hearsay, so they can make educated decisions about the tools they use. After all, decreases in reimbursements, increases in regulatory changes, and intensifying competition definitely aren’t rumors, and neither is this: Web-based EMRs can sincerely help you not only be better in business, but also stay compliant and craft clean, detailed, and defensible documentation.


Web-Based vs. Web-Enabled: The Tale of Two EMRs

So much of what we do nowadays, we can accomplish online—from tax preparation and banking to movie watching and shopping. It’s no wonder that so many electronic medical record (EMR) systems—tools that allow medical providers to digitally document, schedule, and bill—are accessible online, too. Of course, these EMRs aren’t all the same. Most do not take into account the workflow or treatment style specific to physical therapy. Beyond that, some aren’t even truly “online.” That’s right, there are server-based EMRs out there masquerading as web-based applications by calling themselves “web-enabled.” Don’t be fooled; here’s why you should skip the tricksters and go for the real deal:

True Web-Based

In a cloud- or web-based system, the EMR stores your clinic’s data—which can include anything from patient records to appointment schedules—within secure data centers. You can then access that data online using any web-enabled device with an Internet connection. You don’t store your data on internal hardware (e.g., the computers at your practice). Instead, you access your EMR—and all of the information it contains—via your web browser (e.g., Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Internet Explorer). With that kind of flexibility, you can document, schedule, and bill from anywhere, at any time. And many web-based EMRs charge month-by-month and do not have contracts—making them a very affordable option.

Server-Based

In contrast, server-based systems require your practice to store all its data as well as the EMR software itself. This means you need a server, corresponding hardware, and quite possibly an IT person or staff simply to maintain everything. It also means that you can only access the EMR from the computers on which it’s installed. To offset the costs associated with producing and supporting such expensive equipment and software, server-based companies use long-term contracts to ensure returns on their investments. Frequently, they also tack on maintenance and support charges, which ups the upfront expense and long-term cost burden on your end.

Web-Enabled

In an attempt to compete with the web-based EMRs hitting the market, many server-based systems have developed “web-enabled” versions. With these pseudo-cloud options, you still have to install software on your computer, and your computer still does all the processing. However, at certain intervals, the software will connect to the Internet to sync your account and data to the cloud. So even though your access is a bit more flexible, your EMR and its data does not update online in real time. Furthermore, such software may require you to manually sync the software with the web. Not only is this process tedious and time-consuming, but also your practice will still need the aforementioned hardware, servers, and IT staff.

Why You Want the Real Deal

At the end of the day, web-enabled EMRs are basically just as clunky as their server-based predecessors as they often require additional hardware, servers, and IT resources. Talk about cumbersome. Plus, business in the modern world is inextricably tied to Internet capability. Workers in every sector—health care included—have come to expect the convenience of anytime, anywhere access to their files. And they want all that data in real time. Web-enabled simply can’t provide that.

Furthermore, if you have multiple clinics or different therapists accessing records simultaneously, you run the risk of individuals accessing or altering data that’s not current. When the EMR connects to the Internet to sync, someone’s entries might replace someone else’s work depending on timestamps. I hate when someone accidentally saves over work I’m doing in a shared file, and I’m just writing blog articles. Imagine if it were a patient’s record! Another drawback of web-enabled: you must download and install web-enabled software, meaning it resides only on the computer to which it’s installed and you can only access it from that computer. Talk about chained to your office. 

When you go with web-enabled rather than true web-based, you also must deal with the security drawbacks of server-based systems. Storing data on local servers, like the computer under your front desk, is just about as secure as keeping your money under a mattress; there’s no failsafe. True web-based systems, on the other hand, provide top-notch security features like unique password-protected access, bank-level security encryption, and automatic data backups. And the best web-based EMR vendors keep your data in a secure, defensible facility with 24/7 surveillance.

Because web-based EMRs undergo regular updates, they can easily integrate new compliance measures as they’re introduced. Built-in alerts ensure you always document completely, correctly, and defensibly.

Another reason to go web-based: the trust factor. Server-based EMR systems never manage your data. You do, because the data is stored locally, like on that server under your desk. So, when server-based systems switch to web-enabled, they’re essentially entering uncharted territory. That’s an issue. It takes a particular skillset to not only develop an application, but securely and compliantly manage the data associated with it. You want to go with the people who are the experts and have been managing data all along. Patient medical records are too important to trust with the inexperienced.

Lastly, true web-based EMRs are more cost-effective over the lifetime of the service than web-enabled EMRs because they feature low, month-to-month, per user costs. Web-enabled EMRs either offer the pricing structures of their server-based forebearers (contracts, hefty upfront investments, maintenance fees, etc.) or employ cost-per-chart pricing. You’re focused on growing your business, but that’s tough to do in a per-chart pricing structure where you pay more money for every patient that you add. In my book, your EMR should work for you and your business, not the other way around.

How to Avoid Getting Tricked by Web-Enabled

The value of EMR is pretty clear—as it relates not only to your business’s bottom line, but also to the quality of care delivered to your patients. Now it’s imperative that you choose a true web-based system by asking the following questions:

  1. Do I need to download anything? (With a true web-based system, you don’t need to download anything.)
  2. Do I need to install anything? (With a true web-based system, you don’t need to install anything.)
  3. Does your EMR need to sync with the Internet occasionally to update my online data? (A true web-based EMR is always functioning in real time.)
  4. Will I need to store any data locally? (With a true web-based EMR, you needn’t store any data on your computer.)
  5. When it’s time to document, how do I open the EMR? (You access a true web-based EMR simply by opening your web browser, going to the service’s website, and logging in.)

Your documentation is important. It’s how you demonstrate your expertise and value; it’s also how you prove that the services you provide are beneficial and necessary. That’s why you should choose an EMR worthy of you and the great work that you do. For that reason, go with a physical therapy-specific, cost-per-month, web-based EMR. It’s secure, mobile, and compliant; it’s quick to adapt and update; and it’s super easy to use. Most importantly, it is what it says it is. If an EMR vendor isn’t truthful about how its product actually operates, what else is the company hiding? Your EMR should be a reliable, honest business partner, dedicated to helping you achieve greatness in practice. Don’t settle for an EMR that provides you with anything less.