If you’re in the market for an EMR, you already know there are tons of options out there. And as a savvy shopper, you’re probably trying to whittle down your list of “maybes” to a few “very likelies” before you have to make a final decision. With features galore, it might be tough to figure out which ones will be most beneficial to you and your practice. And on top of that, some EMRs are certified for a particular purpose, such as meaningful use.

By now, most healthcare practitioners have at least heard of meaningful use. Perhaps you have, too. Essentially, as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the federal government began offering financial incentives—up to $44,000 through the Medicare incentive program and up to $63,750 through the Medicaid incentive program—to “eligible professionals” who began using electronic health records in their practices. The caveat? To qualify for the incentive, these practitioners had to implement a certified electronic health record—that is, one that “offers the necessary technological capability, functionality, and security to help them meet the meaningful use criteria.” (One of the most prevalent certifying bodies is the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, which is why some systems list CCHIT certification as a selling point.)

If you’ve come across any EHRs or EMRs that are certified for meaningful use, you might be tempted to rank them at the top of your list. After all, if the system passed the rigors of meaningful use certification, it must be pretty darn good, right?

Here’s the pickle: as a physical therapist, you are not considered an “eligible professional” when it comes to meaningful use. Thus, you cannot earn the incentive associated with demonstrating meaningful use of an EMR—even if you implement a system that has been certified for meaningful use. Furthermore, because the certification criteria are geared toward practitioners who do, in fact, fall into the category of “eligible professionals” (e.g., physicians, hospitals, and critical-access hospitals), many certified EMRs end up tailoring to clinicians who practice in these settings. And that means such EMRs might not be the best fit for you and your practice.

Instead, you should look for an EMR built specifically for your needs as a physical therapist—one that accommodates your workflow and accounts for the government regulations and initiatives that do apply to you (such as PQRS, the therapy cap, and functional limitation reporting). Because to truly maximize your clinic’s efficiency, you’ve got to use an EMR made for your clinic. That way, you can spend less time sifting through features you don’t need and more time focusing on what really matters: treating your patients.

Want to learn more about what a PT-specific EMR can do for you and your clinic? Click here for more details. Questions? Leave ’em in the comments and we’ll do our best to find you the answers.