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Public health systems’ special EHR needs

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Frank Quinn writes in MedCity News that “it’s important to realize that regular EHRs are not exactly ideal for the needs of a public health system. Providers must understand the specific challenges of public health organizations, the ever-evolving healthcare industry and the requirements associated with the federal EHR Meaningful Use program in order to make the most of their practice.”

“Reporting requirements for local health departments have increased significantly, so it is absolutely important that these departments and providers register each patient into the right program. An effective public health EHR will allow a practice to slide each patient into a different scale for payment, based on variation in family members, income and other factors. Also, look out for a system that generates a declaration of income for the patient to sign electronically.

“For public health reporting, your EHR must contain all of the required forms. These include Bright Futures, maternal health, WISEWOMAN, family planning, sexually transmitted diseases and others.”

“A good public health EHR will automatically customize clinical forms for each department. Moreover, it will allow the data generated to be structured for reporting at both the state and federal levels. Make sure you end up entering the data just once, so the EHR itself flows the information through the entire system.”

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