Nursing EMR systems automate the documentation, storage, and retrieval of patient and resident e-documents. They improve access to medical information for doctors, nurses, patients, and long term care residents and restrict information access via passwords and biometric scanners, making resident records stored in EMR systems more secure than paper records.
EMR software documents residents’ health information over an extended period, allowing healthcare providers to identify trends and make better-informed treatment decisions. Additionally, this nursing home software can alert providers to potential drug interactions and other safety concerns. EMR data can also be shared with other caregivers in the same facility, which improves care coordination.
It is important to distinguish EHR (electronic health records) and EMR (electronic medical records), both parts of long term care software. While an EMR is a digital version of the paper chart used by nurses and physicians, an EHR goes further by providing a more holistic view of a long term care resident’s health and medical history. If residents move outside their current network, they will not be able to take their EMR with them.
EHRs may include features such as point of care charting and an electronic Kardex, MDS, care plans, and e-prescribing. Some of the best EHR vendors provide interoperable software, allowing for information exchange with other EHR systems. This allows for more coordinated and efficient care delivery processes from hospitals to long term care facilities to pharmacies.
Other differences between EHRs and EMRs are:
With the recent uptick in EMR usage following the passage of the HITECH Act, many long term care providers have opted to offer services to transfer outdated paper records into digital files. Others have gone the extra mile by providing free training for their software as a way of incentivizing the adoption of EMR systems. Nursing home administrators stand to gain a lot from EMR and EHR systems, but they must first be made aware of the different types of EMR systems in the market before deciding upon one.
4 Types of Nursing Home EMR Software
The type of nursing home EMR that a long term care leader chooses for their facility depends on the facility’s budget, the existing hardware in the skilled nursing facility, and the list of requirements of the nursing staff and physicians among other things. There are four main types of nursing EMR systems facilities can choose from:
1. On-Premise nursing home EMR software
On-premise nursing home EMR software is installed on the nursing facility’s local server or computers, meaning the nursing home is responsible for software updates and maintenance of this long term care software.
One advantage of on-premise nursing home EMR systems is that they can be customized to fit the specific needs of the nursing facility. Additionally, because on-premise nursing home EMR systems are not reliant on an internet connection, they can be used even in areas with spotty internet service. A disadvantage, meanwhile, is that these nursing EMR systems are expensive to install (when factoring in hardware costs) and maintain.
2. Application Service Provider (APS)
Application Service Provider (ASP) nursing home EMR systems are web-based and accessed via a web browser. ASP LTC software is provided by the vendor but isn’t hosted on the vendor’s servers. Instead, a third party hosts the software on the vendor’s behalf.
As a result, the nursing home isn’t responsible for software updates or maintenance. One advantage of ASP nursing home EMR systems is that long term care staff can access resident data from any location provided they have a device with an internet connection. Additionally, ASP nursing home EMR systems are often less expensive than on-premise nursing home EMR systems.
3. Software as a Service (SaaS)
Software as a Service (SaaS) nursing home EMR systems are web-based and accessed via a web browser. However, unlike ASP, SaaS long term care software is hosted on the vendor’s servers.
An advantage of SaaS nursing EMR systems is that—just like ASP—they can be accessed from any location with an internet connection. Additionally, SaaS clients can always expect to have the latest and best software versions at no extra cost.
4. Cloud-based nursing home software
Cloud-based nursing EMR systems take the concepts of SaaS and dial them up. This means that the nursing home software is housed on the vendor’s servers and can be accessed on a browser or mobile app. Also, because cloud-based nursing home EMR systems are housed off-site, nursing homes will not be responsible for software updates or maintenance.
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Benefits of Long Term Care EMR Software
Long term care EMR software performs some key functions in nursing homes and other facilities that include charting, e-prescribing, order entry, and decision support. These nursing EMR systems options are a great tool for nursing home administrators. Some of the EMR systems examples of benefits include:
- Improved quality of resident care: This part of nursing home software makes it easier for nurses and other facility staff to access resident information when compared to paper records so they can make better and more informed decisions about the care they provide.
- Better care coordination: Nursing home EMR systems make it easier to share resident information with other care team members in the same facility. This improves coordination and communication between nurses in long term care facilities.
- Reduced medical errors: Post acute EHR and EMR systems help to reduce medication errors by providing nurses and other staff with quick and easy access to up-to-date resident information. This prevents any misdiagnoses or improper medication prescriptions.
- Increased efficiency: EMR systems help to improve the efficiency of nursing homes and other facilities. Additionally, it also reduces the time it takes to complete charting, order entries, and other tasks. Furthermore, as all records are electronic, they can be quickly retrieved and stored, thus increasing work efficiency in a SNF.
Nursing EMR Systems Implementation Challenges
Nursing EMR systems are a great way to manage resident information. Still, nursing homes have faced significant barriers to the adoption of this technology. To implement EMR systems successfully, an administrator must know how to deal with certain critical issues. Still, facing these challenges is well worth it, as EMR software vastly improves the processes of nursing home teams, elevating the standard of care and reducing costs.
One issue is that the nursing home staff may not be familiar with the EMR system and may not know how to use it effectively. Another issue is that EMR systems can be expensive. Nursing homes are often on a tight budget, and they may be unable to afford the long term care software system.
To help adjust to the new technology, the administrator must provide adequate software training for the staff. And to help pay for the software, leaders can use proven methods for negotiating the best possible contract for an EHR to ensure that they are getting both value and what they need.