How to Choose The Ideal Pediatric EHR Software?

A pediatrician, generally a primary care physician who specializes in the medical care of infants, adolescents and children, has workflows that are noticeably different from other specialties and primary care physicians.

And while the initial screening process for identifying the ideal Pediatrics Electronic Health Record (EHR) system is similar to that of other specialties, there are a few important distinctions which you must keep a look out for.

Look for a specialty-based system

Use online sources, EHR rating and review websites, and pediatrician referrals to identify a few of the leading pediatrics-EHR providers out there.

Note: Make sure that you identify at least eight vendors providing a solution for your specialty as opposed to a generic EHR.

Make sure it’s a Cloud-based

In the initial screening, get rid of all the server-based options; shortlist only Cloud-based systems.

Why?

There are huge hardware costs (purchase, storage, maintenance and staff) associated with dedicated server rooms in addition to software upgrade costs with server-based systems.

Cloud-based systems cost markedly lesser, and can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection and a computer.

The cost differs as you do not require a dedicated server room, updates are free (in most Cloud-systems), and expensive hardware does not need to be purchased.

Seek an integrated solution

An EHR integrated with a Practice Management system will enhance coordination between the front desk staff and the billing personnel, resulting in administrative efficiency and higher revenue.

Arrange Demos and ask for pricing details

With such a selection base, your options would have reduced and the next step would be to arrange demos (short for demonstrations) and/or meetings with these potential EHR vendors.

During these demos, you will get a better idea of the product they’re offering and it gives you a chance to see the product’s shortcomings.

Also inquire about their pricing model and how much such a system would cost you. Compare how much each vendor is charging with respect to the services they are offering.

Check how much time they’re taking for implementation, the costs for training, and for services such as customer services (some vendors provide this for free).

Check for features: Family profile, growth charts, questionnaires and clinical encounters

This step can be integrated with the previous step or can also be done after. Irrespective of the timing of the step, you need to ask the vendors if they have provisions for the following:

Feature 1: Family profile

For a pediatrician, the maintenance of a comprehensive family profile with simple functionality whereby you can link charts, demographics, etc is extremely important for analyzing trends and for avoiding duplicate or redundant data.

This can only be achieved if the Pediatric EHR Software has the relevant templates specific to pediatrics.

Feature 2: Growth charts

These use features such as clinical calculators for vitals, BMI, etc, which allow the system to generate charts showing the patient’s growth-progress; making it markedly easier to identify anomalous situations and focus on curative and preventive measures.

Various templates for capturing different data streamline the process, making it a lot more efficient and effective.

Feature 3: Questionnaires

Customizable questionnaires can be integrated with progress notes for early identification of various diseases (particularly behavior-related health issues).

The guardians can be informed and the data can subsequently be shared with relevant professionals; creating provision for mechanisms to deal with the problems early on (which are generally more effective in contrast to late diagnosis).

Feature 4: Clinical encounters

These include a range of templates for both sick-visits and episodic well-visits which work towards making clinical documentation swifter and help avoid potential illnesses in the future.

Once you complete these steps, you will realize that the eight initial vendor options have automatically been reduced to one, or two at maximum. Select the vendor that possesses these features in addition to appealing to you the most (in terms of efficiency, reputation and description) and purchase that solution.

One Hope Saves Many Lives

Have you ever purchased something because you knew that a portion of the proceeds would go to a certain cause? Breast cancer stamps, Paul Newman salad dressing, Yoplait yogurt?

There’s a new for-profit company called OneHope that was created to sell a product and reserve 50% of the profits for a specific charity. The founders decided to create a specific product, designate a cause and find a market and allow the product to sell itself.

The founders decided to take their winemaking talents and produce merlot to benefit AIDS research, sauvignon blanc supports the environment and zin supports the U.S. troops. In 2009 they raised over $1.5 million in sales and donated money and in-kind contributions to over 150 charities.

Although the idea of setting aside profits for a cause is not new, the mission behind this organization is unique. The idea that each product will benefit a certain cause has them looking to produce more products and create a cause-oriented lifestyle brand.

When someone needs to bring wine to a party or give as a gift, which do you think they’ll buy? I know I would buy the one that benefits a charity. In fact, I’d probably buy several.

Cookies for Kid’s Cancer is a website that offers information on how to have a charitable bake sale including recipes, banners, and links to vendors and products to help make the event successful. The site sells cookies and 70% of the proceeds go to fund pediatric cancer research at cancer centers in the U.S.

Other companies can take the lead and create a ‘charity-related’ product with a new look and logo. Nabisco mint oreo cookie sales could announce they plan to promote The Trouble with the Alphabet book to increase awareness of the plight of children across the world. Nestles could create a line of bottled water that benefits water projects across the world. Purina could get creative and establish a line of dog food and give half the proceeds to the humane society or help animals during a crisis (a hurricane, forest fire, heat wave, etc.). Calvin Klein could team up and design a unique line of prescription glasses and send proceeds to a struggling school district or create scholarships with the money they raise.

Consumers are already making the purchase and will tend to purchase the product that benefits a cause. Wine, beer and liquor industry continues to skyrocket. Sales in 2009 reached over $455 million and in many cases wine is chosen on how pretty the label is designed. Adding a note that describes OneHope’s objective will help make the choice and sale easier than ever.

Thinking outside the box is outdated and overrated. Thinking in a circular fashion allows the flow of ideas to touch, connect and grow in a fluid motion. As budgets are reduced, jobs are eliminated and money is in short supply, it makes sense to create a product that the public buys anyhow and share the proceeds.

It looks good for the company, it adds dollars to the charity and it’s a no-brainer for the consumer!

Sleep Disorders in Children – Why Some Will Never Get Treated

If your child suffers from a sleep disorder, she may never get the treatment she needs. Noted sleep disorder authority, Dr. Dennis Rosen recently alerted the American medical community to an alarming trend: there is a growing shortage of qualified sleep disorder specialists who want to treat children. When it comes to adults, however, the trend is just the opposite. Most every doctor fresh out of medical school wants to treat adults. Why, you ask? Very simple: money.

Sleep disorder specialists who treat adults enjoy very lucrative salaries. Those who specialize in sleep issues for children, however, make only a fraction of those doctors who treat adults. To make matters worse, budding pediatricians must attend even more classes after their adult counterparts have already graduated from medical school and begun practicing. That means they’ll have even more debt to pay back once they finally get out and start working. These two major market factors have made pediatric specialties extremely unattractive from a financial standpoint. But laying the money issue aside, the implication of fewer pediatric sleep doctors is even greater. It means children with sleep problems won’t have access to the care they need.

This issue means one of two things, and neither of them are good. For starters, children who need these services will have to travel long distances to be diagnosed and cared for. Sadly, that’s the best case scenario. The not-so-good option is that children who happen to live near a qualified pediatric sleep specialist will most likely have wait a long time (perhaps months) before they get treatment.

The sleep disorder statistics in the U.S. tell the sad story. According to the American Board of Pediatrics, only 751 qualified pediatric practitioners are operating in the U.S. That’s only 1 for every 100,000 suffering children. If that’s not alarming enough check this out: In sparsely populated states (i.e., Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska), there simply aren’t any. Not even one!

These market conditions could come at a worse time in American history. The government is under tremendous pressure to reduce spending, even under President Obama’s health care reform. Yet without some kind of relief from Congress, little is likely to change. But the lack of qualified medical professionals specializing in children’s needs are too few and far between. The extra training is definitely needed (children aren’t just “little adults”). However, doing nothing isn’t an option for these children. While the requirement for additional medical training can’t be relieved, the financial burden on these aspiring doctors can. Otherwise American children will go without the sleep disorder solution they need because it’s not in a young doctor’s financial best interest to give them one.

Research Offers Hope for Better Treatments of Pediatric Brain Tumors and Brain Cancer

Pediatric brain tumors and brain cancer, while rare, are considered to be the deadliest of all childhood cancers. While the incidence rate may be relatively low, with approximately 3,400 new cases diagnosed annually in the United States, the mortality rate of children with these types of cancers is significantly higher than other childhood cancers and diseases. Roughly one-third of these kids will not survive beyond five years.

However, it is encouraging to note that, as a result of advancements in research and treatment methods, there have been noticeable decreases in overall cancer death rates since the early 1990s, with an estimated 25,000 survivors currently living in the U.S. Although “survivorship” for these kids comes with its own lingering effects, such as cognitive damage, physical challenges and social isolation, the research that is taking place today will hopefully, someday help to minimize these effects, and allow these survivors to live longer, healthier lives.

Hope for the children and families who face this dreadful disease comes from the tireless efforts of many non-profit organizations, research foundations, hospitals and other pediatric medical institutions who are dedicated to finding the cause, and ultimately, the cure for this deadly invader of children. A few of the more notable milestones of late include:

• The creation of a tissue bank consortium, a collaborative initiative involving the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation and a group of researchers at several leading pediatric oncology hospitals nationwide. The bank will enable researchers to obtain samples of brain tumor tissue that can be characterized, analyzed and used to evaluate treatments. The results can then be documented in a database that can be shared with pediatric cancer facilities across the country.

• The publishing of a landmark study of medulloblastoma*, a type of brain tumor typically found in children. The study team found that the number of mutations in pediatric medulloblastoma tumors is five to ten times fewer than in adult medulloblastoma tumors, which suggests that, compared to adult tumors, pediatric tumors may respond better to drugs that target the genes and pathways altered by mutations that drive cancer progression.

Pediatric brain and spinal cord tumors are difficult to diagnose because their signs and symptoms may mimic those of other disorders, and vary according to the exact location of the tumor. Once a diagnosis is made, successful treatment is also difficult because there are so many different kinds of brain tumors and cancers, and their precise causes are unknown.

Research holds the key to quicker, more accurate diagnoses and subsequently, better treatments. While progress is being made on a number of research platforms, it continues to be challenging for several reasons:

• There are many different kinds of children’s brain and spinal cord tumors, which has stymied research as investigators face the challenges of collecting and analyzing tissue, as well as the ethical issues posed in treating children.

• Because the disease is rare and tissue samples of tumors are small, it takes time to test and validate new treatment options, and there is currently not an adequate database for recording and sharing this information.

• Doctors and researchers are dealing with a growing child’s brain and body, so they must first ensure they avoid harming the child.

• Funds for research and treatment options are limited, due to the relatively low rate of incidence, compared to other childhood cancers and diseases.

As any research investigator would attest, much work has been done, much progress has been made, but it is not enough. It is never enough. The efforts will continue, and the unshakable commitment of so many will stand strong until the statistics dwindle from 3,400 to 0.