JUL-AUG 2017

MedEsthetics—business education for medical practitioners—provides the latest noninvasive cosmetic procedures, treatment trends, product and equipment reviews, legal issues and medical aesthetics industry news.

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BUSINESS CONSULT | By David J. Waldron Technology plays an integral role in healthcare today. Not only have electronic medical records (EMR) become the law of the land, but practices also benefi t from the use of prac- tice management software and integrated sys tems that offer online booking, lead tracking and social media management. Implementing EMR and practice management systems involves a number of challenges in that they are costly, they evolve rapidly and they can quickly become obsolete. Therefore, it is important to look ahead as you investigate IT vendors and products. This concept is known as "future-proofi ng" your systems. It involves anticipating future needs and developing products or processes to meet those needs. In the case of IT sytems, you want to invest in a system that can adapt—or be easily upgraded—to meet future requirements. REQUIREMENTS TO CONSIDER Ideally, a medical aesthetics practices should seek out an IT system that integrates multiple competencies into one seamless system. These include EMR to handle the ever-changing clinical needs of your providers; operational systems to handle the needs of your administrators; and patient engagement software, such as patient portals, to support patient education and improve the patient's ex- perience with your offi ce. In addition, you need a system that is robust enough to support continuous applications upgrades and can adapt to the changing regulatory and reimbursement environment. Following are several considerations when choosing your IT products: • Hardware. Practices that were early adopters of IT technologies often needed to upgrade their hardware repeatedly due to insuffi cient data storage, inadequate processing speed, or insuffi cient power to run software upgrades. Data storage needs will rise exponentially over the next several years with increased use of high- defi nition photographs and scans, as well as increasing storage of lab results and histology reports. Therefore, practices need to ensure that the systems in which they are investing can grow with their businesses and keep up with changes in healthcare technologies. • Software. EMR software can be expensive and requires signifi cant staff training. You need to be confi dent that the EMR and IT vendors you choose are both best-in-class for your specifi c needs, and provide a committed pathway for upgrades as their software evolves and improves over time. • Disaster recovery and data backup. Your IT sys- tems, particularly your EMR system, must include real- time backup and 365-day-a-year accessibility to protect your patients' information in the event of a disaster. • Reimbursement issues. If you offer clinical care in 14 JULY/AUGUST 2017 | Med Esthetics © GETTY IMAGES Future-Proofing Your IT System Practices can save money and downtime by considering future needs as they investigate IT options.

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