Electronic health record implementation is one of the fastest-growing trends in health care today, and these advancements touch almost all aspects of the medical industry, from medical billing services to the way doctors communicate with one another.

However, many doctors and medical staff might not be utilizing EHRs to their fullest extent. These advancements have many features and benefits that can really make a difference for physicians of all specialties. In the past few years, federal programs like meaningful use have allowed for widespread EHR adoption. Substantial progress has been made in EHR design as well, especially since value-based care is becoming the norm with many providers.

"Existing technology, such as registries, portals, connected home monitoring devices and provider- and patient-controlled mobile devices, as well as technology not yet in use or even built, is likely to integrate with or possibly even replace the EHR (as currently conceptualized) as a primary vehicle for viewing and recording clinical documentation," researchers explained in a recent position paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

In order to bring doctor-to-doctor and doctor-to-patient communication into the 21st century at your practice, try out some of these excellent tips for EHR use:

5. Patient records are all about the details
According to the paper, templates and macros could allow for a more efficient and detailed interface. While documentation in general is vitally important to the EHR process, having software that is robust and sophisticated enough to tackle issues related to a specialty can bring innumerable benefits for patients. In addition, EHRs should also include a longitudinal history that carried prior physical examination particulars and other relevant information for physicians who see new patients.

4. Data analysis is also a must
Value-based care is becoming standard across all providers and health systems, so EHRs need to have data collection capabilities built into the software. This allows providers to support the analysis necessary to conduct data inquiries. This means that systems should work toward becoming more interoperable and able to exchange patient data across all providers. Care coordination that allows software to automatically track referrals, lab results, consultations and orders can make physicians' lives a whole lot easier.

3. EHRs should help patient engagement, not hinder it
Patient portals are becoming a much more prevalent feature in many EHRs, and it's easy to see why. An increasing number of patients prefer remote access to their medical information, and portals also allow individuals to contact medical professionals in a safe, secure and tech-friendly manner. Advanced telehealth solutions can allow patients to better manage chronic conditions. Patients also want to request or schedule appointments as well as have the ability to pay their bills online.

2. Understand what your practice needs from an EHR
There are certain aspects of your practice that can be specifically entered into an EHR, such as commonly listed medications, symptoms, immunizations, lab results and treatments. Uploading lists with these updates can save time and increase productivity while physicians are on the floor. According to American Medical Association, EHRs should also be designed to support team-based care, such as allowing physicians to delegate tasks within the software when appropriate.

1. EHRs should reduce your workload, not increase it
EHR software should be designed to work with your physician billing services so nothing goes unnoticed when billing and coding information is entered into the equation. This way, you can make the most of your coding efforts so that nothing gets left out by way of billing during your appointments.

Although EHR technology is progressing, it's crucial that these systems are implemented thoughtfully so that they work alongside a medical coding system properly.