American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Electronic Medical Records

There has been a federal push towards electronic medical records (EMRs) for a number of years. The focus has intensified under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which requires the Department of Health and Human Services to develop an initial set of standards, implementation specifications, and certification criteria for EMR system adoption by the end of 2009. While incentives for EMR adoption are aimed primarily at physicians and health care facilities at this time, other health care providers, such as SLPs and audiologists, may benefit in the future.

The time is now to consider electronic systems. There are commercially available practice management software programs that address everything from billing to documentation and scheduling. Providers may also set up their own programs or develop their own electronic templates. Consideration must be given to HIPAA privacy, security, and electronic data interchange, as well as other applicable state and federal laws.

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