From diagnosing knee injuries and torn hamstrings to ensuring a concussion does not go untreated, athletic trainers, team physicians, and other sports medicine professionals play a crucial role in the competitive success of sports teams and athletes. Working closely with one another in athletic training rooms, sports medicine centers or on the sidelines of games, these professionals generate
a huge amount of data every day. How easily that data is stored, recalled and shared can make or break effective collaboration and treatment decision-making. Many are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up using the traditional paper and pen approach or desktop injury-tracking computer programs.
Fortunately, web-based Athlete Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems are available to simplify and streamline injury tracking, concussion assessment, record keeping, communication and data analysis. Presagia Sports is one such system: highly user-friendly and designed specifically for sports medicine. A quality Athlete EHR system will not only streamline your data management, but also help you to provide a higher level of care for your organization’s athletes. In this update of our popular “Choosing an Athlete EHR” whitepaper, we’ll walk you through six criteria crucial to choosing the right Athlete EHR.
Before you begin your research, establish a list of features you want in an EHR system. While a top of the line system will allow configuration and customization to meet your specific needs, these steps may slow down your implementation time and add costs. It’s best to find an all-in-one solution with most of the features you need out-of-the-box. Some of these will likely include:
- Core athlete and medical records: Tracking numerous types of data will enhance your efficiency and improve injury prevention planning, so make sure the system you choose has the ability to record all of the fields you need. This should include (but not be limited to): contact information, sport profiles, insurance information, diagnoses, treatments, treatment plans, physician meetings, physical therapy exercises, medical notes, surgeries, prescriptions, vaccinations, allergies, and medical alerts.
- Concussion assessment: A concussion assessment tool is another feature that can enhance any Athlete EHR. As research in sports medicine focuses increasingly on concussion risk and prevention, having a system like Presagia Sports with a built-in SCAT3 is essential to making informed return to play and treatment decisions.
- Athlete kiosk: This feature is rapidly growing in popularity. It enables athletes arriving at the athletic training center to login to your system andenter basic information like contact details, medical history and other data. This kind of routine data entry can waste athletic trainers’ time, and having athletes do it themselves leads to greater efficiency and enables you to spend more time on treatment.
- Mobile accessibility: With a mobile version of the software, athletic trainers and physicians save time by being able to record treatments and notes as they occur. A
mobile-accessible software also allows for quick communication between the field, training room, and anywhere athletic trainers or teams might be when an injury occurs and treatment is required.
Because no two sports organizations are the same, the system you choose may still require some configuration. You may want to change field labels and drop-down lists, or have the option to increase data volume if the number of athletes or users in your system grows. This is especially important for organizations with large or growing medical teams, or clinics which may take on new contracts with large numbers of athletes.
2. Ease of Use
Purchasing an Athlete EHR should save your organization time from the start. That’s why the best systems are easy to learn, so you won’t waste time on training. First-time users should find the system’s various tools intuitive to navigate and use. Many features that make the software easy to use are also time-saving measures. Presagia Sports, for instance, includes a Quick Treatment Screen, where users can create and save multiple athlete treatment records on the same screen with one easy button.
Many systems have configurable homepages, which automatically display all important and most-used features for each user type, to minimize clicking and searching. For instance, when a physician opens an athlete’s record, he or she will see relevant medical information first, such as athlete’s medical histories. A dietician, on the other hand, might see previously prescribed nutritional plans. Optimizing the system for each user’s own needs like this vastly increases efficiency and accuracy.
A user-friendly Athlete EHR eliminates a major source of lost time for the athletic training team; with the ability to quickly and easily access and record information, they can update case files throughout the day as they perform treatments, rather than having to wait until the end of the day.
3. Communication Tools
Your sports medicine team likely includes athletic trainers, physicians, and dieticians, not to mention psychologists, graduate assistants and coaches. You know your team cannot provide care to its full capacity unless all these individuals communicate effectively. Top notch Athlete EHRs facilitate secure communication between team members in several ways. Easy record keeping and filing combined with web-access make real-time information sharing possible and easy.
If there is a user-friendly mobile version of the program, users can share and view information instantly whether on the field, in the clinic, or on the road. Physicians back in the athletic training room can instantly view information entered at the moment an injury occurs, and the athletic trainer on the scene can access the injured player’s relevant medical history to ensure they make informed return-to-play decisions.
To keep sensitive medical information confidential, a strong Athlete EHR system should include a secure internal messaging system, to avoid the security issues that come with different email platforms. With Presagia Sports, a notification feature also gives users a secure way to share critical information and send alerts to colleagues.
4. Security and Privacy
A secure messaging system is just one of the many security features you should look for to protect your athletes’ personal and medical information, and to protect yourself from the
risk of expensive lawsuits. Choose a system that supports HIPAA and train your team in patient confidentiality and data security protocols.
An Athlete EHR should support both role- and group-based security. Role-based security defines the types of data and system functions a user can access - for instance, an athletic trainer might have access to all medical information, while a coach might only have access to the status of their players. Group-based security defines which athletes’ data the user has access to, for instance permitting a football team’s physician to access football players’ medical information but not the files of the players on other teams. These restrictions not only increase security, confidentiality and privacy, they also save time as users see only the information they need and nothing extra.
Reporting tools allow you to identify trends, track injuries and measure treatment success rates. This data analysis supports proactive injury prevention strategies and results in more effective treatment plans. Reporting tools also provide an easy way to view and share summary information such as the basic health and injury status of all players on a team.
The best systems allow reporting on a wide variety of data. Presagia Sports, for instance, has a user-friendly report “writer” that allows you to create your own reports, choosing which pieces of data you want to track over which time period. Users can customize reports using a wide selection of filters, including gender, sport, treatment, injury type, injury location, date and more. In any system, you should also have the option to export reports for use in Microsoft Excel or more advanced statistical analysis programs, or to share the data with third parties such as outside medical staff.
6. The Vendor/Support
Selecting a software vendor is just as important as ensuring the product's features match your needs. A good relationship with a helpful, forthcoming vendor can become one of your greatest assets. You want to choose a vendor whose top priority is customer satisfaction.
Find out how much training the implementation process includes, and the availability of the vendor’s team for continued support. Presagia Sports provides live support by email and phone during business hours, as well as live training both upon implementation and in the form of periodic refresher courses or training on any new updates or features.
Health and fitness are crucial components of the success of any sports team or athlete, and as research surrounding sports medicine advances, we want you to feel confident that your healthcare practices stay up to date. Using all the tools at your disposal to provide the best care you can means staying organized, communicating well amongst your team, and keeping up with trends. An Athlete EHR delivers in all these areas, and is designed to respond directly to the issues and needs of sports organizations. Investing in a system that centralizes data and promotes real time collaboration will result in better documentation, improved efficiency, higher quality health care and ultimately stronger athletic performance. The right software is an invaluable tool to keeping your entire organization geared towards success.
Presagia Sports is a secure web-based and mobile-accessible multi-sport Athlete Electronic Health Record (EHR) with a built in SCAT3 concussion assessment system and real-time communication tools, which athlete health professionals can rely on to centralize and manage data including injury assessments, medications, treatments and more.
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