What is an AMR (Ambulatory Medical Record)?
Jan 24, 2022

What is an AMR (Ambulatory Medical Record)?

An Ambulatory Medical Record, or AMR, is a specific type of electronic health record (EHR) that focuses on outpatient care. AMRs are a great solution for primary care and specialty practices, as well as outpatient clinics. Here is what your practice needs to know about AMRs.

AMRs Focus on Outpatient Data

Ambulatory Medical Records focus on diagnoses, procedures, and encounters that occur in an outpatient setting. Outpatient care includes most settings outside of hospitals, such as primary care practices, specialty practices, and clinics.

AMRs focus on providing a complete, accurate medical history to support diagnosis and treatment. To support this goal, these systems capture common patient interactions like office visits, diagnoses, specialist referrals, prescriptions, and tests.

AMRs typically do not include detailed data on hospitalizations. For example, the myriad lab results and inpatient medications that typically accompany an overnight hospitalization would not be recorded in an AMR. However, physicians may note a hospitalization in an AMR as a part of maintaining a complete medical history.  

An AMR Is Less Complex Than a Hospital EHR

When a patient is hospitalized, hospital staff need immediate access to the most up-to-date information about that patient’s condition. This means hospital EHRs have to organize and present complex data from across a variety of hospital departments, including labs and radiology. Hospital EHRs also must support complex hospital medical billing and accounting procedures.

Because AMRs do not include detailed hospitalization data, they are simpler and easier to use. AMRs focus on ensuring providers have access to a patient’s complete medical history, including diagnoses, medications, and treatments. A complete history helps physicians make accurate diagnoses and develop effective treatment plans. AMRs help primary care and specialty providers manage patients’ chronic conditions. These systems also support the provision of preventive care, diagnosis of new conditions, and treatment plans.  AMRs further improve patient care by facilitating data sharing with other practices, including specialists and laboratories.

An AMR Prioritizes Patients and Providers

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 84.9 percent of Americans had a visit with a doctor or other provider in 2019, but only 7.9 percent had an overnight hospital stay. Office visits and other ambulatory care make up the bulk of patient experiences with the health care system. AMRs, therefore, are designed to enhance the patient-provider relationship.

AMRs often include features like Patient Portals to help engage patients in their care. Patient portals give patients access to their data any time, from anywhere. These internet-based access points also allow patients to send secure messages to providers between visits. This between-visit messaging can help prevent unnecessary office visits while improving health. Patients can also request medication refills without scheduling an appointment, saving time. AMRs with Patient Portals can even make billing easier by letting patients check and pay their balances online. An AMR equipped with a Patient Portal can increase satisfaction with care, improve adherence to treatment plans and even reduce bad debt.

Because AMR systems are designed specifically for outpatient practices, they can also streamline provider workflows. AMR interfaces can help providers keep track of diagnoses, tests, and procedures, simplifying treatment and billing. Ambulatory Medical Records also include EHR features and functions that reduce paperwork and follow-up. For example, e-prescribing eliminates the need for faxing paper prescriptions and can reduce medication errors. Electronic orders and results ensure that patients’ charts are automatically updated with lab and test results. And electronic referrals help connect patients to specialty care while eliminating referral paperwork.

An AMR Takes the Long View

Ambulatory Medical Records hold what patients and providers typically think of as a medical chart. The goal of an AMR is to capture a complete medical history for each patient. The detailed, historical data from AMRs can help support future diagnosis and treatment. AMRs can also support timely preventive care. In contrast, hospital EHRs typically focus on organizing and streamlining a hospital stay, which represents only a small portion of patients’ health care experience.

Because AMRs focus on patient history, they are critical for managing care for patients with chronic conditions. AMRs can help both providers and patients track progress over time, identify problems with medications or treatment plans and stay on top of recommended preventive care. By giving providers a broad perspective on patients’ health, AMRs can also help improve the quality of care and patient satisfaction.

 How TempDev Can Help With AMRs

TempDev’s consultants and developers are NextGen experts. NextGen is a popular ambulatory EHR system designed with practices like yours in mind. Team TempDev can help your practice with NextGen implementation, upgrades, and customization. TempDev has experience customizing NextGen for a wide variety of practice types, including primary care, FHQCs, specialty practices, ambulatory surgical centers, and Planned Parenthood clinics.

Call us at 888.TEMP.DEV or contact us here for answers to all your AMR questions.

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