Friday, 28 February 2014

Why it makes sense to switch to an EMR | The OscarHost blog


Using Electronic Medical Records for Billing Benefits Health Care Professionals, Patients


The health care field is constantly evolving as physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals strive to meet the ever-changing needs of their patients. Effective practice management is essential for superior care, and one vital component that any medical office needs in order to accomplish this level of care is to make the switch from paper records to electronic medical records (EMR). Not only do these integrated patient records allow health care professionals instant access to an individual's complete health care history in seconds, but they also benefit the patient, as a number of physicians who are involved in their care can share information more efficiently and no information is omitted. This cuts down on wait time during medical appointments, medical insurance can be applied and processed more efficiently, and front office claims and billing procedures can be completely integrated and streamlined.

EMRs Increase Efficiency


Medical offices that make the switch from paper records to EMRs will increase their efficiency by combining a patient's personal and medical information with their billing data. Offices that use paper records usually keep this information separate, which results in front office technicians and those who handle billing being required to create two separate records and enter them into different systems. A fully integrated EMR system is an all-encompassing tool that will streamline the billing process by storing this data all in one place. As a result, health care professionals will not only be able to access a patient's medical history but also view the dates of previous services rendered, the amount that was billed, what insurance adjustments were applied, and view real-time current balances to ensure that all services have been paid for.

Bill Pascal, chief technology officer for the Canadian Medical Association, believes that when it comes to Canadian doctors adapting EMRs over paper files, the process is slow, but more and more doctors are eventually making the switch. Pascal notes that "When you look at how far countries have moved towards a broader vision of electronic health information capability, Canada is not doing too badly." Khaled El Emam, Canada Research Chair in Electronic Health Information at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, agrees with this observation and adds of EMRs, “Integration into workflow takes time, is likely to have a short-term negative impact, and requires good change management practices to be successful.”

Instant Accessibility for Practitioners at Any Time


Physicians who use web-based medical billing software will have an edge over those who use paper records, as they will be able to enter a secure portal from almost any computer, tablet, or even their mobile phones to view an EMR in real time. Since these records are instantly updated across the board when information is entered, any medical professional who has access to the system can view or alter the records as needed. For example, if a physician is seeing a new patient at his or her medical clinic but is currently working out of a hospital or other clinic, any important insurance changes or other information that will affect billing can be viewed from a computer at the physician's current location. The changes can then be viewed by those who handle the billing for the office so that the patient records are updated before the appointment takes place. This ease of accessibility not only allows the physician and billing personnel to work together seamlessly, it also avoids wait time for patients after the appointment is complete, as billing is processed at a much faster pace.

Medical practitioners who use EMRs offer their patients a superior level of care that cannot be matched with paper records, as they offer health care professionals a powerful tool that allows them to combine patient data with billing data for a system that provides them complete information with the touch of a button.