5 HIDDEN BENEFITS OF EHR ADOPTIONTHE AMOUNT OF FEDERAL + INDUSTRY ATTENTION ON HITECH...and the need to adopt Electronic Health Record (EHR) software places pressure on physician practices to rush theirevaluation and selection of technology. In this environment, most of the focus on why to adopt tends to center on theneed to meet the government mandate and realize the stimulus incentive payments. However, the implementation of a2011 certiﬁed EHR within a physician practice can easily lead to signiﬁcant ﬁnancial and operational beneﬁts that areoften missing from the discussion. These hidden ﬁnancial and operational beneﬁts are vital to the practices that adoptand are the key to ensuring physician practices remain ﬁnancially sustainable over time.Here are 5 hidden beneﬁts that physician practices can expect by carefully selecting & implementing an EHR product. BENEFIT 1 INCREASED OPERATIONAL FLEXIBILITY The ﬁrst hidden beneﬁt is the chart to consult its content. If a physician was rounding in ﬂexibility that comes when a hospital setting, details of that consultation necessary the EHR system can for billing the insurance company were typically captured be accessed & on a notepad, or on any small piece of paper until the used remotely. physician returned to the ofﬁce and could deliver the When a clinician has notes to the ofﬁce manager or billing manager. access to the completepatient chart and record from other locations at any When the physician can capture information at the pointtime, a major constraint on the way he or she practices of care, regardless of the setting, claims can be moremedicine is removed. Previously, charting and chart accurately and timely submitted – which equals stronger,consultation happened in the care environment – the more consistent cash ﬂow to the practice and fewerphysician’s ofﬁce or clinic. If an urgent call comes in from errors in the submission of claims. Mobility also allowsa hospital or pharmacy after hours, in most cases the the physician the ability to leave the ofﬁce at a reasonableclinician would have to return to the location of the paper hour and maintain a better work/life balance. BENEFIT 2 GREATER BILLING CONTROLOver the past ten years, the majority of very small The newest EHR software versionspractices (three or fewer physicians) have contracted with have focused speciﬁcally onthird party companies who provide claims compilation, streamlining the billing process,administration and collection services. However, the including robust eligibility checkingimplementation of a 2011 certiﬁed EHR includes the that can prevent many errors,ability to perform the billing functions inside the practice. real-time updates to Medicare andIn fact, most small practices are surprised to learn that other payer reimbursement rates.the processing of claims has become a highly automated With the going rate for this serviceand electronic process that they can manage without any typically 5-7% of collections plus any administrativeincrease in personnel resources. costs, these are direct bottom line savings that a practice can realize immediately and annually.
5 HIDDEN BENEFITS OF EHR ADOPTION ...CNT’DBENEFIT 3 MORE ACCURATE REIMBURSEMENT + REDUCED RISK OF UNDER - CODING ...more signiﬁcant is the additional revenue the practice is able to generate as a result of the EHR... Another beneﬁt often overlooked with This feature is a large time saver due to elimination of the adoption of an EHR is the increase manual process by sta . In addition, the software works in accuracy and efﬁciency of claims as an objective determinant of the code, versus the processing and automated E&M doctor’s subjective judgment regarding the appropriate (Evaluation & Management) coding code. However, far more signiﬁcant is the additional and tracking. The EHR will review revenue the practice is able to generate as a result of the and prompt the appropriate code to EHR providing more accurate coding. The Medical Group be used based on documentation Management Association (MGMA) estimates the average and will generate a more appropriate physician practice can add 15% to their annual grosscode. The higher the code, the higher the reimbursement revenue through better management of coding throughand in the event an insurance company audits or rejects the use of an EHR.a claim, this point-based code has been documented tovalidate the claim.BENEFIT 4 ELIMINATING MISSING PATIENT CHARTS FILLING ERRORSIn any size physician practice there is a high risk of their possession. The attempt tomisﬁled/missing charts. Patient charts are pulled for locate a chart in this scenario ischarting purposes, the insertion of labs and x-rays and exceedingly time consuming.when the clinician meets with the patient. Charts are The same is true for charts thathandled by a multitude of clinical personnel and each have been misﬁled alphabetically.transaction increases the risk of the chart being misﬁled All of this results in poor timeor misplaced. The chart can reside for weeks on a nurse’s management of clinical sta anddesk waiting for a prescription to be reﬁlled or on the drags on the ability of the practicebilling and collections manager’s desk when charges are to see patients and generatebeing entered. revenue. With the entire history of a patient at the doctor’s ﬁngertips through an EHR, other sta members (RNs, NPs,There typically is not a login and logout system in place so etc.) can be performing other procedures, addressing otherconsequently a patient’s chart is not easy to locate when it patient needs and bringing signiﬁcantly more ﬁnancial (andis needed if another clinician or ofﬁce personnel has it in workﬂow) value to the practice.
5 HIDDEN BENEFITS OF EHR ADOPTION ...CNT’D BENEFIT 5 WATING ROOM EFFICIENCY Finally, in an ofﬁce without a loss of patients. With patient check-in and waiting comprehensive EHR system, tracking, a patient can be told what to expect in terms physicians can lose track of of a wait when he or she arrives. If the projected waiting the status of the waiting room. time is unacceptable to the patient, then the visit can be Typically there is little physical easily rescheduled within the EHR. If the backup is visible visibility between the waiting throughout the practice to all clinicians, the sta can also room and the examination rooms, which react accordingly and make proactive e orts to speed up are often behind closed doors to the waiting patient ﬂow.r oom a nd fr ont de s k a r ea . P a tient ba c k l ogs don’ t getnoticed until they are severe, ultimately resulting in the SUMMARYThe ambulatory practice business is an environment practice administrators should be prepared to ﬁnd awhere every mistake has consequences to both the partner who can help select the EHR appropriate tooverall care of patients and the bottom line of the practice. the individual practice and stay involved to ensure thatThe proper evaluation & adoption of an EHR adds immediate, visiblebeneﬁts & allows for the collection of federal stimulus funds.The proper evaluation and adoption of an EHR adds operational workﬂows go hand-in-hand with technologyimmediate, visible beneﬁts and allows for the collection adoption. This provides the physician practice with theof federal stimulus funds. However, there are other greatest opportunity to ensure the greatest return onless visible beneﬁts that can impact the success of their investment in EHR as well as increased ﬁnancialthe implementation and sustainability of the practice. performance of the practice moving forward.In order to uncover these beneﬁts, physicians andABOUT MBM eHEALTHCARE SOLUTIONSMBM creates operationally sustainable, open solutions for seamlessly exchanging healthcare information. MBM workswith healthcare providers, including physician practices, hospitals and regional/state healthcare organizations toseamlessly integrate health IT (HIT) solutions with minimal disruptions to operational and clinical workﬂows. Servicesinclude HIT readiness planning, meaningful use planning and reporting, EHR vendor selection, implementation and more.To learn more about MBM eHEALTHCARE SOLUTIONS visit mbmehs.com -or- http://ehrroadmap.mbmehs.com/.com.