The world is in the midst of a technological revolution that is affecting the social, political and economic landscapes of our lives. Technology is king, and whoever is in charge of the power owns the money. Even medicine is taking advantage of the evolving technology system with many healthcare facilities adopting electronic medical records software. Morphing medical records into an electronic form could easily be interpreted by some as a brash and bold move that could possibly have adverse side effects. At the same time there are those who are wondering why we haven’t done this earlier. Both sides have a case to make and we’re going to discuss them both now. Here are the top six reasons why EMR software will be taking over the digital medical world:
- Saving Space
- Access to Records
- Cutting Costs
- Recruitment of Doctors
- Faster and More Accurate Results
We as humans are always forgetting things. Documentation is a part of how we remember things and how we function. The normal response when someone tells us something important is to write it down. The effect, as we’ve learned over the years, is that paper records take up space. As the volume of documents and patients increases, additional space has to be provided or created. Electronic medical software eliminates the need for paper records and charts. The software also eliminates other office supply expenses and frees up space that paper records were occupying. The biggest space-saving concern with software is that of storage space. Detailed electronic records for hundreds to thousands of patients will take up quite a bit of space, and any issues with the main server would prohibit access. Those types of nightmares are incredibly valid arguments against going completely electronic, but the benefit of having them safely stored, for some, outweighs the negative.
Access to Records
Filing paper records means they have to be accessed again later, which is a tedious endeavor. Occasionally, due to human error, paper records can be misfiled. Such situations restrict office functions and work flow. Electronic medical software eliminates the probability of misfiled or lost records by storing all the information in a readily accessible digital filing cabinet. Once the patient’s name is entered, the information pops up almost instantaneously. This also increases office operation efficiency by making records available to multiple employees simultaneously.
Working in a fast-paced medical facility naturally endorses speed. When you’re working with people’s lives there’s not much time to trod around. If there’s a moment of immediacy, you have to be ready. If you take the pace of the emergency room and add writing out detailed notes, you can see how legibility is the first thing to suffer. We all know that individual handwriting is incredibly diverse and varied, so utilizing a systematic input system would help eliminate a doctor’s quickly scribbled chicken scratch. This means whoever is reading the record is able to clearly understand dosage, patient needs, and medical histories. Systemized input of a computerized font is part of taking the next step to eliminating doctor’s note mistakes.
Companies that have not computerized their operations employ a variety of people to perform staff jobs:
- Data Entry
Simply adding these few employees can portion thousands of dollars of the budget to non-essential personnel. These employment costs make huge potholes in revenue accrual, and electronic medical software can reduce staff tasks and hours. It also reduces staff transcription costs because the software requires predefined notations. In essence, you’re not only saving money on not purchasing added paper supplies for files, but you’re also saving money on overhead costs. That’s a double win for sure.
Faster and More Accurate Results
Patients don’t like to wait for medical reports. When a doctor had a prognosis or diagnosis, they would have to schedule an interview and tell you face to face. Without electronic software patients would have to wait for printed reports, allow for the physicians to review their chart and other activities, and then receive a final diagnostic. With digital results, however, the software spits out the information needed to a doctor’s computing device. Instantaneous results are vitally important when it comes to an individual’s health and wellbeing.
Many pharmacies are also using electronic prescriptions. Medical software can be used to communicate directly with such pharmacies, eliminating the need for staff to call pharmacies with a prescription order. It also reduces the number of callbacks for clarification on illegible prescriptions.
Patients can sometimes be prescribed drugs that they are allergic to, or should not use with a new medication. Medical software can detect such issues and alert medical practitioners so that they can provide a safer prescription.
Technology is constantly evolving and growing, and us with it. It’s not easy to see what the next big breakthrough will be or how it will affect the medical industry. For now we can rest assured knowing there is something out there now that can help a great majority of people, and we must take advantage of all the opportunities we’re given. In the end, it’s people that run the technology. We’re the keepers of the keys and the activators of the all-powerful “on” switch. We must do all we can to maintain the integrity of the human being while constantly utilizing the advances of modern technology.
Health care can be pretty expensive. Big procedures can really dig into your wallet and small procedures add up quickly. That is why many people look for various ways to save money at the doctor’s office. Many offices are more than glad to assist their patients in saving money. One of the ways to save money that has been offered at many different offices is electronic medical records.
Electronic medical records save money in many different areas for both the doctor’s office and the patients.
1. First off, they eliminate the need for many different paper documents. This allows the office to be less cluttered and more organized. It also saves them money on office supplies such as paper and printer ink.
2. Secondly, having a set of regularly updated medical records accessible from any computer in the office can also create less work for the staff and less waiting for the patient. Instead of going back and forth through various piles of paper to find specific records, a doctor or nurse can simply enter your basic data and instantly find the records that they need. Reducing the workload for the staff will speed up everyday appointments, allowing doctors to see more patients on a daily basis.
3. Third, electronic medical records can also make the process of diagnosing and treating patients much faster and easier. Having a patient’s full medical history on hand whenever they need it will allow them to easily know what symptoms they have been suffering from, what illnesses they have had and much more. Knowing this information quickly and easily could assist the doctor in pinpointing exactly what may be ailing the patient.
4. Finally, having detailed electronic medical records can prevent accidents, misdiagnoses, prescribing medication that may not go well with a medication the patient is already taking, administering something the patient is allergic to as well as needlessly doing tests or procedures that the patient has already had performed on them.
Many people like to believe that doctors don’t really make mistakes, but doctors can make mistakes just as easily as you can. Mistakes happen, problems arise, confusion gets the better of us and sometimes those mistakes lead to wasted time, endangering patients and wasting money to do procedures or tests that don’t need to be done. Electronic health records significantly decrease the chance of mistakes and provide the doctor with all of the information they will need to correctly diagnose and treat the patient.
Many doctors believe that electronic medical records save both doctors and patients substantial amounts of money with each office visit or procedure, but people have also found flaws with the system.
Some people believe that the amount of money saved with electronic medical records is not as much as what is often portrayed. Other people worry about all of their medical records being in digital form. Most doctors have very secure networks and Internet connections, but there is still the looming worry that anyone can bring up all of your medical records with some basic input.
The healthcare industry may be heading towards complete conversion from paper to digital soon enough. It’s time to weigh the pros and cons and see if electronic medical records are right for you.
Providers are facing new dilemmas with many of the regulations that have recently been enacted by the federal government. Part of the dilemma is how to find and implement EMR software that the provider’s practice can use as a clinical management system, schedule maintenance program and medical billing software without purchasing three different systems. Providers want an inexpensive system capable of providing everything needed from the minute the patient walks into the provider’s practice to final payment of the patient’s bill.
Certain factors drive a provider’s decision regarding which electronic medical record to select. These include the requirements placed on providers by Meaningful Use, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, more commonly known as HIPAA, the Health Information Technology for Clinical and Economic Health Act, also known as HITECH, and the ever-changing billing requirements of state, federal and commercial health plans.
With an increase of providers rushing to certify for the benefits associated with Meaningful Use, electronic medical record systems have become high in demand.
As demand increases, medical billing software rises to meet the requirements providers are demanding. To meet with many of the demands of Meaningful Use certification, providers are looking for:
- Systems with complex user permission functionality
- Ability of the system to pull a list of records showing all users that accessed patient information contained in the electronic medical record.
- Fast, reliable access
HITECH changed the face of HIPAA in a number of ways. Providers must ensure that any electronic medical record or medical billing software under consideration is capable of making a record fully confidential. A good system should also have the capability to separate a piece of the record by restricting it from any individual who does not have a reason to view the information. This is important because the new HITECH regulations require providers to agree to certain patient restriction requests.
Good EMR will need the ability to manage those restrictions. To comply with the patient’s right to request a record or accounting of any disclosures made of the information contained in their medical records under the HIPAA regulations, any system chosen must have the ability to store the required information. The electronic medical record should also provide a means for pulling this information out of the system when requested.
Another factor to consider when determining which electronic medical record or medical billing software to implement involves the health plan. Every health plan has subtle differences in the requirements for submitting the bill. The majority of claims submitted electronically as required by the HIPAA regulations. Excellent medical billing software will have the capability of submitting the bill electronically from the electronic medical record without needing a separate system. In addition, with the ability to store the different requirements for each health plan and providers’ fee schedules the demand for the medical billing software will raise.
- Medical Software is Increasing Rapidly: Every day more and more patients are looking for service. Their medical history and records must be accurately posted and deciphered.
- Doctors are Using this Software More and More: Doctors can be the ones most nervous about transitioning into something new, but now doctors are sharing their confidence with transitioning to greater technology options. http://youtu.be/yDB02QOl0EM
These factors will increase as regulations expand on the requirements for providers. Soon the focus will shift from a basic, functional system toward a secure electronic medical record that contains all of the elements required by HIPAA combined with a more complex functionality. As providers determine what they like and do not like about certain electronic clinical management systems and medical billing software, the demand for a better, more user friendly system will increase.