EHR – How We Can Help You Make The Switch!
The process of converting paper charts to digital charts for your EHR is not exactly convenient, but it is worth it. It is hard to break the cycle of searching for paper and relying on technology such as a tablet or a laptop to get all the information you need. However, once you do it, you’ll find that this new way of documentation is much more efficient than you ever thought possible. Here are some examples as to why an EHR could benefit your medical practice, and make it run more efficiently:
1) No More Searching – Or paying people to search, for that matter! If a patient calls and you need the chart, how often is that chart where it is supposed to be? How much time do you then spend tracking it down? With an EHR, you don’t have to do that. All the most recent notes are displayed within the electronic record.
2) Save Paper – As you know, a doctor has a lot to sign off on. Seeing referral notes from specialists, ER notes, patient phone calls, etc. A lot of software promotes paperless communication, like faxing, for information that doesn’t need an ink signature. Controlled substances will likely always need to be written out on a prescription pad, however. Imagine how easy your day would be if faxing meant typing in a number and clicking send. Not getting up and walking to the fax machine, only to get distracted, put the papers down, lose them, search for them…you get the point.
3) More time with patients –The less time doctors have to spend filling out paperwork, the more time they have to spend with their patients.
4) Dictation/EHR Hybrid – It is possible to buy an EHR solution that supports transcription if you feel that dictating keeps you on track, time-wise. It can be tedious to type notes into a template, especially if you need to touch on things that are not on the template. A reputable transcription service can also eliminate errors.
5) Revenue increase – Probably one of the more important points is the fact that going to an electronic health record can help streamline the billing process. A patient leaves, the doctor states what they were seen for and any applicable ICD-9 codes, and your billing and coding team can then go in and create a bill based on that. The patient gets the bill in the mail, and hopefully pays it!
When you’ve settled on software that you’d like to use for an EHR platform, you’re then going to have to decide who you want to scan your patient records. When choosing a scanning company to come in and scan your patient records, be sure that they have ample experience scanning medical records. Don’t be afraid to ask for a reference – this is not the time to be someone’s test job! Get your practice a scanner so you can scan anything that comes in on paper that needs to be filed in a patient’s chart.
Practices and hospitals that have gone through the conversion process are rolling their eyes, and rightfully so. I’m making this process seem easier than it is. The decision to go to an EHR is a big investment – both financially and time-wise. There will be a lot of meetings and strategic planning, and then you have to pay for the software, maintenance, support, and training. There are a lot more pros than cons, however, which is why the Government is pushing the EMR Mandate.
Good luck on your journey down the road to an EHR. Remember that it is unreasonable to expect that you’ll be completely paperless – many business processes are still done with ink and paper!