The Electronic Health Records, more commonly known as EHR, is the backbone of the patient information management system. Medical practices need a designated and innovative software solution that can make it easy to record and track patient information.
Electronic Health Record is referred to as a digital form of patient’s medical chart that may include diagnosis, medical history, treatment, medications, and laboratory test results. A digital EHR means that the patient complete medical information is available in real-time to authorized users that may include the doctor, surgeon, or physician.
The Importance of Electronic Health Records (EHR)
An EHR software automates the process of gathering patient information and streamlines the workflow that allows the healthcare providers to take timely decision regarding the diagnosis and treatment of the patient. As the patient record is stored and recorded in digital format, it means that the information can easily be shared across more than one healthcare organization.
The world we live in is heavily influenced by modern and innovative digital technology that includes smartphones, tablets, and fast internet connectivity that results in 24/7 communication and sharing of information. The integration of digital technology has become a necessity in every field, whether it is business, medical, or social interaction.
The advancement of sophisticated software and digital solutions has allowed the seamless flow of information and improved the way healthcare is delivered. EHR may contain wide range of important information such as
The Difference between EHR and EMR
EHR sound similar to EMR (Electronic Medical Records) and people may think that both are the same, but there are some key differences. EMR came first and was used mostly for diagnosis and treatment while EHR came later but included the term ‘Health’ that encompasses on a broader level as compared to EMR. An EHR system provides a more holistic and detailed view of the patient’s health.
EMR is used to collect patient information and track the data over time and allow a medical practice to know which patients are due for appointments and checkups, but the information remains within the hospital or clinic and cannot be shared outside. On the other hand, EHR goes beyond the standard collection and tracking of medical data.
The information in EHR is collected by all the health care practitioners involved in the specific patient’s care, and the patient information is designed to be shared all across other medical practices and organizations. The healthcare system is facing tough times amid the Coronavirus pandemic and sharing patient medical information is all the more critical and valuable in timely decision making and rendering of quality healthcare services.
The Advantages of Electronic Health Records
The most significant aspect of EHR is that the medical information can be shared electronically across multiple healthcare organizations that can reduce sufficient amount of time, effort and resources. EHR allows medical practices to emphasize finer aspects of patient care and employ efforts and resources for better care amid the Covid-19 outbreak. The numerous advantages of adopting EHR are
- Detailed, accurate, and updated patient information
- Easy access to patient’s health records for efficient and coordinated care
- Information is managed and shared in a secured way
- Lab tests are timely uploaded so prevent duplication of test
- Doctors, surgeons, and physicians can effectively diagnose and treat patients
- Improved and coordinated patient and provider interaction
- Ensure complete documentation regarding accurate medical billing and coding
- Streamline the revenue management cycle and enable the medical practice to sustain financially
- Remote access help to edit and share information without the need to go to the hospital
- Complete privacy and security of patient information
- Compliance with incentive programs run by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
- Decrease the cost of paperwork and ensure reliable data collection without errors
- Automate processes and reduce the amount of effort and resources considerably
- A patient portal allows patients to log in and view their own records or fill out forms
The Importance of EHR Integration with Revenue Cycle
There are many advantages of implementing an EHR system, but the most significant is streamlining revenue cycle and improving overall healthcare facilities. Medical practices provide the necessary diagnosis and treatment services but need to be properly reimbursed to ensure financial stability.
The revenue cycle management, along with billing function, plays a prominent role in determining the financial health of the medical practice. A robust and regular revenue stream is important to not only pay salaries to the healthcare practitioners but also cover the cost of medical equipment and medications and payment of rent and other overheads.
Medical billing is a function of RCM and refers to the process of submitting claims to insurance companies in exchange for the healthcare services rendered to the patients who have bought a particular insurance coverage plan. A medical bill includes all the details and information from scheduling an appointment to diagnosis and treatment.
Insurance providers reject more than 50% of medical claims due to incorrect coding or error in patient medical information. A purposeful EHR system ensures that the patient information is accurate and timely updated and correctly reflects on the medical bill.
Errors related to medical information not only make it difficult for doctors and surgeons to diagnose the patients but also make it difficult for a medical practice to get full payment and reimbursement for the services given to the patient. Wrong diagnosis and treatment can also lead to lawsuits and the prospect of paying expensive legal fees and pay for the monetary damages along with a tainted reputation for the medical practice.
Benefits of Integrating EHR with Billing Software
Implementing EHR systems is essential to reduce the risk of errors and to improve both the care and revenue stream. Traditionally manual billing paperwork required 30 to 40 hours of laborious work in a week and then managing the paperwork according to the RCM requirements.
The integration of EHR with billing software has significantly reduced the amount of time, effort, and resource spent previously on manual work. The workflow speed has increased and allowed physicians and support staff to focus on better patient care instead of mundane paperwork and documentation.
A detailed log of patient and provider communication is recorded, which helps to prevent any confusion. The patient information is secured through authentic encryption that reduces the risk of any unauthorized access. The EHR records are also stored on cloud computing which means safe backup of data which is stored securely and can also be accessed remotely.
EHR is centralized that helps both the patients and healthcare providers as patient information, history, and insurance status can be taken only once, and the patient does not have to fill out forms on every appointment. A patient in need of immediate medical attention can find relief and not fill paperwork that can be frustrating and time-consuming. Likewise, physicians can receive the information beforehand and better prepare a diagnosis and treatment rather than spending time and asking the patient for information.
A decade ago, EHR adoption was close to 70%, but today, there is more than 90% implementation. The significant increase is due to the incentive payment program launched by CMS. The EHR adoption has resulted in a considerable reduction in operational costs and improvement in the quality of healthcare services.
But the lack of RCM software with advanced features and without integration with EHR, a medical practice may seem to struggle to manage its finances properly. PETTIGREW is one company developing custom RCM and billing solutions for various healthcare organizations. A medical practice can opt for a custom RCM software solution with features according to particular requirements.
A seamless EHR and RCM integration will ensure accurate claim submission, reduce claim rejection and proper reimbursement with full payments from the insurance companies. The billing information will be processed and delivered accurately and will be backed up with correct medical and clinical data.