Pokémon Go Divides the Healthcare Industry


curemd pokemon

Unless you have zero interaction with digital technology, which is unlikely since you are reading this blog post, you’ve most likely heard about the latest Pokémon Go craze. The new GPS-based augmented reality game is drawing more attention from consumers and the media than even the upcoming Olympic games or presidential election.

Pokémon is an insanely popular franchise that began in Japan and quickly gained popularity in the US in the 1990s. There was a TV show, trading cards, and video games. And now, with this latest app, people are reconnecting with a bit of nostalgia.

How do you Play?

Here’s the long and short of it: the app uses the GPS and camera on your phone to track your real-world locations and augment reality so you can see the little monsters in your world. You might see one in your fridge or sitting next to you on the bus.

The goal of the game is to find ALL of these monsters, capture them and train them so they can eventually do battle with other players’ monsters.

But what does any of this have to do with healthcare? Well, there are those in the healthcare industry who are praising the game for its health benefits, while still others are warning of the dangers. See more here

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CureMD in Spotlight- HIMSS 2016

Couldn’t make it to HIMSS 2016? Here are our memories from one of the biggest healthcare conventions in years. Learning, networking and meeting people who make us who we are today, our customers and partners, it has been an amazing start to the year. Las Vegas, you’ve been great!

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5 Must Follow Steps for Accelerating Revenue Cycles



Revenue cycle management (RCM) is the process which includes billing services, accounts receivable management, practice management & follow up services to optimize your practice revenue. Partner with ascent business solutions for highly efficient RCM. Visit for more information about Healthcare Revenue cycle management company.


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5 Hidden Costs to Account for When Budgeting Your EHR Implementation

One of the biggest problems practice owners and provider organizations are running into when implementing EHR systems is unanticipated costs. Learn how and why to budget for this problem by reading on.

First ICD-10, Now This? Getting Your Budget Ready for EHR Implementation

As if the ICD-10 transition was not enough, many practices and providers are being strongly encouraged to also transition to electronic health records (EHRs).

Like ICD-10, EHR implementation promises strong gains in an effort to modernize medicine. For one, the government will provide incentives in the form of increased reimbursements. For another, patient care promises to become more consistent and thorough, particularly when moving from provider to provider.

Regardless of the benefits, the here-and-now of EHR implementation promises to be a challenge. Looking exclusively at the problem of hidden expenses, providers are going to have to budget extra money and time in order to cope with unexpected costs.

Because of the likelihood of this problem, the HealthIT.gov website recommends adding to your budget with emergency provisions and anticipatory funds. How much? Several years ago in 2012, the Modern Medicine Network recommended squirreling away an additional 50 percent on top of your current expected EHR implementation budget.

That number may not be precise, but providers are going to have to set aside quite a large chunk of change in order to meet budget bloat head on. Here are just some of the things they will need to account for:

EHR Software

Hardware Costs

EHR software needs something to run on, and your organization’s current systems and hardware may not be up to snuff. At the very least, you are likely to invest in a few extra workstations and an increase to your networking capabilities, including an internet bandwidth upgrade.

For many providers, a full-scale replacement of computing systems may be in order. That means new, faster computers and a full suite of networking and application hosting servers, as well as all the wiring and installation costs that come with it.

All said and done, some providers are going to be saddled with a huge bill before they can even run their Best EHR Software. Plenty of others are lucky enough to get away with minimal hardware upgrades, but you have no way of knowing which category you fall into until your software is finally running as it should be.

Estimated added baseline cost: $5,900 on average

IT Staff and Outside Support

Most vendor service contracts include some amount of system support and troubleshooting, especially during the initial installation phase. Even with this help, your organization is likely to need some IT support of their own once the training wheels are removed.

Also consider that some support services are not provided by vendors, or that the support may not be available at all hours. These factors in addition to the inevitable IT staffing upgrade that will occur during full EHR implementation can increase providers’ tech payrolls into the foreseeable future.

Estimated added baseline cost: $3,094 on average


Training the entire staff will be necessary, with separate training goals based on their role within the EHR system. Physicians alone needed two weeks of training before they were able to satisfy the Meaningful Use requirements, according to one study.

On top of that, front-house staff will need to know how to use EHR systems for things like billing and patient registration. You will also need an IT department with many staff members who know the EHR system backwards and forwards. All of these training hours add to lost productivity and overtime wages, the single-most anticipated expense when it comes to labor.

Decreased Patient Loads and Increased Staffing Needs

Every moment spent troubleshooting or learning the EHR system is a moment taken away from patient care. Once implementation is complete, these bumps are expected to smooth out, but full EHR implementation for some organizations could take one to two years.

To make up for the lost productivity, new staff may be needed just to handle the leftover administrative and patient-end responsibilities. The combination in decreased patient loads and increased labor costs is predicted to be the most variable and unpredictable for providers implementing EHR.

Network Security

With more sensitive patient data traveling through their networks, providers are going to have to invest in robust network security solutions and IT expertise so that all that data will be protected. Anyone who fails to do so and who could be found negligent could potentially face HIPAA violation fines.

Conclusion: Form a Contingency Plan, Allocate Extra Budgets, Prepare for the Worst

The purpose of outlining all of these potential costs is not to deepen your despair. Instead, you should take this information to heart and plan positively and proactively by preparing a contingency plan.

Set aside extra budgetary funds that provide for a significant cushion when unexpected costs arise. If you feel like you cannot come up with such a budget, request help from your local Regional Extension Center (REC), which is designed to provide advisory knowledge and support for EHR implementers.

Finally, develop a strategic plan that accounts for setbacks like lost productivity for two or more years into the future. Keep in mind that you may need to upgrade your systems by that point as well.

With all these elements in place, your provider organization should have a substantial safety net to prevent you from falling on your face should you stumble. Remember that everything should get smoother as adoption increases and systems are refined. Many providers and government organizations even expect for EHRs to provide some ROI in the not-too-distant-future. So spend now and be grateful later that you did.

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Why and how must you immediately begin preparations for the ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion?

Last year, the much debated ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion deadline was delayed another year and set to October 1, 2015. However, numerous provider groups and stakeholders have been pushing for another delay, which would be the third in total, stating that the conversion will result in unmanageable financial pressure on the already challenged practices.

This article summarizes how ICD-10 differs from ICD-9, what the Congress had to say about the deadline, and in what way must you prepare for the conversion.

CureMD ICD-9 Into ICD-10

The new codes

The first question that most providers have is about the specific changes in the code sets. Here’s a summary:

* 68,000 diagnosis codes as opposed to just 13,000 in ICD-9

* A maximum 7 alphanumeric characters per code as opposed to 3-5 in ICD-9

* Very specific, more complex, and more flexible codes

* Lateral codes as well (different codes for right and left)

* 87,000 procedure codes as opposed to 3,000 in ICD-9

* 7 alphanumeric procedure code characters in contrast to 3-4 numbers in ICD-9

* With detailed methodology descriptions, procedure approach mechanisms, more detail, and flexibility

The Meeting

Last week, the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health held a public forum to discuss the ICD-10 deadline. The meeting panel comprised of experts and stakeholders from across the industry, and included doctors and EHR vendors.

The Response

Despite opposition from a few stakeholders who held the view that small practices wouldn’t be able to manage the new codes, the majority voted in support of the October 1 deadline.

The way forward

The response by the congress via the meeting is clearly tilted towards ensuring that the deadline holds. If you were anticipating a delay, and haven’t yet started working on the conversion; you can still manage. Here’s how:

  1. Contact your EMR and Practice Management vendor and enquire your system’s readiness for the conversion. Ensure that their software possesses the necessary updates and ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion mapping tools to make certain that your system is ready for, and will facilitate the conversion.
  2. In the case that your vendor is not ready, immediately begin looking for a new system. This is because from October 1, your claims will not be processed on ICD-9 codes.
  3. Delegate an ICD-10 expert (from you staff, or hire a professional) to train your staff, and to devise and execute plan for the conversion in line with your practice workflows.
  4. Consider Outsourcing Medical Billing if your ICD-10 expert (and yourself) feel that your current staff will not be able to manage claims processing on the new code set.
  5. Get in touch with payers and clearinghouses to determine their readiness.

The target for completing these steps (apart from staff training which could be ongoing) should ideally be March 15.

  1. Next, you must begin internal testing of the new codes between March and April, to check how well your staff will manage the new codes. Ideally you should be done by this till the end of June at maximum; and make the necessary workflow adjustments to fix errors in which the process proceeds.
  2. After internal testing in June, you need to begin external testing with clearinghouses and payers to determine how well your test claims (with ICD-10 codes) will do once out of your practice.

It is imperative to identify and correct any slow or disruptive processes in every stage of your conversion process. Doing so will enhance the efficiency of your practice, and help make certain that you are ready and equipped for the ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion by October 1.


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