ICD-10 A Dose of Reality

ICD-10 will have possible 68,000 alpha numeric codes, the growth is flexible and the shifting from ICD-9 is mammoth task which only has 14,000 codes with digital codes, and the space of growth isn’t flexible. The fact is whether the implementation of ICD-10 is a mammoth task or not, the delay in the implementation of new efficient approaches/methods/standards results in damaging of your business operations.icd10s

Though the cost for transfer to ICD-10 is around $285,000 for a ten-physician practice according to a study commissioned by eleven trade groups that includes Medical Group Management Association, American College of Physicians and the American Medical Association but this cost is better than the cost you may incur as a result of the delay.

Yes, you will need highly trained professionals adept with ICD-9 codes to go through tremendous amount and energy of training to even come close to making them skilled at using ICD-10. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) prepared a comprehensive manual to assist healthcare providers with the ICD-10 transition process (in 2011). The fact of the matter is the sooner you start to implement the change the better it is for you.

An imperative phase of transition is planning, which involves determining your vulnerabilities and training requirements. To do this, you need to perform a risk analysis. The scheduled-training part of the planning process should not ideally take you more than 2-3 months prior to using ICD-10.

Implementation phase requires that you conduct rigorous staff training. Coders and other non-clinical staff members can take real advantage from training on medical terminology because to get familiar with ICD-10 you will need a broader foundation of knowledge.

A key phase of the implementation process requires that you monitor and adjust to the changes that are taking place in the transition to ICD-10. In this phase, the time required to make changes should be quicker and improvements should be made in real-time. Monitoring of reimbursement statistics in claim and denials, rejections and efficiency should be done with care. By doing so, you’ll be at the top of your game.

ICD-10 transition is not a piece of cake, but a dose of reality—it’s a laboriously time consuming and strenuous phase. Ultimately, this transition will result in an efficient healthcare management and will lay grounds for further improvement in ICD-11.


5 tips for a successful patient portal application

Patient Portals have become an important part of EHR software. Physicians, support staff, patients are all using it to communicate and exchange information. This medium has without a shadow of doubt, become one of the most important parts of any EHR system. Many of the EHR vendors are offering their products to be used on mobile devices and as such, the need  for having a good and usable patient portal application becomes inevitable.lock

Let’s see what  EHR software vendors  can do to create a successful patient portal application.

1. Create a communication plan: You must create a clear communication plan for your patient portal application. All  areas on your website which contain information about your application, must be updated to include details about your new app. Clearly identify when  the app will become available,  its features,  legal requirements, etc.

2. Include Plan B: One of the most important areas you need to focus on before launching your patient portal app is to know exactly how much time it takes for each app store to approve your app. Some can do it in days, while others can take longer. In case it is the latter, you need to have a Plan B on how you are going to market your app.

3. Read marketing guidelines: You need to go through all the marketing and advertising requirements of each app store before you make your app available. See what copyright/patent/trademark requirements each of the stores have and how you are going to work around it. Also make sure to read the legal requirements in detail.

4. Plenty of preparation: One of the most important requirements for success is to prepare well. Organize your meetings, schedules, demos, product testing, updates, guidelines etc. Make sure you have all of the important stuff in printed form in order to share it with everyone.

5. Communicate and follow-up: Make sure you clearly communicate about the patient portal to everyone in your company and follow up with them. A collective effort on everyone’s part will be required to make your app a success.

These are some of the guidelines which EHR vendors can follow in order to create and launch a patient portal application successfully.


Five benefits of EHR integrated Patient Portals

Patient Portals allow information of the patients to be securely transferred all around the year. This information can be accessed by just having an internet connection. Patients, healthcare providers and practices alike can all have access to EHR integrated Patient Portals.medical

Five benefits of an EHR integrated Patient Portals are listed below:

1)      Administrative benefit by preregistration of patients. EHR integrated Patient Portals allow patients to register even before visiting their healthcare provider, allowing the registration process to efficiently execute which saves time for the practitioner. One benefit is that it saves cost which the use of the online patient portal provides by the reduction of staff members needed to fill in the data.

2)      Secure exchange of information is one other administrative benefit. EHR Patient Portals are required to exchange data securely. . Each patient has their own message box and account and can efficiently review and reply on the portal, exchanging information with their providers.

3)      One clinical benefit of a Patient Portal is that it allows patients to request for prescription renewals and refills without going to the practice. It automates the process of prescribing, allowing patients’ to take an active role in the clinical process of prescription and refills.patient port

4)      Lab results are reviewed automatically through the use of an EHR integrated Patient Portals. If the results are abnormal, it then allows automatic appointment scheduling.

5)      Report Generation. With integrated EHR patient portal, the paper version of reports and mailing costs are reduced. Apart from that, all billing questions that are directed towards a biller are asked from the biller online, without the need of the patient to be physically present.

With the healthcare reform movement at its peak and Obamacare giving incentives to healthcare providers who shift to EHRs, Patient Portals are one key feature that can potentially attract many physicians, healthcare providers and hospital facilities. Patients Portals increase the performance outcomes of the practice and have the capacity to integrate patient information and for that reason, they are a step into the future.


Patient Engagement and Goal Setting

Engaging patients in their healthcare has become the latest trend in the medical industry. Patients are becoming more and more cautious, educated and careful about their medical data. They are also engaging that much more frequently with their physicians, taking control of their health through patient portals. It is allowing them to make online appointments, contact their physicians, give them feedback and even have their prescriptions revisited by the physicians.

So how important it is to have the patients engaged in their healthcare and have clear goals for their healthcare? The answer is simple. Physicians these days are listening to their patients and are recognizing their individual needs as part of the care process. They are customizing the information for particular patients and aligning care to patients’ unique circumstances. Patients are requiring information related to their conditions, treatments and consequences. If this information is being transferred from the care team to the patient and he/she is truly engaged, chances of reviewing handouts, remembering conversations and action on therapies will greatly increase.

In case this is not happening, the patient may seek answers elsewhere and might be inclined to shift physicians.

It is very important for an EHR software to clearly identify goals for patient healthcare. Those goals can be mutually agreed upon and must be updated at every visit in order to make sure the plan is on track and no milestones are being missed.

Even under the Meaningful Use program, physicians are being called upon to use patient-specific information to enlighten the patients about their conditions, treatment importance, treatment options and the significance of adhering to or dangers of non-compliance.

Physicians can use patient portals to send all of this important patient-specific data to them. Technology can help them address many issues and reduce the amount of time they spend on phones.


EHRs under Fire: Fraud or Increased Accuracy?

Recently, there have been many calls from around the industry that medical coders are using Electronic Health Records (EHRs) software to overstate their collections and as a result, boost their payments. However, the government has taken notice of this and is taking steps to ensure that this does not go on any further. The government is investigating the potential of EHRs to aid in fraud and abuse due to an increased rate of payments to those who have adopted EHR software.

But looking at the other side of the picture presents a different story. The healthcare professionals are of the opinion that EHRs allow them to actually better document their claims and more accurately, thereby increasing the rate of payments.

So who is at fault? Are EHR systems really prone to these loopholes or there is no such grey area? Do EHR systems really increase accuracy of claims filed and improve payments? Someone who is going to adopt the EHR technology might be concerned with both aspects. The fact of the matter is, EHR systems do in fact help physicians document their services more accurately. However, up-coding for the sake of receiving higher payments might be a problem area, but nothing that cannot be controlled.

You must adhere to coding guidelines. In order to minimize your risk of exposure to RAC audits, make sure multiple patient notes do not contain identical text. This will help in having specific information about every patient and will reduce chances of any fraud.

You must educate yourself on the latest HHS coding guidelines in order to have a better understanding of how it is done.

Another important method to avoid any frauds is to conduct regular internal audits by an independent coder to know if there are any grey areas.


How do you choose an EHR for your surgery center?

Surgery centers are shifting to Electronic Health Records (EHRs) software but it is not an easy choice to make due to the large variety of vendors available. So how do surgery centers make the right decision? Here are 8 questions that you must ask before selecting an EHR vendor.

1.       Are you single-specialty or multi-specialty?

First of all, you need to analyze your practice requirements. Some EHRs are tailored for single-specialties so you might not be able to use them if you are dealing with multi-specialties. You should then look for a vendor that meets your requirements.

2.       How will you host the EHR?

You need to decide how you are going to run the software; through cloud or locally hosted servers. Server-based systems are costlier and difficult to set up compared to cloud-based ones.

3.       What is the total cost of system?

You need to estimate the total cost of implementation, hardware/software, maintenance, support and other features. This is very important, as you want to have spent large amounts of money on a system, only to find out later that it was not what you needed.

4.       How will your staff access the system?

It is very important to know how your staff is going to access the system. You will need to set user-level access permissions in order to keep your data safe.

5.       How will the new EHR work with your current billing vendor?

The EHR software must work flawlessly with your current billing vendor.

6.       How will you receive support after implementation?

Ample support and training must be provided from the EHR vendor to help your staff fix any issues if they arise.

7.       Who will conduct unit and stress testing?

Unit and stress testing is also very important whenever a new system is deployed in a practice. Unit testing means checking the general usability of the application while stress testing requires using it extensively across your practice in order to check its response time, functionality and reliability.

8.       How will you track your progress with new EHR?

To keep track of your progress, you should be able to measure your performance in the form of graphical illustrations and charts in your new EHR system.


EMRs for improving quality of care: Promise and Pitfalls

emr adoptionElectronic Medical Records (EMRs) software have undoubtedly improved quality of healthcare to a great extent. Back in the times, doctors used to record all the patient data manually. The process was painstakingly slow and obsolete. EMRs changed all of that. Practitioners can now focus less on doing the manual labor work and instead concentrate on delivery quality healthcare.

This technology offers a lot of promise but like any other product, has some problems as well. Let’s try to decode what are those areas and what can be done to improve them.

Efficient workflow

EMR software have definitely improved physicians workflow to a great extent. Now they do not need to search for a specific report for hours in their clinic and can just log on to their system to access the data they are looking for.

More compliance

The field of Information Technology has also allowed the world of medical science to keep itself updated with regulatory bodies and any changes in the legal framework. Earlier on, it was difficult and cumbersome for doctors to implement new changes.

Data analysis

EMR software also make it possible for doctors to critically analyze their practice and see what are the problem areas. They can see meaningful data in the form of electronic charts and other visual tools. Before the advent of EMR, data analysis at a glimpse was virtually impossible.

Data security

In the recent past, where EMR software have helped in improving data security a lot, the fact of the matter is, it is Information Technology at the end of the day and is prone to security leaks. Recently, many practices have faced this issue and the government is working hard to make it 100% fool proof.

These were some of the promises and problem areas EMR software bring with them. Since the goods outnumber the bad ones, it is imperative that this is the new way forward for the industry.