Challenge of EMR deployment for Small Pediatric Practices

The use of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) or Electronic Health Records (EHRs) in pediatric practices presents numerous challenges due to the dynamic nature of this particular specially. The reasons for these challenges are myriad and range from the changing nature of the body of children and also the medical care that is provided during childhood. This care can include immunizations, growth tracking, and other critical aspects such as obesity. Another advantage of EHRs is that children over 13 have to record their smoking status which may lead to positive health outcomes. The burden of all this EMR testing and implementation lies with the physicians and their assistance but this is usually possible in bigger settings such as hospitals and small practices have traditionally suffered due to lack of proper EMR facilities. Moreover, taking responsibility of such amount of work in pediatrics is costly as well as time consuming for novices in the field.

It cannot be denied that there are numerous advantages of EHR implementation in pediatrics and the general medical history of the child can be continuously recorded. However, there are numerous challenges as well and these can range from financial to functional. Physicians are finding it hard to dedicate time updating their EHRs which in turn has dropped the productivity. Another factor is that since pediatric patients have a constantly changing BMI (Body Mass Index) and features, recording this also consume resources in the form of time and money. Hospitals are finding it easier compared to small practices to implement EHRs since they have the groundwork in the form of infrastructure to implements such EHR systems.

The challenges faced by pediatrics in implementation of EHRs are similar to those faced by other specialties and these may include lack of adequate funding, lack of training, resistance to change and lack of resources. However, the biggest advantage is that there are numerous types of EMRs available in the market and many of these support pediatric services; but, the adoption of such EHRs/EMRs is not enough. The ‘Meaningful Use’ criterion needs to be met in order to qualify for the incentives offered by the government.

The financial aspect of successful implementation of EHRs is not limited to the incentives provided by the government but is also in the form of increased revenue due to efficient departmental processes. The financial success of the practice depends on a holistic approach by not just implementation of EHRs or EMRs but also through outsourcing such essential departmental processes such as medical billing and coding, interaction with payers, and denial management in addition to other value added services such as pediatric EHRs and research and consultancy that are provided by the largest consortium of medical billers and coders in the country.

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