Challenges Faced by Diabetic Specialists in EHR Implementation

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) have started to affect almost all the specialties and diabetes care is no exception. A study by The New England Journal of Medicine finds that EHRs can have a positive impact on the quality of the care that is provided to diabetes patients. The report titled Electronic Health Records and Quality of Diabetes Care clarifies that sites with EHRs have better quality of care compared to those with paper based records. Another survey by the U.S National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health also presents the advantages of using EHRs for caring for diabetes patients in another case study.

There are approximately 24 million diabetes patients in the country and as the population ages, this number will grow. Moreover, since diabetes is a chronic condition that has no final cure, caring becomes a continuous process with numerous hurdles. These hurdles can be overcome by using EMRS and EHRs which are especially designed in order to periodically monitor the condition of the patient and provide better care due to this approach. The biggest challenge in diabetes is the monitoring and control of blood sugar on a daily basis which can be exhaustive for the patient to check and keep a detailed record of. This is where EMRs and EHRs can be of immense help. EHRs and EMRs can help in keeping a detailed record of blood sugar levels along with other factors such as Body Mass Index and numerous other features. Such reports can be sent to patients in the form of lab reports and assessed by the patient regularly to maintain better health.

Even though EMRs and EHRs help in assisting physicians in taking better care of diabetic patients, EMR and EHR adoption rates in the country are not very encouraging. A yearly survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a report containing the EMR adoption rates in late last year (2011). The report finds that only 10.1% of physicians in the country had a fully functional EMR system.  The successful implementation of EMR/EHR system seems to be the biggest challenge in health reforms and also in aspects related to diabetes care. There are numerous reasons that have been presented for this lag in the implementation of EMR/EHR systems. Factors such as the anxiety regarding the financial viability of such systems, a steep learning curve for providers, and the complexity in maintaining such systems are the most common reasons for the reluctance to fully implement systems that demonstrate ‘Meaningful Use’ (MU).

The financial advantages of implementation of EMRs and EHRs are apparent in light of the incentives provided by the government for MU. The advantages for patients are projected and expected to be excellent with the use of EMRs/EHRs; however, the study of the impact of EMRs on chronic conditions is limited yet positive. The ideal solution for proper implementation of EHR systems is to outsource the billing and coding process to professionals who possess experience in assisting in providing solutions for streamlining various processes related to EMRs.

Choosing the right EMR vendor is just the beginning because the maintenance of such EMR systems is more difficult compared to just implementation. Vendors should be able to provide basic education about the system and also support the practice in various ways for a period of time after implementation. Medical billers at will not only provide solutions to your billing problems as a provider but also offer other value added services such as assist in implementation of EMR systems after a thorough study of your practice, revenue cycle management, denial management and consultancy services.