Electronic Health Records (EHR) or Electronic Medical Records (EMR) is a group of applications designed to enhance the efficiency and productivity of medical record keeping. With increasing complexity in coding and billing process as well as introduction of ICD-10 codes with 124,000 more coding options that the previously used ICD-9 codes, digital data recording has become a need of the hour. Government is introducing healthcare regulations to encourage adoption of EHR by medical practitioners and earn rewards for that. However, those who are failing to adapt are likely to face a lot of challenges in terms of claim settlement and revenue management. Even so, if external pressure were to be nullified, medical billing can be made highly effective with adoption of EHR/EMR coding and billing procedures.
- Adoption incentive – Initial applications of EHR were not very effective and many practitioners have merely adopted them to adhere to official norms. Therefore, no meaningful use of EHR has been evident in healthcare industry and medical billing productivity as well as efficiency has remained low. Medical practices can be eligible for an incentive amount of $44,000 (Approx.) if meaningful use of EHR can be shown. Successful installation of EHR takes 2-4 months and physicians or medical staff require another 6 months of training to completely understand and efficiently apply EHR. Thus, early adoption and execution can give your medical practice sufficient time to adapt and reap benefits.
- P4P and HEDIS – Pay for Performance (P4P) and Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) initiatives are also introduced by government to encourage healthcare providers for EHR adoption. By recording your patient care data and performing billing as well as coding functions with EHR, your medical practice can qualify for such initiatives and win more incentives.
- Avoiding Penalties – EHR/EMR mandate for every care provider necessitates medical practitioners to show meaningful use of EHR in their practices in order to avoid penalties by government. By 2015, if your medical practice will fail to adopt EHR, then Medicare reimbursements will be reduced by 1%. In 2016, they will be reduced by 2% and for subsequent years, the penalty can go up to 95%. With millions more getting covered by Medicare and more than 50% of payers mix being represented by Medicare patients for most practices; this could translate into heavy financial loss.
- Electronic Medical files – With HIPPA guidelines demanding cautious exchange of medical data and digital mediums allowing shortening TATs of claim settlement; electronic data recording not only saves a lot of time but makes data storage and transfer highly efficient. Transcription services, as part of EHR also enhance the quality of medical records.
- Electronic coding and billing – After the initial phase of staff training which could be a costly and time consuming process, EHR can prove to be a highly useful application for timely coding changes and efficient billing. With 124,000 more ICD-10 codes getting introduced and new codes being updated every month, having an electronic mode of system updates reduces human errors and paves the way for effective claim settlement. Correct coding and billing details reduce claim denials and improve revenue management of your medical practice dramatically.
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