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Archive for October, 2013

EHR for Community Health Centers: Adoption Barriers & Implementation Strategies

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Community health centers and federally qualified health centers (FQHC) serve more than 20 million patients each year, according to data from HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration. They provide medical care to uninsured and underinsured populations, to patients who rely on public health programs for assistance, and to those living in medically underserved parts of the country. These health centers are integral to the nation’s healthcare system, yet they often lack the resources to adopt new technologies that can improve care quality and patient safety, increase efficiency, and reduce costs.

Electronic medical record software is one technology that can help FQHCs further their commitment to providing high-quality patient care. An EMR for community health centers can make it easier to integrate clinical, financial and administrative information; it can help improve health outcomes; and it can facilitate administrative processes. Despite this, health centers are slower to adopt EMR systems than other providers.

Barriers to Adoption

There are several reasons why health centers lag behind other organizations in adopting EMR systems. Some of the factors providers cite most include:

• A lack of funds
• Concerns about loss of productivity or income
• Inability to integrate the EMR with the center’s billing system
• Software does not meet the center’s reporting needs

Implementation Strategies

Despite these roadblocks, it is possible for community health centers to purchase and implement an EMR – and many more are doing so. In order to prepare for implementation, health centers should first ask themselves why they need an EMR and whether their organization is ready for one. They should then conduct extensive research into costs, EMR requirements, preparation time, and whether to seek outside help for the implementation process.

The next step is selecting an EMR and making sure that it meets the health center’s needs. This should be done after the organization has identified the functions that are crucial to their center and the software systems that will need to interface with their new EMR.

Health IT consultants can be beneficial for the installation and initial setup phase, and many technicians may even work for a reduced fee in order to accommodate the health center’s budget. Physician can look for IT technicians working with Regional Extension Centers, in addition to federal grants and funding that can assist with the adoption of an EMR.

IMS EMR for Community Health Centers

Due to our unique approach to EMR software for FQCHs, providers working a health centers nationwide are able to improve care delivery and make a significant difference in the lives of their patients. Our EMR solution is cost-effective, easy to learn and use, and designed specifically with community health centers in mind. In fact, community health centers that use our EMR achieve improvements in patient care through:

• Real-time access to patient information
• Better care coordination across multiple sites
• Improved chronic disease and medication management
• Enhanced quality assurance
• Health information exchange capabilities

Interested in learning more about our EMR for community health centers and FQHCs? Contact us online or call 480-782-1116 to request more information.

Advanced Clinical Editing Software Takes Claims Scrubbing to a New Level

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

claims scrubbing softwareDenied claims are a large source of lost revenue for many healthcare organizations. Yet, physician practices often lack the resources to process them in a timely fashion. It is important for claims to be submitted accurately and error-free the first time around, to avoid revenue cycle setbacks and ensure timely reimbursement. One way to accomplish this is by using a medical billing or electronic claims scrubbing EMR.

Claims scrubbers analyze the data attached to a claim to ensure that all required data is present before the claims is submitted to the payer. This includes patient demographics, insurance information, procedure and diagnosis codes, and date of service. It is important to note, however, that not all claims scrubbers offer the same features and functionalities. In fact, while a basic claims scrubber might check that certain fields are filled out on the claim, it might not verify the accuracy of the entered data. Therefore, it is important to use a claims scrubbing system with advanced capabilities.

It is also helpful to rely on software that uses the same tools as the major insurance carriers, meaning that if a payer’s tool is updated your practice gets the same update as well. This allows healthcare professionals to fully identify errors that an insurance carrier might catch, thus avoiding a delay in payment.

With 1st Providers Choice’s Advanced Clinical Editing electronic claims software, not only can billing staff submit clean claims the first time, reducing denials and rejections and increasing revenue, but partially-billed procedures can also be corrected in order to ensure maximum reimbursement. Through automated alerts, staff can be notified when edits might be necessary, and they can also review any guidelines and regulations that may have triggered the alerts.

Additional features and benefits of our advanced claims scrubbing software:

  • Integrate superior clinical editing features into existing claims management workflow
  • Actively track, control and prevent denied claims
  • Streamline claims editing with our extensive knowledgebase of coding relationships (from commercial payers to Medicare)
  • View multiple claims rules on the same screen
  • Increase efficiency and revenue with electronic billing

For more information about our electronic claims practice management software and how it might benefit your healthcare organization, contact us at 480-782-1116.

Positioning Your Podiatry EHR for 2014

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Big changes have been happening in the healthcare industry in the last few years, revolutionizing the care delivery process, the role that patients play in their care, and how medical records are stored and managed. With all of these changes taking place recently it should come as no surprise that 2014 is poised to be another important year, not only for podiatrists but for all doctors. Physicians will finally be able to start attesting to Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program on January 1st, for one, meanwhile undertaking preparations to meet the October 1, 2014 deadline to switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 diagnosis and procedure coding.

For podiatrists, using fully integrated podiatry EHR software will make it easier to affront the many challenges that next year will bring. Here’s a run-down of some of the more important things your practice should prepare for as 2014 draws near:

Attesting to Meaningful Use In 2014

The EHR Incentive Programs have been around for about two years now, and slowly but surely healthcare professionals have gotten the hang of the attestation process. If you are a Meaningful Use veteran in your second, third, or even fourth year of participation, you may have already grown accustomed to the full year reporting periods which are required for Stage 1 after the first year of attestation.

Next year, however, is going to be different as eligible hospitals and healthcare professionals can get started with Stage 2. In 2014 only, all providers – regardless of what stage they are on – are required to demonstrate meaningful use for just 3 months (90 days). The purpose of the universal 3-month reporting period in 2014 is to give all healthcare professionals time to implement and/or upgrade their certified electronic health record software to meet meaningful use requirements going forward.

Podiatry EHR Software - Meaningful Use Dashboard

For podiatrists participating in the Medicare program, the reporting period is fixed to the quarter of either the calendar year (for eligible providers) or fiscal year (for hospitals and critical access hospitals). This is not the case for those participating in the Medicaid program only.

If you are new to Meaningful Use, make sure you decide ahead of time which program you are going to participate in – and find out when you can start the reporting process. If you are ready to move on to Stage 2, check with your EHR vendor to make sure your podiatry EHR software meets the Stage 2 requirements.

Preparing for ICD-10

icd10Getting your podiatry practice ready for 2014 means making the necessary preparations to switch to ICD-10 before October 1st. Though the CEO of the Medical Group Management Association referred to ICD-10 as one of the most expensive and complicated changes the healthcare industry has faced in decades, with proper planning the transition doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. If your practice is already using ICD-10 ready practice management software for podiatry together with a podiatry EHR, the only thing you will have to worry about is getting accustomed to the new codes. Like with any new change, this will happen with patience over time.

Interested in learning more about our podiatry EHR software, Meaningful Use, or ICD-10 preparations and its potential costs? Call 480-782-1116 or contact us online to talk to one of our representatives today!

Specialty-Specific Teams Help Develop Intuitive Ophthalmology EHR Software

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Ophthalmology is a unique branch of medicine that differs greatly from other specialties. It requires the use of electronic medical record software with ultra-specific capabilities that generic, multi-specialty systems simply cannot provide. Ophthalmology EHR vendors are better positioned to meet the needs of physicians in this field, as they often employ specialty-specific teams with a better understanding of ophthalmology practice requirements and workflow.

At 1st Providers Choice, we work closely with specialty-specific professionals, such as ophthalmic assistants, to gain insight into the documentation needs of providers in this field. We also maintain regular involvement with ophthalmic and optometric organizations to keep abreast of constant changes and advancements.

Aside from providing key, specialty-specific EHR features and templates, our ophthalmology EHR software focuses on three important characteristics:

1. The ability to handle large image files efficiently.

Ophthalmologists frequently work with high-resolution images of patients’ eyes, and they need to be able to store and access these images without any system lag. Web-based EHR software easily makes this possible, as heavy files are not clogging up one single server. Ophthalmologists can quickly import eye images to their patients’ health records or open existing images for review. Physicians with physical servers may choose to purchase a separate server for their image files in order to prevent system lag.

Ophthalmology EMR

2. The ability to easily record drawings of the eye.

Ophthalmologists often need to record aspects of their patients’ eye examinations with color drawings – and new technology facilitates the inclusion of these drawings in electronic medical record software. Most programs allow physicians to draw a picture, often with the use of a drawing pad, which can then be annotated by drawing arrows that point to corresponding text. Visual findings can be documented with minimal effort and inserted into the appropriate patient’s chart.

3. The ability to connect seamlessly to medical and ophthalmology devices.

Seamless integration with medical equipment, such as cameras and visual field units, can save ophthalmologists a great deal of time by ensuring that data gets to where it needs to go – in the corresponding patient’s health record – without creating extra work for the physician. We have set up interfaces with most major medical devices and have also worked with ophthalmologists to establish custom interfaces with lesser-known equipment.

Interested in learning more about our ophthalmology EHR features? Contact us today at 480-782-1116.