Confusion or Clarity: EHR Basics

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Standardization of Electronic Health Records (EHR) would certainly streamline our lives.

On the surface, scripts, data entry and the electronic interface between large pharmacies and the physician office seems to be working….to a point.

However, the concept of collecting health information about a patient or group of patients who in-turn can be shared by other health centers or clinics that require access is no where near standardized enough.

Like the USA cellular phone industry began with over 4 different technological systems, talking to each other had its problems. (In Europe, GSM was the technological standard and all cell carriers had to use this system.  In the case of EHR, the concept of standardization sounds possible. Medical records are kept in digital format and are often stored on a centralized server or cloud. Generally, electronic medical records are more detailed than the paper versions, greatly due to the recent Meaningful Use guidelines approved in 2009. Although some practices are hesitant to adapt, there are other feature benefits of utilizing an integrated system that is clearly hard to overlook.

One benefit that may be a driving force for some practitioners today is the increased profitability of going paperless. Adopting an integrated EHR system will provide a positive financial benefit to any office, especially in the long run. Fewer chart accessing, more efficient communications via phone and FAX, voice message management, automated patient reminders, billing and coding reformation and reduced transcription cost, are some other benefits, to name a few. Although a monetary improvement to a participating practice is an attractive advantage of EHR adaptation, it certainly is not the main focus.

The level of care or treatment a patient receives at a medical center, clinic or hospital is paramount to any other feature benefit of EHR and Patient Management suite. The more organized and stress-free an office can operate the better care a patient can expect. The ability to access medical records remotely can also be a very important requirement for a medical practice moving forward. For example, a Family Practice provider may get a call from an existing patient who needs a prescription. That provider can simply utilize the e-prescribing module within the EHR platform; write a prescription for a patient using a tablet PC or iPad and still attend their child’s soccer game or enjoy a vacation. These providers who may benefit from EHR technology are becoming more apparent as more software companies adapt to their specific needs as well.

Although many providers assume that EHR is better suited for larger offices, solo practitioners have strong benefits as well. In fact, smaller offices may find a greater benefit in converting to a paperless system than a larger firm. Medical clinics that see a smaller volume of patients will find an advantage in the increasing efficiency and reduction of cost an integrated system provides. The system would also permit them to operate with fewer office personnel or allocate personnel to execute different tasks within the office or on a part-time basis.

Ultimately, job satisfaction and customer satisfaction would improve tremendously with an integrated EHR system. In some offices, patients can fill out the necessary paperwork at home or at a hospital kiosk to send to the front office before they even enter the waiting room. Ease of use, less repetition, double-entry elimination, improved intra-office correspondence, staying up to date or compliant with mandated regulations also equates to less liability to the practitioner and again, better care to the patient.

For more information regarding affordable integrated solutions, EHR software, Meaningful Use incentive questions or to schedule a demo, please contact Karl Hirsch at GalenMD Systems, Inc. karl@galenmd.com or 888-41-GALEN. GalenMD Systems, Celebrating 30 years in the Medical Software industry.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Karl_W_Hirsch

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