Guest post by Keith Boyce, vice president of business development, RxOffice.
The recent postponement of the implementation of ICD-10 is nothing but good news. Moving the deadline to next year gives providers an opportunity to conduct further research and select the software that is compliant and the least disruptive of their existing processes while keeping the best interest of the patient in mind.
ICD-10 was the first step by the Obama administration’s healthcare plan, Obamacare, which revealed the need for a universal software platform that could work in all medical areas. Some professionals say the ICD-10 and other requirements of the new healthcare plan will cause physicians to spend more time on paper work and less time with patient care. If that is the case, healthcare providers will need a system that will cut down on the amount of time needed for paperwork. With the extension in ICD-10’s implementation, now is the time to make decision about keep or modifying current systems or investing in new ones.
The new regulations proposed through Obamacare will have more of an effect on small to mid-size healthcare providers and the IT companies that cater to them. Larger IT firms are not affected as much because their clients are the hospitals and large research clinics that do not have to adhere to the requirements of ICD-10. This means that these firms are less likely to understand and provide compliant software to smaller, special medical centers, such as diabetes, mental health and podiatry to name a few.
Healthcare providers should look for systems with the following characteristics:
- More efficient front office
- eFax for an ability to fax from within the system, eliminating the need for a fax machine
- Integrated email, so you can email from the patient’s file; eliminating the need to save a document to a local computer which improves security
- Payment processing integrations; eliminating the need for a separate system to run a payment
- Claims processing integration within the software
- Granular security. Role-based permissions to allow access to information only to employees with the clearance.
- Patient Portal
- Engage and capture information from patients outside the office
- Appointment modifications within the portal
- Patients should be able to see their medical history through the portal
- Patients should have to ability to view and pay invoices through the portal
These are the characteristics of a software company that wants to grow with its clients, not use their clients as stepping stones to charge higher fees.
As more regulations become a part of the healthcare industry, providers need access to technology that will make them feel comfortable in how balance staying compliant with patient care and running a business. Technology that helps bridge the communication gap between physicians and patients and improve internal processes will keep the industry moving forward, even if there is a delay.