By Andrea Kowalski, senior vice president of product, Tebra.
As private practices everywhere struggle to maintain their independence, they face changing reimbursements, demanding regulatory requirements, and ever-increasing costs. Implementing an electronic health record (EHR) system can help them to address these challenges. An EHR can improve profitability, reduce operational costs, and increase patient and physician satisfaction — all while having an overall positive impact on patient care.
An EHR has the ability to shape the future of a small practice. From efficiency to a satisfying return on investment to saving time and money, an EHR has demonstrable advantages. Implementing and having a system in place requires commitment and investment. However, such a step will help practices maintain their independence and continue to adapt and thrive in the future.
Centralized Data and Analytics
Thanks to its visual representation, an EHR dashboard offers relevant data with immediate analytics that relate to financial performance, patient care, and open tasks. Each member of the practice can take in a full-picture view that constantly refreshes with new or updated data. With a certified EHR solution, providers and clinical staff have better control of how they deliver care. The practice’s needs, whether charting, documentation, patient history, or eLabs, are delivered all together for smoother operations.
An EHR not only provides insights into critical information but also allows providers to easily and quickly generate reports and examine the data behind the analytics. For example, practice managers can access a real-time view of patients scheduled for the day and their eligibility data, copay information, and more.
From the moment a patient contacts the practice all the way through to the claim payment, each step of their journey is tracked. Dashboards with an integrated platform offer a now-necessary consolidated view with the ability to display clinical and financial information in a single window.
An EHR dashboard offers real-time patient information and should be well-equipped to handle a variety of tasks designed to simplify an office’s workflow. With a quick glance of the need-to-know information upon logging in, a practice manager, coder, biller, or physician can review where their concentration for the day will lie. Permission features dictate which user roles can conduct which tasks and access which information. Designed with usability in mind that allows for quick input and output, productivity can increase, allowing practices to reinvest the time saved back into patient care.
A Streamlined Prescriber Process
Of the just over half of practices with five or fewer physicians on staff that report using an EHR system, 67 percent report tangible benefits from e-Prescribing. The e-Prescribing workflow aims to improve accuracy, increase patient safety, and reduce costs while creating a secure connection between a medical practice and a pharmacy. According to one report, seven thousand people are killed and 1.5 million are injured each year due to poor physician handwriting on paper prescriptions.
Using an EHR’s e-Prescription function streamlines medication management and minimizes mistakes. EHRs can also monitor prescriptions to ensure controlled substances are not overprescribed by one or multiple providers. This valuable feature works alongside other monitoring programs to encourage safer prescribing that takes into account a patient’s full prescribing history.
Patients themselves also notice a better experience, with 92 percent satisfied that their provider uses e-Prescribing, making the process an improvement in both patient safety and also the quality of care.
Faster and More Accurate Billing
With practice managers having the option to delegate tasks and follow up within an EHR dashboard, they can also access up-to-date billing details. This includes financial information like billed procedures, charges, adjustments, receipts, refunds, accounts receivable (A/R) balance, days in A/R, time to bill, and more.
Of practices currently using an EHR system, 74 percent report faster and more accurate billing. And with digital file organization, the need to store, access, and maintain old paper records is eliminated, making everything as simple as the click of a mouse.
While implementing an EHR takes investment and commitment, there are many long-term rewards to be reaped. Putting a system in place now can help a private practice stay independent and successful long into the future.