Nitin Chhoda shares how the healthcare practice management has evolved from a manual documentation process to an electronic medical records system.
A few more years, and the medical industry will be using a push-button technology that will greatly increase the cash flow of any private practice.
Healthcare practice management has changed enormously as technology has evolved throughout the centuries.
A Blast from the Past
Management of a healthcare operation used to involve little more than an exchange of goods for services rendered.
The days of patients bartering a chicken or garden produce for treatments really isn’t that far removed, relatively speaking. Practices were smaller and served a greater geographical area. Patients had few choices in the treatments they received or their provider.
Office management consisted of copious amounts of hand-written records that had to be transcribed and rewritten by the office scribe into a document that could be read by anyone. Records were often lost due to fire, floods and natural disasters, with no way to put them back together into a coherent whole.
The advent of the typewriter improved the overall readability of medical documents, but it was difficult to coordinate care with other healthcare practice management providers. Unless the professional was just across town, it could take weeks or even months for documentation to travel through the postal system, leading to significant delays in treatment.
Cash flow within the practice was unsteady at best. Healthcare providers had to submit reimbursement claims to individual insurers, without the benefit of clearinghouses, and few patients even had insurance.
Today, EMRs are eliminating the need for paper records with electronic documents. They’re stored in the cloud, can be accessed instantly by multiple medical professionals, and are updated immediately.
Therapists no longer have to endure long waits for reimbursements. Push-button electronic submissions arrive almost instantly and funds are deposited directly into a clinic’s account.
Healthcare practice management can accept one-time and recurring payments online. The clientele of the 21st century is highly mobile, often relocating multiple times to take advantage of employment and educational opportunities.
New healthcare practice management providers can access a patient’s records simply by utilizing the power of the Internet and their EMR, with no interruption or delay in treatment.
The New Technology
Instead of charts, folders and paper records, EMRs of a healthcare practice management can be implemented on laptops and tablets for the ultimate in portability. The systems also allow clinicians to expand into additional therapy-related markets.
Communication is a key aspect of the therapist-patient relationship and patient portals have arisen as the result of technological advances. Clients can schedule appointments, request medication refills, provide insurance information, and view test results, all online. Practices now have multiple ways of interacting with patients via email, texts and voice messages.
Many have speculated about what the future of healthcare practice management holds. While no one knows for sure, it promises to be an interesting journey.
Healthcare providers in all fields could easily find themselves using software programs that assist in the diagnostic and treatment process based on information provided in a patient’s health record.
EMRs in healthcare practice management will continue to evolve and may contain voice recognition capabilities that allow therapists to record their notes and documentation entirely by voice. Technological strides may eliminate the need for certain types of treatments, while opening new vistas in alternative services.
It may be that healthcare delivery will become more uniform across the board. Clients will become more educated about their ailments and conditions, and more time will be expended on preventative measures.
Healthcare practice management professionals in all fields may find themselves engaged in more patient forums to educate clients, while finding new ways to communicate effectively with those they serve. An ever-increasing population in need of services guarantees innovation, with new treatments and means of delivery that will astound even the learned professionals of today.