Electronic Medical Records System: How Many Actually Uses It?

Electronic Medical Records System: How Many Actually Uses It?

Many private practice owners still have not switched over to an electronic medical records system. Perhaps most of them thought that having an automated system would be complicated.

Nitin Chhoda shares how physical therapy software can help your practice in the long run using the right implementation.

electronic medical recordsElectronic medical records is a new and modern way in a private practice business, while paper medical record systems still dominate the market.

However, the fact is that paper medical records are waning fast.

Paper documentation systems are a relic of time when physical therapists didn’t have the choice of simple, efficient, and precise EMR software.

The Current Status of EMR System

At the moment, only 10% of those practicing in health care fields have a fully functioning electronic medical records system.  As of 2009, 20% had the most basic beginnings of a system, but still relied heavily on paper documentation.

Over the past three years it is likely that that percentage is growing, or that many systems have been updated.  A more remarkable statistic is that only 1.5% of hospitals have integrated IT systems.

Half of those that do are government facilities, meaning that private practices are lagging behind. Most private practices are staffed by about 9 people, however, which makes that number less shocking.

With so few facilities using electronic medical records technology, you might wonder why you should adopt it in the first place.

The fact is that while very few firms might run physical therapy management software, there are still a number of advantages for those that do.  Electronic medical records improve efficiency, accuracy, and quality of care.

Implementing the Electronic Medical Record

Any practice that implements electronic medical records software benefits from digitized records: easy access to patient information, the ability to sign patients in instantaneously, and massively improved handling of cancellations and no-show patients.

Electronic medical records simplify the life of a physical therapist by making it easy to manage patients, data, and finances.  And you have the incredible ability to access your patient’s files and tests with the press of a button, instantaneously pulling up all the records you have on each patient.

In some offices, the physical therapists simply carry an iPad around, and type in the name of the patient before you walk into the room, instantly reviewing a listing of all pertinent information. Electronic medical records make patient care simpler and more effective.

You’ll also be handling records that are type-written, rather than hand-written. A surprising number of mistakes are made by physical therapists and physicians because they just couldn’t read the notes in a medical record.

But electronic medical records systems for physical therapy management aren’t just good for your firm.  With a simple piece of software, you can send and receive complete records between offices. Download the software, press a few buttons, and another facility has the files.  It really is that simple.  EMR data management solutions ensure that everyone who cares for a patient always has the most recent information.

electronic medical records usersEMR is the Solution

When the number of firms with the technology reaches a certain point, the perception will be that every firm needs an EMR solution.

You can get ahead of the trend now by starting the process and going electronic for you, your patients, and the entire practice.

But even if your physical therapy office is unique in being equipped with medical records solution, electronic medical records  would still be helpful.  More and more facilities are adopting EMR for physical therapy services, and soon we will see a shift.

Physical Therapy Management for Physical Therapy Practices

Physical Therapy Management for Physical Therapy Practices

Manual physical therapy documentation can be time consuming. The trend has been for physical therapists to focus on the admin side instead of providing quality care to patients.

Nitin Chhoda says that it’s about time to use physical therapy software so that practitioners can maximize their time treating patients and increase productivity.

physical therapy managementFor most private practices especially physical therapists who see patients two to three times a week, managing physical therapy billing, dealing with medical billing and coding can be a challenge.

Having a Physical Therapy Software

With physical therapy management software, you can simplify the business side and spend more time doing what you really love, which is working with patients.

You probably are accustomed to using paper records. Perhaps you believe that there is a price barrier to adopting an electronic medical records keeping solution. But the truth is: using physical therapy management software will actually save you money.

Lets ignore the cost of office supplies for a second. Paper records take up lots and lots of space. With that much paperwork, pulling up the information on any given client is a slow and tedious process.

Even if you have a small practice, physical therapy management software can drastically cut back on the time it takes you to locate a patient file and make updates to it.  You can also access the records from anywhere, meaning that you can look up a record when not in the office without bothering whoever you have tasked to maintain your records.

Everything is Digitized

Digital records are also more likely to be accurate and read accurately, since you no longer have to rely on handwritten notes.  Being able to read the records means better care for patients. That is a great physical therapy management plan.

Physical therapy management systems can even include full digital check-in for the patient, logging when they arrive and leave.  This can be done from any computer or iPad, meaning that you can use the physical therapy management system for house calls, too.

Simply by pulling up an online or on-the-computer record, you have quick access to the history and details of any patient you are about to see.  Paperless physical therapy management is elegant and straight-forward.

Solid physical therapy management and scheduling software even simplifies the more complicated aspects of running a physical therapy firm, like managing no-shows and cancellations, and filing paperwork with other offices, insurance companies, and healthcare services.

Proper physical therapy management software makes it easy to delete a cancelled appointment, file Medicare updates for patients, and never get rejected for claims because of technicalities. Physical therapy management systems streamline your business processes and help you to care for more patients, more efficiently. A program that saves you time will save you money.

physical therapy management practiceIntegrated Billing

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of a physical therapy management system is the integration of billing tools.

High quality systems offer a complete physical therapy billing tool that is built into the management tools, so that no matter what you need it is right at your fingertips.

You can include a suite of analysis tools to help you manage payment better. You can figure out how quickly your average patient pays their bills, for example. These tools are critical to helping you run your business as smoothly and as financially responsible as possible.

If you have a physical therapy practice, you need an electronic medical record system. If you start now you can get everything set for the 2014 HITECH Act deadlines. Computers and the Internet have revolutionized how business is done.  Embrace that fact and let it make your practice better.  Have the best physical therapy management plan.

Physical Therapy Management: Understanding the Patient Healthcare System in the United States

Physical Therapy Management: Understanding the Patient Healthcare System in the United States

Nitin Chhoda discusses the current patient healthcare system in the United States.  He explains how the current system will change the status of physical therapy management, its transition to EMR, and its effect on patients’ security of information.

physical therapy managementPhysical therapy management healthcare reform has been a long time coming and President Obama’s initiatives represent a beginning with enormous possibilities.

At the core of healthcare reform is providing access to quality health care services to all in an affordable cost.

Health information technology for physical therapy management is essential in achieving that goal, but to realize its full potential, it’s important to understand the patient healthcare system in the U.S.

Healthcare costs and physical therapy management in the U.S. exceed those in many other countries, yet the quality of patient care can vary widely among providers and regions of the country.

President Obama has a goal of utilizing electronic medical records (EMR) by 2014, a move that can radically improve patient care across the board.

The Healthcare System

The healthcare system in the U.S. can be slow, ponderous and delay essential treatment due to a lack of patient records or availability of insurance. Coordination of care is one of the largest problems facing any healthcare provider and efficient physical therapy management depends on accurate records from all available sources.

Partial records and lost documents result in redundant testing and expensive procedures, when funds could be better utilized to treat patients.

Healthcare in the U.S. is a multi-tiered system administered by a variety of physical therapy management providers, facilities and reimbursement plans. It’s a reactive system that focuses on treating illness, ailments and conditions after they occur, rather than emphasizing ways to avoid problems before they happen.

Effective patient treatment and physical therapy management are built through ongoing relationships, but continuity of care is often broken when a client loses their insurance.

physical therapy management understandingThe EMR Technology

Information technology of physical therapy management, such as EMRs, provide physical therapists with a complete, integrated record for each patient that will significantly reduce costs on all levels by eliminating redundant tests, therapies and treatments.

The implementation of health care technology and effective physical therapy management are essential for better patient care and to meet the healthcare demands of a growing population.

Physical therapy clinics must remain profitable, but many patients seeking physical therapy management and services are those insured through Medicare, Medicaid and similar programs that dictate unrealistic reimbursement limits and caps.

Health information technology that includes electronic medical record systems allows therapists to offer an enhanced level of patient care and verify insurance coverage to expedite the treatment process.

Protection of Patients

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. The law provides for increased access to healthcare services to many who had none before. It further seeks to limit expenses for consumers and move to a system of electronic medical records that offers extensive advantages for physical therapy management services.

EMRs represent the first generation of electronic records to manage patient health care more efficiently and assist in meeting the government’s goals of expanded access and overall savings within the healthcare industry.

For physical therapists, health information technology provides greater profitability through electronic billing submissions. Therapists have access to complete patient records, eliminating the need for costly physical therapy management and redundant testing that can delay critical treatments, while facilitating change in the patient healthcare system.

Physical Therapy EMR Tips to Smoothen Implementation

Physical Therapy EMR Tips to Smoothen Implementation

Nitin Chhoda provides a guideline that can be used when making the decision about physical therapy EMR.   These tips are important, and if executed correctly, will positively affect the efficiency and productivity of your staff.

physical therapy EMRPhysical therapy EMR systems transition are often interpreted as an uphill battle by clinicians and managers.

Gaining traction with all staff members and ensuring that the product is actually more efficient will be a big challenge at first.

Here are a few tips to help implementation of physical therapy electronic medical records go more smoothly.

Assign a Project Manager or Team Leader

Usually this job is given to the office manager or other administrative executive. No matter who does the job, it is critical that someone is responsible for pulling everything together. They will be responsible for figuring out which physical therapy EMR software is best for your practice and they will need to get buy-in from the entire staff.

They will set up a schedule for implementation and manage expectations so that nobody feels surprised or overwhelmed by the changes. They will also need to assess and inventory your current resources and decide what needs to be purchased.

Include Everyone

Having a point person is very important to implementing your physical therapy EMR. And one of the most important jobs that this staff member will do is manage the expectations of the rest of the staff. One of the hardest parts of transitioning to physical therapy EMR and software is that staff members are set in their ways and do not want to change.

Staff member buy-in should be prioritized by adding meetings or interviews to the schedule and plan. Each staff member’s job should be reviewed, to some degree, and the changes they will need to make should be determined and discussed beforehand.

Asking staff what would make their jobs easier and attempting to find the right physical therapy EMR that incorporates the needed improvements can make the process simpler and smoother.

Invest in Training Programs

Another thing that staff will find difficult is learning on the fly. If you are changing the way things work, you’d better train the staff beforehand. Physical therapy EMR should improve efficiency. While there will always be a bit of a lag at first, the more training given before implementation, the smoother the implementation will go.

Physical Therapy Specific Software

physical therapy EMR tipsThere are a lot of physical therapy EMR systems out there. Many are general and can be adapted to any kind of practice, from a general practitioner to a chiropractor or even a dentist.

But rather than worry about making a system fit your practice, find a system that is made for physical therapy documentation.

Physical therapy EMR and software will make billing, scheduling, and patient management more efficient. If you are just starting out and are looking for an EMR that will be easier to implement, find specific physical therapy EMR software.

Be Flexible

Make a schedule, ensure that the staff are ready, and transition your practice to physical therapy EMR software. But remember that there are always going to be challenges and the adjustment period will never be perfect. Build some flexibility into your schedule and ensure that staff have opportunities to refresh any learning even once the EMR has been implemented.

Electronic Health Record Differentiated With EMR

Electronic Health Record Differentiated With EMR

Nitin Chhoda describes the difference between electronic health record and electronic medical record. He gives examples on how these two terms are intertwined, and how they relate to the whole process of physical therapy practice.

electronic health recordElectronic health record or EHR sounds like it might be the same thing as an electronic medical record. However, these two terms should be used differently, in different settings.

While an EMR is a focused digital record that is only used by a single medical clinic, an electronic health record (EHR) is a digital record that is produced so it can be shared between two clinics.

For example, if a patient is admitted to the emergency room with injuries sustained from a car accident, an electronic medical record is started by the hospital.

Until the hospital discharges the patient, they will continue to update the record with diagnoses made, procedures conducted, and medications that have been given to the patient. Electronic health record implementation is still not present at this time.

Let’s say that the major injury sustained by the patient is a broken leg. When the patient is discharged, they will still be in a cast and will not be able to walk until the broken bones have healed. But once they have healed, it’s time for physical therapy.

EMR to EHR

When the hospital or clinician who has been treating the patient up until this point decides to prescribe physical therapy, they will produce and send an electronic health record to the physical therapist’s clinic.

EHR or electronic health record is a form of communication between medical professionals that summarize the information in a medical record and ensure that the new clinic has all the critical information about each referred patient.

Of course, electronic health record is not entirely mandatory and even transferring patient information from one clinic to another is not required. If the patient did not go to physical therapy right away, but then had trouble reducing pain and limping due to weakness after their injury, they could go to a physical therapist without bringing their official medical history with them.

A patient can request a personal health record (PHR), which is the term for an electronic health record handled by the patient. Or, the patient can have an EHR sent from their previous clinician to the new physical therapist. If they cannot do neither of these things, they can always attempt to describe their injuries to the physical therapist.

electronic health record differentiatedWhile an electronic health record is a useful technological advance which allows for rapid and legible transfer of information, not all medical clinics prefer the electronic system.

Electronic Health Record as a Long-Term

In some ways, the benefits of sharing electronic health record are more long term. In a patient-by-patient situation, clinicians may find it much easier to communicate electronically.

But the broader implications have to do with aggregate data. If clinicians can readily share statistics on the success of certain treatments for particular diseases, they can make more educated and informed decisions when making new treatment plans.

For now, most people who are used to using email and communicating quickly and efficiently, electronic health record seems to be the smartest way to cooperate with other medical clinics. In the future, they may transform the way that clinicians make the most of all available information.

Health Information Defined

Health Information Defined

Health information sounds like a vague and ambiguous term. It means different things to different people. In this article, Nitin Chhoda ‘breaks it down’ and defines health information in a manner that makes it meaningful for a private practice owner.

Nitin also highlights the implications of health information (and its privacy) for your practice.

health informationAs a general term, health information can be any information that relates to health. However, in a medical information management context, health information has a more specific meaning.

Health information refers to medical records, health records, and communication regarding patients that is sent between hospitals, doctor’s offices, health insurance companies, and anyone else in the health care industry, physical therapy management practice included.

Health Information and Technology

As technology improves, health information that must be transferred between clinics, or even between a clinician and nurses in the same practice, is traveling faster.

That means that we now can send sensitive and personal information with a single keystroke.

The technological improvements that are coming to all medical clinics are making communication simpler, faster, and more efficient, but some worry that health information will not be managed as well as before. A paper document is somewhat cumbersome when compared to electronic medical records or electronic health records.

Due to concerns about security and privacy, an entire industry has grown up around health care information management. But the management of health information didn’t start as a technological career – health information management has been around in the United States since the late 1920s. It is now possible to earn a degree or certificate in health information management.

The Skilled Professionals

Naturally, with improvements in technology there has been an increase in the need for skilled health information professionals who are also technologically savvy. In fact, many information health professionals are in favor of moving to entirely electronic systems to manage medical records and health records.

Medical records are used internally, within a single clinic or practice, but often must be accessed by more than one person. Nurses and clinicians, as well as receptionists, may need to know what is going on with a patient so that the proper tests are scheduled and performed.

Having an electronic medical records system allows for quick and easy access for everyone charged with caring for a patient. The same can be said for electronic health records, and many health information managers will say this is an area where electronic records are even more beneficial.

Electronic Health Records

Health records that must be passed from a surgeon to a primary care provider, or from a doctor to a physical therapist, can be more easily, efficiently, and securely transported using electronic health records.

health information definedHealth information can also refer to the various forms and paperwork that is passed back and forth between a healthcare provider and a health insurance company.

For every insurance claim, healthcare providers must fill out certain paperwork and ensure that there are no mistakes.

This form of health record can cause problems when it is not filled out correctly, as an insurance company can reject a claim even if a small mistake is made.

Health information professionals often encourage healthcare providers to use electronic systems because electronic health records tend to be more accurate and are less likely to be filled out incorrectly than paper records.