Electronic Medical Records –  How to Implement?

Electronic Medical Records – How to Implement?

Although switching to EMR will make the documentation process better, there are some factors that need to be considered before expecting a smooth transition.

Nitin Chhoda points out that open communication with staff before, during, and after implemenation is important.  He will discuss how and why managing your staff’s expectations is crucial, and how to handle any rough patches during the change over process.

electronic medical recordsElectronic medical records are sometimes feared by clinicians and medical managers because of wrong implementation that may not actually improve the business and remain stagnant instead.

Implementation is going to be the toughest time, as everyone will probably be adjusting their workflow and accomplishing tasks more slowly than before.

But this shouldn’t discourage you from making the necessary changes. You will learn a lot through implementation of your electronic medical records and you can use that to your advantage.

Before Implementation

The best way to ensure that implementing electronic medical records goes smoothly for your practice is to plan and prepare beforehand. You should have a time leading up to implementation when all staff members can give input, voice concerns, and get the training they will need.

Remember this phrase: managing expectations.

If your staff expects the process to be difficult and frustrating, but things go smoothly, you will find that electronic medical records implementation will be easier. But if you try to convince the staff that it will be simple and straightforward, any problems will seem larger than they are in the grand scheme of things.

Make a plan, set goals, get buy-in and feedback, and give your staff the training they will need. Implementation will be a completely different experience if you prepare for the physical therapy electronic medical records implementation process.

When You Hit Tough Patches

electronic medical records implementationThere will be rough spots. Accept that now and you are halfway to dealing with them. The same is true for your staff’s attitude towards difficulties.

Let them know that you expect it to take a bit of time in implementing electronic medical records system before everyone has adjusted and that you want them to deal with problems rather than brush over them.

Problems that arise will educate you on how to improve the system to meet the needs of staff. Use each problem as if it is an opportunity. Talk to staff and the software developers so changes can be made right from the start.

Others Have Been There Before

Another important thing to remember is that you aren’t the first practice to implement physical therapy software for electronic medical records management. There are incredible resources out there that can help you along the way. From choosing the right physical therapy EMR to dealing with issues during EMR implementation, you can find resources online.

Electronic medical records system implementation could present some struggles for you and your staff. But those struggles don’t have to be disasters.

Makes sure that you and your staff have access to training materials and resources and that everyone is encouraged to ask questions. If you can manage the expectations of the staff, ensure that they are on board even before electronic medical records implementation starts, and give them support during the process, things will go more smoothly.

Electronic medical records of physical therapy software has been improving, but that doesn’t mean the prefect fit has been established. Another critical part of ensuring that implementation goes well is that you choose the right software. Take your time and do the research to determine what will work best for your practice.

Physical Therapy EMR Top Five Advantages

Physical Therapy EMR Top Five Advantages

Many physical therapy business owners are not yet convinced they should make the change over to automated documentation.

Nitin Chhoda enumerates the five advantages that physical therapy EMR can give, and how it can affect the entire process of a practices’ documentation from scheduling to billing.

physical therapy EMRPhysical therapy EMR system is obviously going electronic and is starting to look more and more like the obvious choice for physical therapy software.

Many physical therapy EMR systems handle everything from physical therapy documentation to billing to scheduling.

Just in case you’re not convinced, here are the top five advantages of physical therapy EMR for all of your PT documentation software needs.

#5: Integrated Billing

Many clinicians find this to be one of the most obvious benefits, but it cannot be stressed enough. When you implement physical therapy software that offers complete physical therapy EMR transition, your business has the opportunity to get much, much more efficient. Medical billing is a complex job, and EMR for physical therapy services can make it just a bit simpler.

Because billing, scheduling, and electronic medical records will all be tracked by the same system, you can expect things to be more intuitive.

Medical billing can involve many steps and should include aging reports and follow-ups. A good physical therapy EMR system will allow you to set reminders and collect insurance and patient payments in a more efficient manner.

#4: Professionalismphysical therapy EMR advantages

Your practice with an integrated physical therapy EMR services will give patients even more confidence about your services.

It turns out that the way patients perceive your office will make a difference – both new and continuing patients may decide your practice is not organized enough and walk out the door at any time.

If you show them a standard of paperwork, billing, and timely communications, they will respect the practice and feel more confident.

Additionally, physical therapy EMR can help busy therapists to keep all of their patients straight. No one is expected to remember every detail of every appointment. Electronic medical records make it quicker and easier to get caught up.

#3: Reporting and Profitability

A fully integrated physical therapy EMR will allow you to track the indicators that you want to check. How often do cancelled appointments remain empty? How often do referrals lead to a consistent new client? If you can get these numbers quickly and easily, you can use them to make your practice more profitable and efficient.

#2: EMRs are Coming

Physical therapy EMR and billing are the directions we’re all headed anyway. Why? Because they cut down on expenses and wasted time, which means you’ll be wasting less money on inefficient procedures. Implementing a physical therapy EMR now will ensure that you are on track to work with the rest of the medical community in the most efficient and practical way.

#1: Precision, Accessibility, Accountability

With physical therapy EMR and software that is designed by and for physical therapists, you can improve precision and accountability. When a system is intuitive to use and provides short cuts for a fast and constantly changing workflow, everyone gets better at their job. And if there is ever any question about why a decision was made or how a situation was handled, all the information will be together in one very easily accessible place.

Electronic Medical Records – What Is It?

Electronic Medical Records – What Is It?

The latest and most convenient way to process your physical therapy documentation is through the use of electronic medical records. Nitin Chhoda defines this system and how it affects the whole process within a physical therapy practice.

electronic medical recordsTechnology has allowed humans to achieve amazing things, even in the past couple of decades. Consider that less than 40 years ago email was a science fiction dream.

Sending messages instantly from anywhere to anywhere else in the world were seemed impossible then. Even electronic medical records are not developed yet.

Today we take that convenience for granted, even though email and the Internet have made it possible for improvements in efficiency that were previously unimaginable.

What is EMR?

EMR stands for electronic medical record, and electronic medical records promise to be the technology of the future for anyone with any kind of medical practice.

An electronic medical record (EMR) is the digital, or paper-free way for medical practices of all kinds to track a patient’s care, medical history, and progress.

From doctors to physical therapists to dentists, anyone who treats a patient must adhere to certain documentation practices like having electronic medical records. However, until recently the only option was to write everything down on physical forms and review the notes before each visit with a patient.

Electronic medical records allow healthcare professionals to review information more quickly and provide better care to their patients. Consider that a clinician may see anywhere between eight and fifteen patients in a single day.

Some may be new patients, others are coming back for check-ups, and others have specific diseases or conditions for which they need regular testing. Without a photographic memory, it is impossible to keep up with all the details that are important to caring for each patient.

That is why an effective and correct implementation of the electronic medical records is very important. In fact, some clinicians find that just remembering the names of all their patients is a huge challenge.

electronic medical records definitionRecalling Important Details

Medical records are critical to the process of recalling those important details, including things like which medications a patient is currently taking and what was discussed at their last visit.

Electronic medical records make reviewing this information quick and easy.

Rather than having to spend time looking for a medical file, electronic medical records make all the information carried around on a tablet or computer shared between the reception desk computer and the clinician’s computer with the click of a button. Files are pulled up instantly and are always legible.

Of course good medical recordkeeping is a continuous job. Clinicians and other healthcare professionals must update records during and after each visit. In fact, electronic medical records can even help a clinician to remember which questions they should be asking and which tests should be performed, based on what information must be entered into the electronic medical records.

EMR and Billing

Then, with automatic or manually triggered processes, a patient can be billed as soon as the appointment is over. All the appropriate filing for Medicare or health insurance company billing can also be handled by electronic medical records systems. And alerts can be arranged so that if bills go unpaid, the clinic staff can re-bill quickly and easily.

If you want to know what electronic medical records are, think about the way you would manage all patient information, billing, and recordkeeping. Imagine a system that integrates all administrative tasks with a system that allows all kinds of medical professionals to be more efficient and better informed when heading into an appointment.

Medical Coding Latest Trends

Medical Coding Latest Trends

Medical coding is a complicated task, and requires constant updating. NItin Chhoda shares the main tasks of a medical coder and the importance of using certified people.

medical coding trendsBecause medical coding is such an important task, many clinics assign a medical coder to do the job. Sometimes the medical coder and the medical biller are the same person, especially in a smaller clinic.

But medical coding is a complex task that requires a detail oriented approach and specific knowledge. Some of the most recent trends in medical coding have shown an increase in the demand for certified medical coders.

Updates to Codes

A certified medical coder for physical therapy billing is required to spend a certain amount of time studying medical coding before they become certified.

You don’t have to have a degree or certification to work as a medical coder, but you do have to understand medical terminology and have a good education in physiology and anatomy.

Reading what a clinician has written and assigning the appropriate medical codes would be hard if you don’t know what the clinician is talking about.

But another advantage of hiring a certified medical coder is that they will be required to take continuing education courses and re-certify regularly. That means that when changes are being made to medical coding websites, the medical coding staff member will be updated through courses.

One very important change that is coming soon is the switch from ICD-9 codes to ICD-10 codes, which will occur in October of 2013. An additional 100,000 codes will be introduced into the system, and the ICD-9 codes only number about 13,600 codes. This change is going to affect every single health care provider in the country.

Education and Job Outlookmedical coding latest trends

As a result of the need for skilled medical coding professionals, the job of a medical coder is looking pretty steady for the next decade and beyond.

Competitive certification programs are popping up all across the country. For people looking for a steady and well-paid job, medical coding is a good option these days.

There have been a few recent trends in medical coding education. Most significantly, more and more medical clinics want to hire certified medical coders rather than someone they will have to train themselves.

A skilled and experienced coder will be able to handle the job efficiently and they will be learning how to deal with changes and updates as part of their re-certification courses. With this kind of confidence-inducing education, certified medical coders are a well-respected part of successful medical practices.

Paperwork vs. Electronic Medical Records

Another big adjustment that is rapidly changing the way medical coding is done is the introduction of electronic medical records. For some coders, this sounds like the best idea yet. EMR systems might make their jobs faster and more efficient, allowing for coding and billing to occur side-by-side within the computer program.

Some medical coding professionals are not so enthusiastic. They see plenty of potential for problems with security and privacy. But as electronic systems evolve and the need for better electronic security arises, it seems that security companies are developing the proper privacy measures to accommodate a paper-free medical coding environment.

Medical Billing And Coding In-House

Medical Billing And Coding In-House

Whether your medical billing and coding should be in-housed or outsourced, there are certain things that are worth considering.  Nitin Chhoda shares the advantages of an in-house medical billing and coding for a small or new private practice.

medical billing and coding in-houseOne of the biggest considerations for many practices is whether or not to conduct the medical billing and coding in-house or to outsource the work.

The question tends to focus on costs, which makes sense.

If your practice can save money by hiring a company to handle the medical billing and coding for you, why hire someone in-house?

But of course, calculating how you are best served is not all that simple. The determination often depends on the size of the office, how many claims need to be filed per day, how many clinicians work at the practice, and the costs of related hardware and software.

And of course, does in-house medical billing and coding improve the rate at which your claims are accepted and paid, or will outsourcing improve collection rates?

Benefits of In-House Billers

The most obvious decision will have to do with the amount of billing that your in-house billers and coders can handle.

In a very small practice, where the receptionist can handle scheduling, medical coding, and medical billing without being overwhelmed, hiring out medical billing and coding is probably unnecessary. And there are a few benefits to having the medical billing and coding professional right there in the office with clinicians.

When you can talk to your medical billing and coding staff member directly, all the details can be accessed at any time about any claim. One downside of an off-site service is that you have less control over and less access to your billing history.

Some services will provide reporting as a scheduled service or on demand. But timing will still be hampered by the fact that the medical billing and coding staff handling your practice probably has a number of practices to worry about. The process becomes less personal.

medical billing and coding needsAnother benefit of in-house medical billing and coding is that the information only has to be communicated once.

In other words, in many ways an outsourced system will require that someone put in a decent amount of work to get the billing accomplished.

In the most efficient scenario, you could simply scan relevant documents and hope they understand what is written.

But outsourcing will not mean that all aspect of medical billing and coding will be handled elsewhere. Someone still needs to be available for communication and transfer of information.

Size Matters When it Comes to Price

As you can imagine, the larger a practice gets, the more efficient an in-house biller can be. If you have a very small office, hiring one or two staff members just to handle medical billing and coding careers will be very expensive. In a private practice, there is a fine line to be drawn between having one staff member to handle everything administrative, and having too much work for a single staff member to handle.

When staff members with lots of responsibilities get overwhelmed, all tasks begin to suffer. And when medical billing and coding suffers, the entire practice is put in jeopardy.

Physical Therapy Software: Relationship Between EMR, Clearing Houses, Payers and Your Wallet

Physical Therapy Software: Relationship Between EMR, Clearing Houses, Payers and Your Wallet

The major roles of EMR, clearing houses, and billing are very important because the flow of the business depends on it.  Nitin Chhoda explains these relationships and the impact it has on your practice’ income.

physical therapy software Reimbursements from private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and Workers’ Compensation are the primary sources from which physical therapists collect revenues.

Those income sources pay the bills and salaries, fund expansion and equipment.

In an age where payments are being limited, capped and questioned, physical therapy software EMR offers assistance in locating the best payers that directly affects a practice’s profit margin.

An EMR offers online submissions for quicker turnarounds on payments, along with billing and coding options for greater flexibility. Physical therapy software also provides the means to identify the best payers.

Contracts with Payers

Therapists may have negotiated contracts with primary payers, but that doesn’t mean the dollars are going to start rolling in. Preferred provider organizations (PPOs) often sell their contracts to third party administrators (TPA) or another PPO that reimburses at a lower rate.

Selling contracts to other providers is a common practice, but most probably the one that’s financially disastrous for clinics. EMRs offer physical therapy software analytic tools that can be used to track payments from a wide range of third-party payers.

Therapists can ascertain which organizations pay the highest reimbursement rates and those that don’t limit or cap payments or services. EMRs offer physical therapy software billing and coding options to ensure practice owners are receiving the highest level of compensation for their services.

The Role of Physical Therapy Software

physical therapy software relationshipsPhysical therapy software provides the means for therapists to compare and contrast the financial benefits of working with specific third-party payers.

The current trend in healthcare is toward cost reduction, which directly affects access to established and potential patients.

Cost reduction is beneficial for insurance companies, but the plan doesn’t provide adequate reimbursements for clinic owners and their services. EMRs offer therapists physical therapy software options that help grow their practice.

Any therapist operating their own practice will soon learn about clearinghouses and the role they play in keeping their clinic funded. Millions of claims are filed with carriers each day, all of which would be traveling by mail to the four corners of the earth.

Clearinghouses and More

Clearinghouses were established to facilitate claims processing, resolve reimbursement issues and address physical therapy software errors. An EMR sends a therapist’s claims to clearinghouses electronically where they’re received almost immediately and checked for errors, before making their way to the specified payer.

The entire process can be accomplished in a matter of hours, compared to traditional mail that could take days to reach its destination. With the assistance of an EMR, questions can be answered, errors addressed, and corrections can be accomplished in the blink of an eye for a quicker turnaround on reimbursements.

Before the advent of physical therapy software EMRs, it could take weeks or even months of paper-based communications to clear a claim question and deposit the funds in a clinic’s account.

Physical therapy software provides the means to submit claims and obtain reimbursements quicker, offering better cash flow for any clinic.

An EMR saves long, tedious hours of phone time with individual insurance providers clarifying claims, allowing therapists to spend more time treating patients and less time waiting for reimbursements. They also contain the essential components needed for compliant physical therapy documentation to protect practice owners from a variety of legal ills.