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.

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.

Healthcare and Insurance: Everything You Need To Know

Healthcare and Insurance: Everything You Need To Know

Whether you are healthy or not, having the right insurance for you is a must. Nitin Chhoda elaborates the importance of having the right insurance, and how it can help you prepare for future healthcare needs.

healthcare and insuranceThe terms healthcare and insurance have gotten a bit muddled in the minds of most Americans. So much of the public debate around healthcare is focused on health insurance.

But the reason that we need a better system of healthcare and insurance is because people aren’t getting the kind of healthcare they need to stay healthy.

It can be difficult to understand the healthcare practice management system if you never need to know how it works. But then one day you do need to understand, and maybe that’s because you’ve ended up in the hospital and are uninsured or underinsured.

The Truth About Healthcare and Insurance

The truth is that patients these days need better healthcare, and healthcare and insurance is the way that healthcare becomes affordable. If you had millions of dollars in the bank, you might not care about health insurance.

If something happened, if you were in a car accident or got sick with a serious disease like cancer, you could pay for your healthcare, even if that meant spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for the best care. However, if you don’t have unlimited funds to spend on unforeseen expenses, healthcare and insurance is there to cover the big costs.

What is Healthcare?

For a moment, let’s forget about healthcare and insurance altogether. Imagine that every time you got sick and needed to go to the doctor, you would just go and the doctor would charge you a fee for the visit, and you could afford to pay that fee.

You have a bad sore throat that won’t go away, you go to the doctor, suspecting strep throat, and the doctor charges $30 for the visit and gives you a prescription for antibiotics. Then you visit the pharmacy and pay $10 for your medication and you’re all better in a week. You don’t feel like you need a healthcare and insurance.

That is healthcare at it’s most simple approach. Of course, the situation gets more complicated if something serious happens.

You have pain in your back all the time and you visit the doctor. You have to go back a number of times for a number of different tests.

Each time it costs $30, plus the costs of the tests. Then your doctor orders an MRI. In the United States, an MRI costs hundreds of dollars. Healthcare and insurance seemed to be important at this time.

healthcare and insuranceOr if someone has back pain that is making their life difficult and full of pain, they do not have a choice about seeking out healthcare and insurance.

The alternative is to live with awful pain all the time, limiting what they do in fear of making it worse, and possibly taking pain medication which will do further damage in the long term, to the liver, kidneys, and other important organs.

Getting Healthcare and Insurance is Part of Life

So rather than risk that this patient will have to pay for all these medical tests and potentially ending up in surgery, which will cost $50,000 to $100,000, the alternative is to buy healthcare and insurance.

You may choose a high deductible and pay for all those inexpensive visits, but if something truly bad happens, you are financially protected from medical bankruptcy.

Health Care Insurance : The Patient’s Perspective

Health Care Insurance : The Patient’s Perspective

Although patients know the importance of healthcare and insurance, most do not understand their coverage and benefits. Nitin Chhoda explains how patients misunderstand insurance, and why it is important to openly communicate with them in order to avoid financial struggle.

health care insurance patient's perspectiveThe nature of health care insurance of a healthcare practice management in the United States leaves most patients pretty confused about what they need and what they are entitled to.

For example, even patients who have health care insurance may not benefit from their insurance most of the time.

If a deductible is built into the insurance plan, the patient will end up paying for most of their doctor visits every year. The only time they benefit from having insurance is when a serious accident occurs or they are diagnosed with a serious illness.

A Patient’s Perspective

From the patient’s perspective, the health care insurance system is confusing and always more expensive than they expect. A co-pay that is required, perhaps $20 for a visit or 20% of the bill, might come as a surprise to a patient that doesn’t understand their policy.

Even worse is when the patient does not understand the deductible of his/her health care insurance. They may look at their policy, find out that a certain treatment is covered, and not realize that they must pay the entire cost because they haven’t met their deductible limit.

For Clinicians and Medical Practices, Misunderstandings Can Mean Lost Revenue

Let’s consider a patient who does not understand the deductible, but they want to go to a dermatologist to test an unusual mark on their skin. They wonder if it’s skin cancer or just a mole, so they figure out that this kind of test is covered by their health care insurance, as long as they get a referral.

First they go to a general practitioner who is covered by the particular health care insurance company. They pay for that visit, or perhaps just a co-pay, and get their referral.

health care insurance perspectiveBut then they have an appointment with a dermatologist and tests are done to determine what the skin growth is. This is all pretty expensive and the bill comes to $1000.

At first both the dermatologist’s office and the patient believe that the patient must only pay the co-pay of 20%, which is $200 because of his/her health care insurance.

If the patient has a $3000 deductible that they have not reached, a chain of events ensues, which causes expense, wasted time, and stress for the patient and the medical staff.

First, the medical billing staff will bill the health care insurance company for the amount they typically pay, in this case $800. But the claim will be rejected because the deductible has not been met. Then the medical office has to bill the patient that $800 – an amount the patient is not expecting to pay.

A Realization

From the patient’s perspective of health care insurance, this is a terrible realization. From the practice’s perspective, this has been a waste of time and now they do not know if they will be paid for services already rendered. It is quite possible that the patient cannot afford to pay that $800. Even the $200 was probably a bit of a bummer at least.

The truth is that the patient made the right choices in making a health care insurance.

If that skin growth was skin cancer, it should be tested and removed. If they leave it alone, they may get seriously ill and have to undergo much more expensive and intensive treatments. But they are discouraged from taking those first steps because it is so costly.

Insurance and Benefits: What the Average Citizen Should Know

Insurance and Benefits: What the Average Citizen Should Know

It’s not enough that a person should have insurance, it is equally as important they know what type of coverage they are buying. Nitin Chhoda explains the difference of premium, deductible, and co-payments types of insurances.

insurance and benefits averageIf you want to save money on health insurance in the United States, first you have to understand just what it is you are responsible for paying when you need healthcare.

Insurance and benefits and physical therapy documentation can be incredibly confusing, partially because insurance companies use certain terms to describe what you will be paying.

If the average citizen was better educated about insurance and benefits, they can make better decisions about healthcare and insurance. Healthcare providers are also better off when patients understand their responsibilities and what is covered by their insurance benefits package.

Below are the commonly misunderstood terms that related to payments that patients must make as part of their healthcare insurance and benefits responsibility.

Premium

The premium for health insurance is the monthly, quarterly, or annual payment that the patient makes to the health insurance company. By continuously paying the premium, a patient remains insured. If the patient stops paying the premium, or pays the premium late, insurance and benefits can be withdrawn.

For employer insurance plans, often the employer pays the premiums for employees. This is not always the case, but even when the employer does pay, they tend to reduce the salary for the position based on the cost of adding another employee to their insurance plan.

Deductable

The deductable is usually referred to as a cash amount, and it is the cash amount that the patient is responsible for paying. Most plans for insurance and benefits will include a deductable, and as the deductable rises for a different plan, the monthly premiums go down.

For employer plans, you may not have a choice unless you are choosing between an HMO and a PPO. The word deductable is used in insurance and benefits as the amount of money you have to pay before you can start benefiting from your policy.

For example, if your deductable amount is $500, no matter what you go to the doctor for, the first $500 in bills are yours to pay. If you want to have a higher deductable, you can get a cheaper insurance and benefits plan. But you’ll be paying the amount before you can collect benefits.

insurance and benefits of patientsIf you rarely go to the doctor, a high deductable can save you money. If you need medical care suddenly and it will cost thousands of dollars, you only pay the deductable and the rest is covered by your insurance company.

Co-Payment

A co-payment, or co-pay, is also a cash amount. Some insurance and benefits plans are zero deductable plans and instead they require that you pay a percentage or flat fee for each visit to the doctor.

Even some plans with deductibles include co-pays for standard visits to the doctor for general check-ups.

Knowing the details of your insurance and benefits is different from understanding the insurance and benefits you are entitled to.

Most people who are healthy never even think about their co-pay or deductible until they need to go to the doctor and they find out that the amount is not yet billable to the insurance company. Often, this realization comes at great cost to the patient and the healthcare facility.

Insurance and Benefits and How They Relate To Good Health

Insurance and Benefits and How They Relate To Good Health

The future of healthcare and insurance is still uncertain.  Nitin Chhoda imparts how major changes are needed to be made in order to help policy holders maximize the use of their insurance policies.

insurance and benefitsWithout a good understanding of health insurance and benefits and physical therapy billing process, many patients make big mistakes that end up costing them money.

These are mistakes that also cost their healthcare providers time and money in the form of billing, rejected claims management, and late payment of fees.

Because so many people don’t understand that even with insurance and benefits they will still have to pay for some healthcare, the system can be very inefficient.

Some People Do Not Understand Their Insurance

But what about the cost to the health of people who have insurance and benefits but do not understand how the system works? Some people who do not understand will have certain healthcare procedures done without realizing that they will have to pay.

When they find out that they actually have a deductible of insurance and benefits which they are responsible for, they are shocked and disappointed to be suddenly in medical debt.

And even for patients who do understand the system, making these decisions is dangerous to health.

For a patient who has a problem with their skin and is wondering if they might have a melanoma, the correct and safe thing to do is go to the doctor right away. When skin cancer is caught early it is much easier and cheaper to treat and treatment is more likely to be effective without having to use paid insurance and benefits.

If a patient knows that they will have to pay up to a $3000 deductible, they may be nervous about going to the doctor for financial reasons. What good is an insurance and benefits plan if you still have to pay for medical care that you can’t afford?

What Patients Should Know Before Selecting Insurance and Benefits

insurance and benefits relationsThe best way to avoid a bad situation is to educate patients before they choose their insurance and benefits plan.

That way, patients can choose a plan with a deductible that they can afford and that makes sense for their health history.

Of course, for people working in the healthcare industry, it is usually too late by the time they see patients.

In many practices today, the induction process for new patients includes a somewhat sobering educational experience.

Rather than waiting until the billing process starts and services have already been provided, the reception staff or nurses will actually find out exactly what is covered by a patient’s insurance and benefits plan, and they will find out if the deductible has been reached yet.

Financial Future

This may take more time at the beginning, but in the long run it saves time and money for the practice. As a patient, if a practice wants to figure out how much financial responsibility you have, it is best to indulge them so you also know what you will be responsible for paying.

By working together, patients and medical practices can determine what the best course of medical treatment will be based on both the financial resources and insurance and benefits that the patient has.