Getting Technical With Your Patient Record Pay Offs – Here is Why

Not an EP? If you know the ropes, here are other ways EMR can save you cash.

If you have not seen or lead a conversion from paper records to an EMR system, you are least aware that the process is a big undertaking – that very often results in even lower productivity and more confusion. As such, is the change really worth it? Experts agree that going electronic is worth it. Here’s why:

1. Open more cash inlets

There are many research studies which pull their data through electronic records. Therefore if you cannot tune in to participate, opportunities for cash perks will fly by. For instance, grant money and incentive programs are available and they want data in the electronic form, according to Francine Wheelock, PT, MPA, manager of clinical systems for MaineGeneral Health. Just take a look at the nationwide push for value-based purchasing and outcome data, and expect to take the electronic route if you want to be in the loop.

Remain alert: Last year, the federal government launched HITECH act, which plans to pay eligible healthcare professionals incentives for the “meaningful use: of certain EMRs.

Kate Romanow, director of health care regulatory advocacy for the American Speech-Language Hearing Association confirms, under the HITECH act, some providers like SLPs, OTs and PTs are not classified as ‘EPs’ under the HITECH Act and are therefore not eligible for the incentive payment. However, she says they may be eligible in the future, so therapists may want to think about implementing EHR now.

To add to it, you increase coordination of care with Home health physical therapy (PT) documentation software  healthcare providers who are eligible for HITECH incentives and are going for EHRs, according to Sarah Nicholls, assistant director for payment policy and advocacy for the American Physical Therapy Association. As such, think about your business interactions with those that are eligible today.

2. Quality of care gets a boost

Electronic systems oftentimes provide access to a database of national outcomes data from users of the same software, a jewel for weighing and boosting your care.

One more perk: Wheelock notes, “Many of the systems will connect you to research on best practices for treating certain diagnoses. Therefore, an EMR can really help drive evidence-based practice.”

Electronic systems can help standardize your care too. For instance, if your practice witnesses the same diagnosis quite often, you could build shells for care plans so that you have some standardization of care to begin with.