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Monthly Archives: November 2012

ICD-10 Preparations and Potential Costs

The transition from ninth version of the Internal Classification of Diseases (ICD) to the current ICD-10 version is going to require healthcare providers to make changes to the way that patient visits, procedures and medical treatments are coded. This is largely due to the fact that ICD-10 codes are more specific and the number of available codes will be much greater. ICD-10 is also going to affect other practice processes, and healthcare professionals will likely need to make financial investments in order to prepare for the ICD-10 changes.

The Nachimson Advisors consulting firm estimates that small practices may need to spend about $83,000, whereas larger health systems should expect ICD-10 costs in the millions. These costs include:

The largest anticipated ICD-10-related expense by far involves increased documentation costs and disruptions in cashflow due to loss of productivity. For small practices, these expenses will account for more than 75 percent of their IDC-10 budget. Meanwhile, hospitals will end up spending about 90 percent of their budget on this. The smallest projected expense is likely to be training and education, which should only take up about 2 percent of the ICD-10 budget.

Healthcare professionals who are still using a paper-based charting system will be hit the hardest. These physicians typically spend about 20 percent of their time with a patient on documentation, and new ICD-10 requirements are expected to add 4 percent more to that time.

Providers using ICD-10-ready electronic medical record software will be able to handle the transition better, as coding assistance features will help providers select the correct code. They will still have to invest in training for coders and other staff, but productivity will not be affected like it will be for physicians using paper charts.

To learn more about how EMR software and practice management systems can help your practice prepare for ICD-10, contact us at 480-782-116.

Preventing EMR Software from Affecting Doctor-Patient Interaction

Doctor using EMR softwareElectronic medical record software can help physicians chart more efficiently and improve quality of care. However, it can be easy for doctors to let the introduction of new technology affect how they interact with patients. This, in turn, can affect care delivery and patient satisfaction. In order to prevent EMR software from getting in the way of the doctor-patient relationship, healthcare providers should take the following factors into account.

Chart Review

Do a quick chart review before stepping into the room with the patient. This will allow you to mention a few facts about the patient’s medical history without having to reference the computer. It will also:

  • Make the patient feel important
  • Make the visit more personal
  • Allow more time for doctor-patient interaction

With electronic medical record software, a chart review can be done easily by accessing the Chart View display in the EMR. This screen will provide an overview of the patient’s health record, from current medications and allergies to a problem list and family and social history.

Computer Location

Consider how your computer’s location in the exam room might become a roadblock that impedes conversation. This can happen when a computer is placed directly between the doctor and patient, causing each one to have to look over the monitor to make eye contact with the other. A good idea when setting up an exam room to accommodate EMR software is to position the computer screen so that the patient can easily view it from where he/she sits.

Patient Participation

Allowing patients to view your screen will make it easier for you to include them in the documentation process. Doing so will prevent the patient from feeling ignored while you enter visit notes or review information in their chart. If you need to look at test results, show the patient and explain the results to them while referring to the data on your screen. If you need to send an e-prescription, walk the patient through the process and explain how electronic prescriptions are beneficial to them. You can even take this time to explain to the patient the benefits of your online healthcare portal and how using it can improve quality of care.

Interested in learning more about our EMR software or online patient portal? Contact us online or call 480-782-1116 today to speak with one of our expert EMR representatives.

Internal Medicine EMR Integral for Disease Prevention

Although all physicians should focus on preventive care, doctors of internal medicine receive special training in disease prevention, and it is one of the main aspects of their profession. Without active patient participation, however, it is difficult for physicians to successfully treat patients and to prevent new diseases from forming. Fortunately for internists – and for at-risk patients – internal medicine EMR software is facilitating disease management and making it possible for physicians to spot early signs of disease. Here’s how:

Preventive Care

EMR systems designed for internal medicine specialists feature screening tools that help doctors single out patients presenting with symptoms of diabetes or other diseases. In some cases, patient lists can be generated using data documented in the EMR; however, physicians can also screen for at-risk patients using questionnaires preloaded in the EMR.

Once a patient has been flagged as being at risk for a certain disease, through their electronic health record software, internists can easily carry out preventive care measures. This includes:

  • Setting up automatic follow-up reminders to ensure that the patient is contacted to come in for regular check-ups and has received appropriate tests
  • Tracking all activity in the patient’s chart, including medication compliance and care by third-party physicians
  • Making health data and educational materials available to patients through an online portal or secure website

Disease Management

Not all prevention efforts are successful, and not all diseases can be spotted early. Therefore, internists must sometimes treat patients who already have diabetes, high blood pressure, or other illnesses. With internal medicine EMR software, doctors can determine a course of action and map out treatment plans based on each patient’s unique health factors. Patients can also be given access to educational resources to help them understand their disease and how to manage it.

Additionally, EMR software makes it possible for physicians to be instantly alerted of important changes in a patient’s health record. For example, interfaces with laboratories allow internists to receive test results instantly – and lab results with abnormal findings get flagged for immediate review. Meanwhile, with paper-based records, a chart with abnormal lab results clipped to it might not be seen the physician right away and could even wind up getting lost.

To learn more about the EMR features available to doctors of internal medicine, contact us at 480-782-1116.