An electronic health record (EHR) that shares a single database with a practice management system is an integral tool that allows physicians to manage their practices more efficiently, reduce overhead and improve the quality of care. This is commonly referred to as an “integrated EHR.” Cost is one of the most commonly cited reasons why physicians do not implement these systems. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 contains incentives for using an EHR meaningfully, but in the majority of cases each practice will need to make the initial investment in the EHR they plan to use. This article will discuss the financial benefits of investing in a fully integrated, single database, EHR/Practice Management system. It will also describe the benefits of leasing vs. ownership of an integrated system.
A number of EHR (Electronic Health Record) products feature tools that automate the process of determining the E&M (evaluation and management) code for an office visit. When these tools are properly designed and used appropriately, they result in very accurate coding supported by thorough documentation. This can result in very significant and completely justified increases in revenue, not uncommonly reaching tens of thousands of dollars. This has attracted the interest of auditors, however, including the Office of the Inspector General (the body that performs audits for CMS).
A successful Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation hinges upon choosing the right system for your practice. Equally important is how you approach the process of actually implementing the EHR in your practice. This article will provide recommendations based on knowledge attained from hundreds of successful EHR implementations.
In 1991, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a report which detailed a consensus vision for the creation of electronic medical records (EMR) in the U.S. (1) The report presented a number of high level objectives to guide EMR development including improving the quality of patient care, strengthening the scientific basis of clinical practice, and helping to control healthcare costs. The IOM predicted that computerization would lead to a radical transformation of the U.S healthcare delivery system if these goals were achieved.