EHRs are the Solution: Making a Successful Transition

Considering some of the pitfalls and drawbacks of using an electronic health record (EHR) system as were mentioned in my previous post, one might be reluctant to use EHRs to their full potential.  However, most EHRs today are highly intuitive and have features that are more likely to benefit a practice than damage it. The MedPro team has worked with numerous providers on the transition from a paper-based health records system to an electronic one and the experience has varied from provider-to-provider.  Hayes (2017) also offers some suggestions on making the transition as smooth as possible and ensuring the success of providers with their chosen EHR:

  • Maintain open-communication with the provider. As a medical biller, it is critical to be open with the provider and allow them to discuss any misgivings they may have with the transition.  Offer practical solutions to any of their questions and concerns and present any you may have yourself.  Most often, providers are not experts in coding, which is why we as medical billers must be aware of areas for potential improvement and provider suggestions for things such as better documentation and coding.
  • Identify areas in which problems have occurred in the past when a paper-based system was used. I can attest that providers are not always aware of the type of documentation needed to ensure proper coding and billing.  Accurate and necessary documentation is a skill that sometimes needs guidance and as professional medical billers, this is something that we can provide support on.
  • The provider is not the only individual in the office maintaining and using the EHR. Ensure that all office staff and billing staff are aware of the functions of the system and provide roles for each person who will be using it.  Training is absolutely essential for everyone who will be using the EHR.  Providers, especially, should be trained on how to appropriately use templates, which can be highly efficient and time saving when used appropriately, to avoid the drawbacks of “cloning”.   Providers should be focusing on patient care and any help they get with documentation can be essential for ensuring that patient care remains their top priority.
  • One of the goals of most EHRs is to allow for proper documentation and reporting of all upcoming CMS initiatives. As a medical billing company, we try to discuss with providers and staff on how EHRs can be used to meet these goals, how this feature will be maintained, and areas that may need improvement to ensure all initiative markers are met.

Each practice and provider differs in terms of what they are seeking from their chosen EHR and what the demands of that practice/provider require.   In my experience, some providers find transitioning to be a daunting task and are at first reluctant to change.  However, it is partially the responsibility of the medical billing team to help with this transition and to offer counseling and solutions along the way.  In today’s healthcare, electronically-based records systems are really the best way for any practice to store patient medical information and should never be avoided.  In my personal experience, I have worked with providers who were at first adverse to change, but once we provided the necessary consultation and information, we were able to put their concerns at ease and transition them smoothly to a new and more compliant system.  EHRs provide for a much cleaner, efficient means for storing medical records.  The MedPro Services team is well-versed in various EHRs and is willing and capable of learning and adapting to new ones too.  For more information on our experience with EHRs, please visit the PM and EHR Solutions section of our website.

Hayes, J. (2017, September). EHR transition is an open opportunity to improve documentation. Healthcare Business Monthly, 48-49.

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