December 4, 2013
By now, everyone working in the healthcare industry knows that the Affordable Care Act has created a new economy for medical practices – reduced reimbursements which created a need for revenue-generating programs to keep the small, independent practice in business.
I’ve covered quite a few ideas on my blog and in my radio show. For your convenience, I’ve listed them at the end of my blog post but before we get to that, I’d like to introduce you to my colleague, Pat Berline, who saw this need for more revenue generating programs in healthcare a few years ago and found Point of Care prescription dispensing as a viable solution.
There were lots of dispensary programs to choose from but she found one that would help physicians see an increase in revenue without causing more work for the medical practice staff. She will be with me today on my Blog Talk Radio program, More For Your Practice Radio today at 4:30pm. You’ll find out what is required for a physician dispensing program and reveal Pat’s choice that in her opinion, has the most up-to-date, cost effective dispensing program .
As promised, here’s my list of other revenue-generating ideas for your practice:
Mary Pat Whaley’s Credit Card on File Program
Richard Graefe – Concierge Health Care Partners -
Feel free to leave your comments, tips and suggestions that have worked for you in generating more revenue streams for your medical practice.
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Topics: MORE For Your Practice, Practice Revenue | No Comments »
November 20, 2013
Complying with HIPAA Record Retention Mandates can be a costly and time-consuming endeavor for many medical practices. I recently had the privilege of interviewing Rick Adams, of Health Data Archiver, who has an innovative solution that not only converts patient data to a new system but can also archive patient information while reducing the cost of keeping old data and the risk of losing it. You can listen to the interview I did with Rick on Blog Talk Radio, just click here. The following is a guest blog post that outlines the basics of the Health Data Archiver solution.
System Replacements Are On the Rise
A recent study from Software Advice* indicates that over 30% of electronic health record (EHR) sales in 2013 replaced an existing EHR implementation. While the main driver for EHR replacement is dissatisfaction with a current application, other top reasons include the desire to move to a fully integrated system as well as the need to replace an old or unsupported system.
Data Conversions from Old Systems to New are Costly and Complex
There is a general misperception that a conversion from one system to another brings over all of the historical patient data. Typically, however, only patient demographics and critical clinical data points are converted to a new EHR. In the case of financial system conversions, account balances may convert but line item detail typically does not. For 95% of the time, the complexity of fully and precisely mapping data from one software schema to another is cost prohibitive.
So, What about the REST of the Data?
When a full system-wide conversion is not conducted, there is plenty of protected health information, or PHI, left behind in the old system. A few examples include clinical and collection notes; diagnosis, procedure, financial and appointment history; scanned images and documents – all information that, collectively, makes up the full history of the patient record.
And Then, There Were Two (Systems, That Is)
As a result, many practices leave the old system up and running to access historical records for patient and legal inquiries as well as audits. But, running two systems doubles the maintenance cost, technical risk and labor burden. Considering that HIPAA requires patient data to be retained anywhere from 7-10 years past the date of last procedure (and, in some cases, even longer), keeping that old system up in read-only format becomes costly.
Archiving Legacy Patient Data to Comply with Record Retention Mandates and Reduce Cost/Risk
Archiving an old clinical or financial system is a simple and affordable way for practices to comply with retention mandates while also eliminating the legacy system maintenance burden. The cost of an archive is typically less than what a practice would pay to maintain a legacy system for 18-24 months. The process entails extracting data from the old system and migrating it to an archive that allows for searches on historical patient records by name, date of birth and social security number. This takes the data out of an old production system and into a secure, browser-based viewer that can be easily accessed from the new EHR when needed.
Health Data Archiver as a Solution
Harmony Healthcare IT, a technology firm out of South Bend, IN, offers Health Data Archiver, the leading solution for archiving legacy ambulatory systems. For more information, call them at (800) 781-1044, or, visit their website at www.healthdataarchiver.com.
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Topics: HIPAA compliance, Solution Blog | No Comments »
November 13, 2013
Do you ever hit upon something that you know your friends would like? Well, I found this free online service, RxVantage and it is a cloud-based program that enables physician practices to streamline appointments with pharmaceutical and medical sales reps. There’s no gimmick…REALLY!
I think as women, sometimes we are more apt to refer something to a friend that we believe will make their life easier and even save them money. When I see or hear of something like this that would make your life easier as a practice manager, I try to share it; especially when it lowers the cost of doing business and does not cost you anything to use. That makes it a win:win.
RxVantage is free to sign up and use. Also, if you use the promo code of RM-November, a donation of $50 is made to my favorite charity, New Hope for Kids. Your favorite charity can receive a donation, too, by informing other practices about this time-saving tool and encouraging them to sign up. In fact, we are doing a radio show on this topic today as well at www.more4yourpractice.com so join us to hear all about it.
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Topics: Management, Software | No Comments »
November 5, 2013
Practice Manager Solutions welcomes Kristin Walker who’s the author of our blog post today about EHR Trickery during EMR demos. Kristin Walker is the owner of EVEHR (everything electronic health records), a behavioral health provider advocacy and consulting firm that helps her clients assess the most appropriate electronic health record system for their practice needs and funding level. Ms. Walker has evaluated more than forty behavioral health EHR’s to establish the wide range of services that are available to individual and group practices in the United States and is now considered an industry expert. She also contributes blog articles and speaks at various behavioral health conferences. You can learn more about her EMR demo experiences during our interview on More For Your Practice Radio Wed. Nov. 6 at 4:30pm. You can contact her at 828-553-3940 (Direct) or firstname.lastname@example.org
By Kristin Walker – Choosing an electronic health record system is a monumental task. Before you dive into purchasing a system make sure the salesperson providing the demo is not really a magician. We have run into some potentially serious “hocus pocus” during live and recorded web demonstrations and while there is usually some “slight of hand” at work, the worst trickery can obscure how the system performs in real time.
During the online demonstration watch for these other potentially deceptive practices:
- Slow loading. Though most of us occasionally face the problem of slow loading online, software salespeople know there is only a brief period to make a good impression. If your salesperson encounters the cringe-inducing problem of severe slow loading they can either acknowledge it—or they can try to pretend it isn’t there. As the consumer you should watch carefully how the salesperson reacts. Do they try to cover it up by pausing the screen or quickly moving the “offending” slow-loading indicator out of view? To get an honest appraisal of how the software will perform in your office make sure you ask for a minimum of three EHR demos with the same product: General Overview, Clinical, and Billing. Request a free trial in order to let staff experience how fast (or slow) the system will work in real life—after all, this is THE software that will be running your practice.
- The online, dual screen demo. When you are getting close to decision time it is important to see the software real time. Make sure the salesperson is working in a similar environment as your practice—not pulling information from other screens and dragging it to the monitor you are viewing in order to skip delays. If someone does this repeatedly it could mean that a whole lot of action is going on behind the scenes but s/he doesn’t want to let you see how much actual time it takes to engage other areas of the program. A common tactic is to have two or three instances of the software already open on their own computer and simply move the appropriate screen to the demo viewing screen to make it look like windows pop up quickly. You need to know how much time each of these functions will actually consume in practice. Ask for mouse control and then click on various buttons and menus yourself.
- Cross platform and mobile devices. The software should be all or at least partially browser-based. It should work seamlessly on a MAC or Windows device to give flexibility to your staff. The program should work in multiple web browsers to allow staff to use their preferred interface. Apps to use the system on a smart phone, an iPad, or a Windows tablet should be a requirement. Make sure you ask during the demo if the EHR is cross-platform. Downloaded potential apps to your own devices for testing.
- Additional Fees? How many “must-haves” will incur an additional fee? For example, do you have to pay extra for things like a clearinghouse, mobile apps, ePrescribing, billing and coding libraries, automated appointment reminders, secure email and faxing capabilities, and/or credit card processing? You shouldn’t! To be sure, request an itemized quote of everything you were shown on the demo, if it isn’t included in the price of the initial software.
- Dashboard. Does the software have a dashboard where critical information is summarized such as Meaningful Use criteria and user customizable reports? Can the salesperson show this to you within the software, live on the demo? Watch out for PDF’s, PowerPoint slides, or other preloaded documents the salesperson may prefer to display.
- Homework. After the demo, don’t rely on reviews posted on public boards or the EHR’s website as your only reference check. Take your list of must have features and ask more than one reference about each and what, if any, issues they’ve had with the software. If they say none they aren’t being truthful. There is no such thing as software without issues. What is more important is how quickly the issues were resolved. How much support do they need in order to use the system fully? The best software is easy to use, flexible for growth, built with your revenue cycle management in mind, and allows you to do what you do best: treat your clients.
- Paying for customer reviews. Ask the company if they offer incentives to their customers for reviews and testimonials. Reviews on websites such as Capterra and public review boards are supposed to be unbiased. If the company is paying for them you may not be getting the whole picture.
- Who created the software and why? It is always important to find a company run by people who are passionate about the industry they support. Don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson what their background is and what they think about the other products and vendors you are considering. Does this person simply want to sell you software or do they truly care about providing your organization a great solution?
Our final recommendation is that you ask the vendor if they will offer things like the company financials and commit in their contract to meeting Meaningful Use stages 2 and 3. If they can’t or won’t provide either, be concerned. Does this company have adequate funding to keep them in business? In other words, is this a software company with longevity in mind?
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Topics: EMR, Software | No Comments »