Electronic Health Records VS Paper Records

If you have not started looking into switching from paper records to Electronic Health Records now might be the right time to. If you need funding to help with your switch give EHR Funding a call today at 866-203-3260 today and speak with one of our funding specialists.

See how switching could save your practice money and time

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Why Do I Need An EHR Program For My Office?

The EHR incentive program was developed in large part with a focus on the solo health care practitioners. There is much consensus that moving to an EHR system can be instrumental in improving patient health care quality on the grand scale. However, it was well acknowledged by legislators, consumer groups and others that without a serious incentive program, many providers just wouldn’t find it worth their time to invest in an EHR and integrate the system into their practice. The EHR incentive program is an attempt to give providers an additional incentive to make the transition.

It is accurate that the meaningful use criteria and program requirements are not simple. Just purchasing an EHR will not mean that a provider will obtain an incentive bonus. Providers will have to demonstrate that they are using their EHR system to benefit the patient and meet the many requirements delineated by the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, the program requirements will become more intensive in the coming years. However, much of the responsibility for keeping up with these changes will fall to the EHR vendors.

Many health care providers have found that electronic health records (EHRs) help improve medical practice management by increasing their practices efficiency and cost savings.

A national survey of doctors who are ready for meaningful use offers important evidence:

  • 79% of providers report that with an EHR, their practice functions more efficiently
  • 82% report that sending prescriptions electronically (e-prescribing) saves time

These savings are primarily attributed to automating several time-consuming paper-driven and labor-intensive tasks that normally you the physician or your office staff have to take care of.

  • Reduced transcription costs
  • Reduced chart pull, storage, and re-filing costs
  • Improved and more accurate reimbursement coding with improved documentation for highly compensated codes
  • Reduced medical errors through better access to patient data and error prevention alerts
  • Improved patient health/quality of care through better disease management and patient education

EHRs can reduce the amount of time you the provider spends doing paperwork. EHR-enabled medical practices report seeing improved medical practice management through integrated scheduling systems that link appointments directly to progress notes, automate coding, and managed claims

Administrative tasks, such as filling out forms and processing billing requests, represent a significant percentage of health care costs. EHRs can increase practice efficiencies by streamlining these tasks, significantly decreasing costs.

In addition, EHRs can deliver more information in additional directions. EHRs can be programmed for enhanced communication with other clinicians, labs, and health plans through:

  • Easy access to patient information from anywhere
  • Tracking electronic messages to staff, other clinicians, hospitals, labs, etc.
  • Automated formula checks by health plans
  • Order and receipt of lab tests and diagnostic images
  • Links to public health systems such as registries and communicable disease database

By having electronic health records set up in your practice, you can save time and money by

  • The reduction of time and resources needed for manual charge entry resulting in more accurate billing and reduction in lost charges
  • Enhanced ability to meet important regulation requirements such as Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) through alerts that notify physicians to complete key regulatory data elements
  • Reduction in charge lag days and vendor/insurance denials associated with late filing
  • Charge review edits alerting physicians if a test can be performed only at a certain frequency
  • Alerts that prompt providers to obtain Advance Beneficiary Notice, minimizing claim denials and lost charges related to Medicare procedures performed without Advance Beneficiary Notice

It’s time for you and your practice to take advantage of the government incentives that are out there and switch over to EHRs that not only benefit you as a provider, but your patients as well giving them better control over their health care. Give EHR Funding a call today and a government funding specialist will be able to get your practice on the right track to compliance and incentive funding to pay for these upgrades, as well. Call 866-203-3260 today.

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How switching to an EHR Helps You’re Nursing Staff

As of January 1, 2014 a federal mandate required that all public and private healthcare providers transition to digital record keeping. The move stemmed mostly from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which offered incentives to healthcare providers that could demonstrate “meaningful use” of electronic heath records (EHR). According to HealthIT.gov, meaningful use includes improving quality, safety efficiency, and reducing health disparities. It also includes engaging patients and families, improving care coordination, and maintaining privacy and security of patient health information.

While we know what EHRs mean for healthcare facilities in terms of implementation, what does this change mean for nurses? Electronic health records directly affect nurses’ jobs on a daily basis and adapting to the new technology may be a matter of sink or swim in terms of their careers. A study in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing by Carol Huston MSN, DPA, FAAN found that emerging technologies will greatly impact the future of nursing, including the skills nurses will need to remain successful in the industry. Huston states, “The capacity to manage human knowledge, and to convert it into useful products and services, is fast becoming the ‘critical’ leader skill of the age.” She goes on to write, “Computers will also continue to play a significant role in knowledge acquisition and distribution. In a profession where knowledge doubles every six years, nurses can no longer be the keeper of knowledge. Instead, they must become the master of collecting and sharing that knowledge with others.”

While the main goal of EHRs is to deliver better coordinated care by allowing doctors and nurses to access a patient’s medical history whether they show up in the ER or switch doctors’ offices without transferring their medical records. It also ensures patient data is backed up securely so that in the event of natural disasters or if you are in an accident, doctors can properly treat you. Overall, EHRs bring about a number of positive changes to the healthcare industry, but how does this translate to the day-to-day tasks of a nurse?

Nurses that are currently in school working towards their degree will most likely receive hands on training and experience with EHRs, but seasoned nurses who are already in the field, will need to adapt on the job. Doctor Aaron E. Glatt of Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, Long Island knows firsthand that nurses will need to adapt to the changing landscape of healthcare. “Nurses will be taught the skills they need when the hospital implements the [Electronic Health Records (EHR)], but it’s crucially important for nurses to embrace the technology rather than saying ‘no this is not for me’.” And adapting could mean a matter of whether or not nurses will continue to succeed in the healthcare industry. “If nurses aren’t actively interested in adapting to the new technologies, they’re going to find themselves not marketable,” states Glatt.

With the transition to EHRs, what will healthcare companies do in order to help nurses achieve an understanding of electronic health records and create systems that make their jobs easier, rather than more difficult? Nurses already have hectic fast paced jobs, so it stands to question whether or not EHRs will slow nurses down, forcing them to input data rather than simply writing it out by hand. Dr. Glatt states that to avoid this, hospitals should include nurses and make sure they are a critical part of the development and implementation of EHRs, and that by doing so, they will be able to create systems that help make nurses’ lives easier, rather than harder. “Nurses need to be involved in the implementation of technology,” says Dr. Glatt, “the best nurses we have and the nurses who stepped up to the plate were active in forming the new templates and forming the new way we will be entering and documenting patient information.”

And the adaption of electronic health records will bring new vital skills to the role of nursing as well as new jobs. “New jobs will emerge, the more skills you have, the more attractive a person becomes for any openings or promotions,” says Dr. Glatt. He also feels that the more willing nurses are to adapt to new technology, and the more they embrace it, the more valuable they will become in the healthcare industry. The more valuable nurses become, the more opportunities will open up to them, as long as they have the skills and expertise to grow within the industry.

Nurses shouldn’t feel as though the need to adapt to technology is negative, either. It can help make their lives easier if they embrace the cutting edge technology. While Dr. Glatt admits that sometimes it can be “cumbersome” to input data, by raising safety and quality standards, it will help improve nurses day-to-day. “Barcodes make it harder to make mistakes or input errors that might have been done in the past if. If you have a good EMR and a full robust technology, it will sometimes be more difficult to learn and difficult to use, but overall it’s better to have it entered into the computer where it’s clean and it’s neat and can easily be recovered. That extra time and effort will pay off in the long run.”

If your office is interested in getting help to pay for acquiring Electronic Health Records then please give us a call today at 866-203-3260 today and speak with one or our representatives.

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Engage Your Patients More With Electronic Health Records

Federal incentives such as meaningful use are increasing patients’ access to their Electronic Health Records and encouraging greater engagement in their own care. That’s a good thing since Electronic Health Records can have errors in them.  Having a “second pair of eyes” on the Electronic Health Records can help improve the quality of the information that providers use to make clinical decisions. Patients, after all, know the most about their health and want to make sure their doctors have the most accurate information about them.

Results from a Geisinger Health System study, demonstrate that patients can be effectively engaged online to improve the quality of the information in their Electronic Health Records — helping to spot errors such as outdated information and omissions such as medications prescribed by another provider. The pilot study invited patients to provide online feedback, via a patient portal, on the accuracy of their medication list in advance of a visit to their provider.

The results:

  • Patients are eager to provide feedback on their medication list – 30 percent of patient feedback forms were completed and in 89 percent of cases, patients requested changes to their medication record.
  • Patient feedback is accurate and useful – on average, patients had 10.7 medications listed, with 2.4 requested changes. In 68 percent of cases, the pharmacist made changes to the medication list in the electronic health record based on the patient’s feedback.

As health information exchange grows, there is the potential for erroneous information to be perpetuated. There is also greater opportunity for patients to help clean up that data. And they want to help. A 2010 survey by the California Healthcare Foundation found that “making sure information is correct” is the most useful feature of a personal health record.

Nevertheless, most institutions do not proactively solicit feedback from patients about their Electronic Health Records. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides individuals with the right to request an amendment to information in their record but the mechanism for providing feedback is not yet institutionalized in healthcare the way it is in other industries. The report points out that healthcare could learn a lot from other industries like financial institutions and e-commerce about how to develop effective processes for gathering and responding to user feedback.

There is a growing evidence base that supports giving patient’s greater access to their information as a first step towards engaging them as equal partners in their care. Patients who were given access to their doctors’ notes reported they do better in taking their meds. Findings from the Geisinger pilot further demonstrate the value that patients can provide when they are invited to participate more fully in their care.

If your office is interested in getting help to pay for acquiring Electronic Health Records then please give us a call today at 866-203-3260 today and speak with one or our representatives.

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Quick Tips for Successful EHR Adoption

Meaningful Use incentives and other industry changes are spurring a rapid wave of EHR adoption. The right EHR can help get your practice more money, more time, and more control – enabling you to focus on patient care.

Who’s Afraid of Electronic Health Records?

Uneasy about switching to electronic health records (EHRs)? You are not alone.

Many physician practices are troubled by the huge upfront costs many EHRs require – hardware, software, interfaces, and IT support – without a clear return on investment (ROI).

Practices also worry about disruption during EHR implementation. They could face a forced reduction in patient load during the transition to an EHR. For some, this could lead to a permanent reduction in revenue. On top of that, providers fear that EHR implementation will take too much time away from seeing patients, slow them down, and always be difficult to use.

An article in the Boston Globe under the headline “Doctors not in stampede to go digital” portrayed the angst among physicians about giving up their trusted and outdated paper charts. Despite billions in federal money to incent doctors to go digital, many providers remain reluctant.

“EHRs are quite complex and controversial, and a lot more expensive than they would seem on the surface,” a Massachusetts-based internist told the paper. To him, they seem like enough trouble that he’s even willing to forfeit the HITECH Act subsidy the government is offering.

This article confirms the fact that despite widespread use of information technology in other sectors, physicians don’t see the long-term value of electronic conversion.

But the right EHR – especially as part of an integrated solution with practice management and patient communications services–can dramatically boost the efficiency and profitability of medical groups, while improving patient care. And when done right, EHR implementation can be a smooth and practice- strengthening process.

Time to Switch to an EHR?

For years, experts have praised EHRs for their potential to improve patient care, reduce medical error and contain costs in the American health care system. The goal is for all physicians to begin using EHRs over the next decade and $19.2 billion has been committed through the HITECH Act to make this a reality.

The Right EHR Can Transform Your Practice

More than just making a practice eligible for HITECH Act reimbursement, the right EHR – implemented successfully and optimized for your practice – can have major advantages for patient care, profitability, and practice personnel. In the NEJM study, an overwhelming majority of physicians said that using electronic records improved the quality of clinical decisions, helped to avoid medication errors, and improved the delivery of preventative care.

Ultimately, the right EHR can help your practice operate seamlessly among all of your affiliated hospitals, clinics, labs, and pharmacies. It helps your providers have a current, accurate, and complete clinical picture of each patient, so they can make the most appropriate clinical decisions. And the right EHR helps the practice manage the business side of things, enabling it to run more effectively and profitably.

Specifically, the right EHR can support:

  • Stronger practice profitability. With more accurate clinical documentation, a practice can bill at appropriate service levels. It can gain workflow efficiencies that contain or reduce the costs of delivering care.
  • Better patient care. Improved access to patient information and clinical data could mean reduced medical errors, better patient safety, and stronger support for clinical decision making.
  • Process integrity. An EHR can help get things done the right way, at the right time, and the same way each time – all based on best practice workflows.
  • Provider and staff satisfaction. A successfully implemented EHR can strengthen the practice team, provide more time for direct patient care, and reduce administrative burdens.
  • Practice growth. Access to clinical and financial data gives the practice greater control over and visibility into practice operations, which provide direction for growth.

How to Achieve Success with an EHR

In a nutshell: Practices that achieve success with an EHR plan correctly and choose the right vendor.The right planning includes four steps: assessment and goal-setting, creating a budget and project team, managing change, and redesigning practice workflow. But planning alone is not enough for a successful EHR implementation. You need to find the right EHR vendor – one that provides excellent service over the long term, and offers a system with a proven return on investment (ROI).

 Better Way to EHR Adoption

EHR adoption does require hard work and careful planning. But with the insights here, your practice is well-equipped to find and implement the right EHR – for stronger revenue, better patient care, and minimal disruption. In the long term, if you’ve done the right planning and selected the right vendor, your practice will enjoy substantial cost efficiencies so you can focus on what matters most – patient care.

If you are looking to upgrade from your old paper records to electronic health records and you want to know more about the government subsidies that are offered by the HiTech act give EHR Funding a call today at 866-203-3260.

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FAQ about Electronic Health Records.

Q: What is the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program?
A: The American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009 has permitted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to grant incentive payments for healthcare providers who utilize certified EHR technology and demonstrate meaningful use of that technology.

Q: What is the goal behind the EHR Program?
A: There’s more behind this program than urging you the providers to go paperless. The intent behind the EHR incentive program is to standardize healthcare records to a state of consistency that their format can be shared among all healthcare providers and improve overall patient care. With this incentive program, states are required to create health information exchanges, which permit patient information to be exchanged electronically between healthcare providers. With a health information exchange in place, healthcare providers can access patient medical history and current medications. This reduces the redundancy of services and saves money for both you and the patient.

Q: Why is our government paying healthcare providers to utilize Electronic Health Records technology?
A: The intent of the program is to offset the costs of implementation of certified EHR technology and incentivize providers to use EHRs to achieve benchmarks that can lead to improved patient care, including decreases in provider error and a decrease in mortality.

Q: Does my practice management software qualify as an Electronic Health Record?
A: Unfortunately, practice management software doesn’t qualify as an electronic health record, unless it is ONC-ATCB certified. CMS and ONC-ATCB have established standards and criteria for a form of structured data that EHRs must use in order to be useful. It is necessary to use certified software to create an ease of exchange of information. Structured data allows information to be more easily retrieved and transferred between providers, and it permits the provider to use the EHR in ways that can aid and improve the quality of patient care.

Q: How much money can I get from the government Electronic Health Records Incentive Program?
A: If you participate in all six years of the incentive program and meet all of the yearly requirements, you can earn up to $63,750. Medicaid offers $21,250 for the first year of participation to offset the initial cost of an EHR system implementation. For your second through sixth year of participation, Medicaid offers providers $8,500 for each year that they meet the criteria of meaningful use. The last year to sign up for the program and receive the full amount of the incentive is 2016.

Q: Am I required to participate in all six years of the program? Do I have to pay back the money if I drop out of the program?
A: If you are a dental provider, you are permitted to voluntarily pull out of the program without penalties. In order to prevent being penalized, a provider must show proof that you made an effort in good faith to implement the EHR program into your practice before dropping out of the program, with documentation of that effort.

Q: Do I have to tell the government how I spent my incentive money?
A:  No. There is no requirement for eligible professionals as to how you must spend your incentive money if you qualified for the Medicaid EHR Incentive program, so long as you have demonstrated that you are using a certified EHR meaningfully.

Q: What does Meaningful Use mean? What are the requirements of meaningful use?
A: Meaningful use means providing proof to CMS that you are using your EHRs in ways that positively affect patient care. Providers must meet the objectives established by CMS for this program. These Meaningful Use requirements are set forth in three stages that must be met over six years of participation in the program. Each stage is intended to achieve certain outcomes, which include data sharing, advanced clinical processes, and improved patient outcomes.

Interested in learning more? Call EHR Funding today and see what we can do to get your practice on the fast track to EHR implementation. (866) 203-3260

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Electronic Health Records Helps School Nurses Coordinate Care for Children

Imagine this: A third grade boy diagnosed with Sickle-cell disease wakes up during the night experiencing severe pain in his chest.  His father alerts the pediatrician that he and his son are on their way to the emergency room of a hospital near their home. The pediatrician phones the emergency room to say her patient will arrive soon. The boy receives treatment in the ER and is admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of acute chest syndrome. Within three days, this student returns to school.

End of story? More like the beginning.

Fortunately, this student’s school nurse knew what recently transpired in this critical health episode because the parent alerted her electronically. With parent permission, the school nurse electronically accesses the student’s health record where she can view the care instructions after the student is discharged. This access enables the school nurse to reinforce those care instructions and to plan for the student’s health and safety needs while in school.

Does this sound like a glimpse into the future?  In some places, the future has arrived! Care providers and school nurses collaborate with families and students to allow for true integration of care for children and adolescents.

School nurses provide care coordination for students by linking primary health-care providers, specialists, support services, and families. School nurses practice with education and health professionals to meet student health needs.  When students transition from hospital to home and school and from dependent to independent management of their chronic disease, school nurses lead the way in coordination so that gaps in care are identified and filled.

Electronic health records (EHRs) are essential for the school nurse to provide efficient and effective care in the school and monitor the health of the entire student population. EHRs allow school nurses to be more efficient and identify data trends quicker. It is the school nurse’s role to collaborate with school administrators to ensure that EHR use meets the highest quality standards for the safety and protection of student, family and staff information. EHRs in the school setting provide a means of integrating health and educational data in a way that addresses the needs of children at risk for poor health or academic outcomes.

If your office is interested in getting help to pay for acquiring Electronic Health Records then please give us a call today at 866-203-3260 today and speak with one or our representatives.

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What Are the Goals of Health IT and EHRs?

The overall goal of health IT is to improve safety and the quality of patient outcomes. The promise of fully implemented EHRs is having a single record including all of a patient’s health information: a record that is up to date, complete, and accurate. By implementing electronic health records in your office it will put you, the health care provider, in a position to work better to make the most informed decisions about your patient’s care.

Providers who utilize EHRs report noticeable improvements in their ability to make decisions with more unified information. EHR use can give health care providers:

  • Complete patient information – This enables providers to make the best decisions, by providing the information they need to evaluate a patient’s condition in the context of the patient’s health and treatment history.
  • Emergency Care – In a crisis, EHRs can provide access to a patient’s medical history, allergies, and medication. This enables health care providers to make decisions sooner, instead of waiting for test results.
  • Improved Care Coordination –EHR use permits health care providers to provide coordinated health care for patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions.
  • Improved Information Sharing – EHR use allows patients and their families to participate in decisions about their health care.

EHRs are also useful for flagging potentially dangerous drug interactions and allergies, and lets physicians explore alternatives before a serious problem occurs. You the physician can verify medications and dosages, reducing the need for risky tests and procedures. This could save you the physician and the patient a lot of time and money.

Interested in learning more? Call EHR Funding today and see what we can do to get your practice on the fast track to EHR implementation. (866) 203-3260

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Improving Patient Care With Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

Studies have shown the benefits received by nurses when electronic health records are implemented by hospitals. Such systems generally improve nursing documentation, reduce the number of medication errors, and improve the sense of satisfaction nurses have in the work environments. A recent study found that nurses who work in an environment with a fully implemented EHR are less likely to report poor patient safety compared to their peers working in environments without EHRs.

© Copyright 2011 CorbisCorporation

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania surveyed 16,362 nurses working in 316 hospitals in four states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California and Florida. The researches asked nurses about their patient outcomes and workload, as well as the patient safety of their hospital culture utilizing items from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. Only 7 percent of the 316 hospitals had a basic HER system functioning on all patient care units.

The nurses at hospitals with EHRs were notably less likely to report negative outcomes compared to nurses working in hospitals without implemented EHRs. Fewer nurses reported medication errors, poor confidence in a patient being prepared for discharge, and poor patient quality at fully implemented hospitals. There was also a 14 percent decrease in the odds of reporting things that “fell between the cracks” during patient transfer. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS18534) supported the study in part.

Want to improve your patient safety? Are you ready to reap the benefits of EHR use? Contact EHR Funding today at 866-203-3260. We would be glad to assist you and answer any questions you have about how your practice can qualify for government assistance.

(Source: Electronic health records improve nursing care, coordination, and patient safety: Research Activities, May 2012, No. 381. May 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. )

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What Savings Can my Practice Expect by Moving to EHRs

Many health care providers have found that electronic health records (EHRs) help improve medical practice management by increasing their practices efficiency and cost savings.

A national survey of doctors who are ready for meaningful use offers important evidence:

  • 79% of providers report that with an EHR, their practice functions more efficiently
  • 82% report that sending prescriptions electronically (e-prescribing) saves time
  • 68% of providers see their EHR as an asset with recruiting physicians
  • 75% receive lab results faster
  • 70% report enhances in data confidentiality

These savings are primarily attributed to automating several time-consuming paper-driven and labor-intensive tasks that normally you the physician or your office staff have to take care of.

  • Reduced transcription costs
  • Reduced chart pull, storage, and re-filing costs
  • Improved and more accurate reimbursement coding with improved documentation for highly compensated codes
  • Reduced medical errors through better access to patient data and error prevention alerts
  • Improved patient health/quality of care through better disease management and patient education
  • Paper prescriptions can get lost or misread. With electronic prescribing (e-prescribing), doctors communicate directly with the pharmacy. An e-prescribing system can save lives (by reducing medication errors and checking for drug interactions), lower costs, and improve care. It is more convenient, cheaper for doctors and pharmacies, and safer for patients. In short, e-prescribing is an important, high-visibility component of progress in health information exchange.
  • Because EHRs contain all of a patient’s health information in one place, it is less likely that you the provider will have to spend time ordering—and reviewing the results of—unnecessary or duplicate tests and medical procedures. Less utilization means fewer costs.

Electronic Health Records Create More Efficient Practices and Reduce Paperwork

EHRs can reduce the amount of time you the provider spends doing paperwork. EHR-enabled medical practices report seeing improved medical practice management through integrated scheduling systems that link appointments directly to progress notes, automate coding, and managed claims

Administrative tasks, such as filling out forms and processing billing requests, represent a significant percentage of health care costs. EHRs can increase practice efficiencies by streamlining these tasks, significantly decreasing costs.

In addition, EHRs can deliver more information in additional directions. EHRs can be programmed for enhanced communication with other clinicians, labs, and health plans through:

    • Easy access to patient information from anywhere
    • Tracking electronic messages to staff, other clinicians, hospitals, labs, etc.
    • Automated formula checks by health plans
    • Order and receipt of lab tests and diagnostic images
    • Links to public health systems such as registries and communicable disease database

How Will Having EHRs Have an Effect on My Revenue?

By having electronic health records set up in your practice, you can save time and money by

  • The reduction of time and resources needed for manual charge entry resulting in more accurate billing and reduction in lost charges
  • Enhanced ability to meet important regulation requirements such as Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) through alerts that notify physicians to complete key regulatory data elements
  • Reduction in charge lag days and vendor/insurance denials associated with late filing
  • Charge review edits alerting physicians if a test can be performed only at a certain frequency
  • Alerts that prompt providers to obtain Advance Beneficiary Notice, minimizing claim denials and lost charges related to Medicare procedures performed without Advance Beneficiary Notice

It’s time for you and your practice to take advantage of the government incentives that are out there and switch over to EHRs that not only benefit you as a provider, but your patients as well giving them better control over their health care. Give EHR Funding a call today and a government funding specialist will be able to get your practice on the right track to compliance and incentive funding to pay for these upgrades, as well. Call 866-203-3260 today.