Health Information Technology is the design and use of information technology for the medical field. Useful Healthcare IT tools include electronic prescribing, which wirelessly transmits prescriptions to a participating pharmacies, and electronic medical records, which store the patient’s entire medical history in one place.
How does Healthcare IT help my practice?
Healthcare IT helps streamline office workflow and improve patient safety. e-Prescribing is a fast, easy way to eliminate prescription errors and store a patient’s medication history. Electronic medical records (EMR), while more comprehensive than e-prescribing, digitally compile a patient’s entire medical history in one place- eliminating the need for cumbersome paper charts. Imagine how easy it would be to greet a patient and, instead of flipping through pages and pages of lab results and office visits, pull up the patient’s entire record on an iPad.
Implementing e-Prescribing or an EMR also reduces labor while reducing overhead costs. Nurses no longer have to answer as many pharmacy callbacks or spend valuable time requisitioning charts; without an endless amount of paper files, a file clerk is not needed. Doctors passionate about environmental causes champion EMRs for their lack of paper. EMRs also enhance revenue by simplifying the billing process; staff have instant access to billing records and can challenge or substantiate claims much faster than before.
Under the Medicare Meaningful Use incentive program, the federal government gives $44,000 over five years to physicians who adopt an EMR. While the incentive money is terrific, we strongly recommend that practices get an EMR for the reasons stated above- when they are ready. EMRs are not particularly complicated, but any new technology takes time to learn for both providers and staff. If your practice is seeking to improve office efficiency and patient safety, check out the CMS guidelines here or give us a call!