|Electronic Health Records|
Electronic Medical Record
Each year, the volume of space required to house and store paper medical records across the United States balloons in size. The creation of the "electronic medical record", therefore, has been a real boon to medical practices and clinics constrained by office space, but not by overall billing growth.
According to Wikipedia, despite the fact that electronic medical record systems have been around for more than 30 years, as of 2006, only 10% of hospitals actually had an integrated system in place. That number, frankly, may be even smaller for smaller doctor's offices and clinics. The electronic medical record problem, up until recently, has simply been the lack of adoption. No longer.
Innovation and Stimulus
The electronic medical record (also known in some cases as an Electronic Health Record, or EHR or EMR) has undergone a wide variety of important innovations over the past ten to fifteen years, most of them on a cost reduction basis for the practitioner.
Earlier electronic medical record systems required extremely expensive computer hardware, as an example. The systems also usually ran on UNIX, a powerful, but somewhat limited operating system which basically meant that training for these systems was costly. What's more, during the 1990s computer technology was experiencing a boom which meant that days after a system was installed, there was frequently a far better one. The lack of usability of these made adoption a very scary idea for most doctors, which undoubtedly kept only the most cutting edge out of the EMR software adoption process.
Cue the mid 2000s, however, and PCs are virtually everywhere. And with this ubiquity came a real cutting of costs. Now, extremely fast computers are available for less than $500 per terminal in some cases, making adoption very easy. What's more, electronic medical record systems are simply better thanks to the widespread use of the Windows graphical user interface. This interface makes learning electronic medical record systems such as the module offered in the SuiteMed IMS extremely easy.
Training costs are dramatically cut, along with the much smaller hardware pill which must be swallowed. Finally, the networking of computers makes any updates and fixes a breeze to install, with no need for an additional on-staff IT person. As if it could get any easier!
And then, suddenly, it did. With the creation of the 2009 Federal Stimulus package, huge incentives are available for doctors that "meaningfully adopt" an electronic medical record system in their office. Redemption incentives of up to $44,000 for Medicare and $63,000 for Medicaid make most EMR software packages, and frequently, practice management software systems, a practically free deal.
An important note, also, is that doctor's offices that do not install an EMR system in their offices may actually risk reduced Medicare redemptions, a proviso also present in the bill. All of this adds up to one important point: there has truly never been a better time to adopt an electronic medical record system in your medical office.
Electronic Medical Record
Electronic Medical Records