|Patient Medical Records|
Patient Medical Records
Now more than ever, the healthcare industry has moved towards adopting electronic patient medical records in place of older, paper records. The reasons are many, and yet surprisingly simple. Over the past 10 years, the healthcare industry has wrestled with the idea of electronic patient medical records, with several barriers slowly being circumvented in order to allow universal adoption.
Each barrier has enabled electronic patient record software vendors to better hone their products, which makes now prime time for adopting an EMR software system in your practice.
Barrier One: Technology
For the longest time, PC technology was a huge barrier to patient medical record software adoption. Simply put, PCs were expensive, slow, and incapable of offering much to any but the most leading edge of doctors and clinics. Operating on user unfriendly operating systems such as UNIX, legacy EMR software systems presented patient records in difficult to decipher 2 color mode, with very steep training curves.
Over the past 5 years, however, PCs are all but ubiquitous, used at home and in offices by over 75% of people in the workplace. It was really only a matter of time before doctors' offices and medical clinics caught up. Today's terminals can be purchased for under $1000 per terminal, and with secure WIFI networking a key benefit, wiring costs are distinctively low.
What's more, any patient medical record software worth its salt runs on Windows, which boasts nearly universal market share, and is extremely easy to use. Today's PC is more than equipped to handle any EMR solution, such as IMS, and installing a patient record system has become more cost effective than ever.
Barrier Two: Certification
For the longest time, there were a number of developers and providers in the patient medical record software business, but very few real standards. The result was a frequently imbalanced level of expertise and effectiveness, both in the medical software and its provider. What's more, many in the practice management software industry were merely developers looking for a "quick buck", and used slick sales presentations to make their way into medical practices, and then effectively bill doctors until they could take no more of it!
Certification was the only way to shut out these unscrupulous providers, and build credibility for the very idea of electronic patient records software.
In 2004, three healthcare information management and technology associations helped to found CCHIT, or the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology, to help certify first ambulatory EHR products, and then office based electronic patient medical records software.
The CCHIT is staffed mainly by doctors, and all new products must meet or exceed solid industry benchmarks for electronic medical records effectiveness. With IMS' EMR software module, Medical Software Associates does in fact exceed CCHIT criteria, a point recognized and appreciated by our growing client base.
Barrier Three: Cost
For many years, a key objection for most doctors when considering a practice management or patient medical records software product was cost. First, there was the equipment issue (see above), and secondly, there was a point that many doctors feared versus the status quo. That point? Return on investment.
While many doctors bristled at the idea that electronic medical records software actually did pay for itself (as Medical Software Associates has proven to its clients again and again), other practices took the lead by adopting the systems and saving not only on labor costs, but overall billing costs and patient retention. Meanwhile, low-bid providers entered the industry playing to this frugality, while offering well below standard products. The industry continued to grow, albeit slowly.
The 2009 2010 Federal Stimulus Plan
And suddenly, broad mainstream acceptance of electronic patient medical records software occurred with one stroke of a pen. By including huge Medicare and Medicaid redemptions in the stimulus package for practices which "meaningfully adopt" electronic patient medical records, a renaissance for the product has been defined, punctuated by the fact that many doctors, with stimulus funds, effectively have their EMR systems installed and purchased with 100% government money.
Cost is no longer a barrier, and "low bid" providers have been squeezed as a result. The future, at least in terms of electronic medical patient records, is now.
Electronic Medical Record
Electronic Medical Records