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The adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) in the medical industry has a number of benefits.

 

In fact, 78% of physicians & practice managers using EHR reported enhanced patient care and 65% said it had alerted them to a potential medication error. Approximately 50% added that EHR use helped them with clinical benefits and patient communication.

 

Not only do EHRs practically eliminate manual, paper-based record keeping, they also come with the advantage of enabling access to a patient’s health profile. Centralized records help keep tabs on patient demographics, physician notes, current medication, past medical history, laboratory details, radiology reports, and more.

 

This, in turn, has a direct impact on the quality of care and medical diagnosis. Furthermore, such clinical decision support tools reduce healthcare delivery costs as they’re able to assist physicians in flagging potential patient issues.

 

So how do EHRs achieve this? Let’s take a closer look.

 

The Most Important Components of an EHR System

The general components of an EHR system comprise several elements that assist in building a birds eye view of a patient’s medical profile. These include:

Patient Management Component

This key component of EHRs includes mostly administrative functions such as new patient registration, admission, facility transfer, and discharge.

For example when a new patient registers with the facility, it is essential that the receptionist (or admin) ask for details such as contact information, home address, insurance details, employment information, emergency contact, and demographics (age, gender, weight, height, etc).

After registration is complete, the system should generate a unique ID which is also referred to as a medical record number. This helps the EHR in recording all future encounters under that number so things like medical observations, tests, procedures, assessments, and diagnosis are collected and stored.

NextGen Healthcare is a top ambulatory EHR that can reach any practice, regardless of the size. The electronic health record solution also focuses on population health management while acting as a connected platform.

Features and Benefits:

NextGen Healthcare offers two plans.

(i)    NextGen Office—benefits smaller practices (in the range of 1-10 providers). It offers an all-inclusive package that includes a cloud-hosted EHR platform, practice management, an RCM/medical billing system, and a patient portal.

(ii)    NextGen Enterprise—benefits larger practices with specialty-specific clinical content. It integrates practice management, RCM/clearing house, advanced analytics and on top of that electronic data exchange.

 

On the financial side, billing support includes code and charge entry, insurance verification, claims processing, and remittance advice. NextGen enhances collection through affording practices specific features. For instance, claims scrubbing to perceive and eradicate medical billing errors—thus resulting in moderately faster and cleaner claims.

Equally, a practice can leverage the top EHR companies’ tools to help in dealing with weakened credit card payments while minimizing missed charges.

The tool provides flexible support to cater to multi-office practice situations through its cloud-based functionality that connects different locations.

Drawbacks

  • Steep learning curve that can be time consuming
  • Large amounts of time upfront to customize the templates to suit a clinic’s needs
  • Speed concerns—granted its cloud-based, the tool’s swiftness is dependent on the physician’s bandwidth.
  • Frequent upgrades that end users have to accommodate the requisite downtime if you do not use a managed service provider.

Support

NextGen Healthcare runs as a SaaS—cloud-connected EHR. The health information technology portal runs on Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS. 

Clinical Component

Laboratory Components

The laboratory component of an EHR helps to bring all patient lab results under a unified umbrella. It has the capability to integrate with the lab department directly, allowing technicians to upload results onto the EHR and provide billing information which can later be processed by the administration. 

This assists physicians in determining the correct diagnosis for their patient and helps finance recover the right costs. 

It’s possible for the laboratory component to exist as a standalone system too. That’s because laboratory tools can be complex and may require their own vendor. However, in that case the existing EHR usually includes a link to the laboratory information system – allowing users to log on to the laboratory system from within the core software suite. 

Radiology Components

Radiology components of an EHR system assist in managing patient workflows and image archival systems. The laboratory component of an EHR helps to bring all patient lab results under a unified umbrella. It has the capability to integrate with the lab department directly, allowing technicians to upload results onto the EHR and provide billing information which can later be processed by the administration. 

This assists physicians in determining the correct diagnosis for their patient and helps finance recover the right costs. 

It’s possible for the laboratory component to exist as a standalone system too. That’s because laboratory tools can be complex and may require their own vendor. However, in that case the existing EHR usually includes a link to the laboratory information system – allowing users to log on to the laboratory system from within the core software suite. 

Billing System

Billing records are an important part of hospital profitability, productivity, and efficiency. That’s why they’re one of the key components of an EHR system as they can track all the charges that a patient occurs while undergoing care.

Insurance companies require precise details of these charges in order to process claims. In the past, manual paper records wouldn’t go into such granular detail leading to the possibility of lower or rejected claims. Thankfully, that’s one of the things that EHRs prevent.

The billing component can do a lot more than just accurately track expense details. Since it’s constantly collecting data from a variety of sources across the healthcare facility, the component can help build out dashboards to monitor key performance indicators and other analytical reports.

The finance department can further leverage this information to track historical revenue, billing by department, costs, and areas for improvement. In previous years this data was much harder to capture due to the reliance on manual and paper-based processes which made it possible for things to slip through the cracks. 

EHRs are worth the investment

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 paved the way for EHR adoption by providing several incentives and benefits, but it’s clear that the software’s advantages make it a worthy choice in the first place.

In the past, paper charts were used to record test results, insurance information, and other patient data. This approach was unwieldy and inefficient, leading to reduced health care outcomes. 

The HITECH Act encourages providers to adopt full-fledged EHR systems and not just a bare-bones package. That’s because they’re proven to help with error reduction, cost containment, and better care provision. 

EHRs entail a high upfront cost as well as time for training key stakeholders and upgrading essential systems, but they’re worth the effort. If you are interested in learning more, contact TrueNorthITG for more information or EHR consulting services