The deadline set by Medicaid and Medicare for healthcare providers to convert to Electronic Health Records (EHRs) is October 2014. This date was set by the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health act (HITECH). Healthcare providers that fail to meet that date will face reduced payments from Medicaid and Medicare. But there is also a carrot along with the stick. Doctor’s offices and hospitals can apply from billions in grants to perform the digital conversions to EHRs.
So why is there such a strong desire to move to EHRs? Medicare and Medicaid believe that moving to digital records will provide significant cost savings in the management of the programs. With costs for healthcare outpacing inflation and an aging population that will swell the rolls of Medicare there need to be innovation solutions to reduce costs. By going all digital it will reduce the amount of people required to make reimbursements and should also reduce errors in coding.
But moving from yesterdays paper records to tomorrows EHRs is not an easy task. It is something that takes significant effort by physicians and their offices. A successful conversion requires careful planning and execution. Offices that plan on doing the conversion in the last month or two are going to be scrambling to finish the work in time. Many practices fear the costs of the conversions and take on the task without outside help. But here are some reasons why that is not always the best choice.
Cost of Records Scanning.
There are still costs of performing the scanning work in-house. The least of which is the cost of the scanner. There is also the cost of paying employees or hiring on temporary help. The worst case scenario is a degradation of patient care while the office staff is focused on records management work. A well run document scanning company has the manpower and the equipment to do the work at scale. This reduces the cost of the overall job.
Expertise in Medical Records.
A records management company has years of experience with converting paper records to EHRs. They can help navigate around the common pitfalls. This can save significant amounts of time and money by eliminating work that might need to be redone. They also have work with the practice following the conversion and know how to make it truly useful.
Speed of Project.
One of the most painful part of the conversion is when it seems to drag on. No one wants to be looking in two places for patient records. When the work is performed in house it is done as time permits. This can turns a few week job into several months.Use a medical records scanning service speeds up the process and reduces the pain to the staff.
HIPAA and HITECH Compliance.