In the early development of EMR systems, a surprisingly small amount of vendors seem to have anticipated just how important the ability to offer integration between EMR and Practice Management (PM) software would become in only a few short years. These days, using a fully integrated EMR and PM solution is not viewed as a mere convenience—it has quickly become the standard in Dermatology.
Having an EMR software that integrates with corresponding PM and billing solutions provides Dermatology practices with the power to seamlessly streamline their day-to-day processes, from documentation to billing to insurance claims submissions to scheduling patient appointments. In this blog article, we will take a look at some of the most beneficial aspects of an integrated EMR/PM solution in a Dermatology practice.
Optimize Office Efficiency & Eliminate Redundant Data Entry
This one is a bit of a no-brainer, but it is definitely worthy of mention. When a Dermatology practice’s EMR software works separately from their PM solutions, the amount of time required for data entry is doubled (sometimes even tripled, depending on the solution). Think about it. In an unintegrated EMR, a patient’s information must first be entered into the scheduling and billing modules (possibly separately). Then,that same information will have to be entered yet a second time in order to create an EMR for the patient.
A fully integrated EMR and PM solution, on the other hand, condenses the abovementioned time consuming data entry multipliers down to a single task. When the patient’s information is entered into any module (such as the scheduler, etc.), this data is automatically spread throughout the system and fills in pertinent/relevant details into all other modules in the system. Long story short, this means no more redundant data entry tasks for you or your staff, allowing everyone to be more productive and freeing them up to focus their time and energy on what is most important—providing quality patient care.
Unintegrated EMR and PM software has consistently proven to be both redundant and inefficient, but these weaknesses have a detrimental effect on more than just data entry time. They also have a negative impact on practice costs, especially when it comes to the increased likelihood of errors in billing or insurance claims that come with redundant data entry. After all, the more times that a human must input the same data is just more chances for typos and other errors that could result in underpayments or rejected insurance claims.
A 2013 report published by the West Health Institute estimated that the potential cost savings across the entire healthcare industry from increased usage of fully integrated EMR and PM solutions, by improving efficiency and device interoperability, at $30 billion a year. Time is money, after all, and a provider who is spending more time doing tedious data entry has less time to physically see patients each day.
Then, of course, there are the more obvious savings that come with moving away from paper records. Maintaining the old “paper file” system of keeping patient records means regularly dishing out money to restock space-consuming materials such as printers, paper, and ink/toner. One PC Magazine article estimates the total 3-year cost (for a non-healthcare office) of running just one HP all-in-one printer at $803.19. Keep in mind, this number does not even factor in potential costs related to purchasing paper or fixing mechanical failures (or the downtime/delays such inevitable problems cause).
The best way to prevent the abovementioned revenue-eating problems from cutting into your Dermatology practice’s profit margin is to implement a fully integrated EMR/PM solution.
A fully integrated EMR/PM solution allows any input of data to be immediately transferred and shared across all tools and modules. This means data that is input into a patient’s EMR will be automatically transmitted into the billing module, ensuring that the bill matches up appropriately and removing the potential for human error (as can happen when data must be manually entered a second time). It also ensures that the proper ICD-9/10 codes are transferred from the EMR to the bill or insurance claim.
Allow Decisions to be Guided by Analytics
In this era of reduced reimbursements, pay for performance and increased patient volumes, Dermatology specialists need a solution to guide them in understanding and optimizing practice performance. This is why it’s important to have an integrated EMR and PM solution that offers an analytics module that provides better visibility across all areas of your Dermatology practice, improving both business and clinical performance at the click of a button. An integrated analytics program empowers both the provider and practice administrator to visualize the overall health of the practice and drive strategic decisions to maximize patient retention and profitability with a number of benefits:
- Visual interpretations of useful, accessible and pertinent data to help users make better decisions for a practice’s financial benefit
- Faster access to data, displayed in useful visual interpretations
- Identify and track trends related to inventory, sales, scheduling, etc.
- Daily reports based on integrated, accurate, and up-to-date data allows providers to make informed decisions based on workflow, financial analysis, and inventory/resource utilization
Having a fully integrated EMR and PM solution should not be considered a “want,” but a “need” in today’s fast moving Dermatology market. An integrated system offers both dermatologists and their staff with the tools they need to bring together the various complicated aspects of running a private practice into a single, comprehensive solution.