There is more and more pressure on medical practices to implement an electronic health record (EHR) solution. If you think this doesn’t have an impact on your medical billing service, think again. Helping your clients to take this step and make the right choice is a great opportunity for your billing company. Not only does it help position you to be more of a resource and advocate for your practice clients but it also helps improve their medical billing and cash flow.
The fact is that implementing an EHR does affect billing operations. It can improve documentation to help create more accurate claims and allow you to provide more comprehensive backup when payers have questions about claims. In addition, having an EHR will make the transition to ICD-10 easier when it hits in 2014 and it can set your customers up to attest to meaningful use—enabling them to access incentives and avoid Medicare penalties down the line.
The problem for many practices, especially smaller practices, is that selecting and implementing an EHR can be challenging. Anything you can do to help simplify the process and keep their revenue cycle on track will be helpful.
While your billing service may be perfectly positioned to help your clients, you might be concerned about taking on a new line of business. Luckily, you probably already have strengths that you can leverage and there are some simple changes you can make to fill in the gaps.
- Technology: You already provide technology and services to your customers. Utilize your current expertise in communications, hardware, and user support. You may also already have a relationship with a vendor or vendors who offer EHR solutions that are integrated (or closely interfaced) with your existing practice management and billing solutions. Talk to these vendors about the support resources available to help you and your clients.
- Workflow Design: To maximize revenue for your customers, you have designed effective workflow processes to maintain optimal efficiency. Use these planning and organizational skills along with your deep understanding of medical practice operations to help practices implement and adapt to the workflow changes that come with an EHR.
- Training: Many EHR companies provide training for their products. Take advantage of all the training available and assign super users within your company who can support both your staff and your clients. In addition, the HITECH initiatives provided education across the country. You may want to consider hiring an EHR-trained staff person to support your new services (or training someone already on staff).
If you haven’t already looked at adding an EHR to the line of products and services available from your medical billing company, the time is now. There are affordable cloud-based EHR solutions that integrate with billing systems, making it easier than ever for you to provide intuitive, easy-to-use options for your clients. As a result, you can help them improve patient care while also enabling them to increase revenue, access incentives, and avoid Medicare penalties. By expanding your service offerings you become more than a billing service—you become a practice management partner for the long term.
Watch for our next post on how you can help your clients assess their EHR needs and prepare for this new technology.