Numerous Small and solo practices have been impacted in a positive manner by the implementation of Health IT (HIT) and this trend is not just limited to Electronic Medical Records (EMRs). Physicians are utilizing smartphones and tablets for accessing and using EMRs. Moreover, the incentives paid by the Federal Government have added to the actual revenue of many physicians across the nation. Implementation and use of HIT has proven to be beneficial for patients and for physicians since it reduces errors, saves paperwork, provides quick and instant access to information, and saves time and effort in delivering quality healthcare services. Small practices have been paid a major chunk of the incentives in August 2011 whereas hospitals have only received a tiny portion.
Small and solo practices have more to gain from the direct benefits of implementation of HIT and from the incentives, compared to hospitals. However, the implementation, maintenance, and Meaningful Use of IT remain a challenge for small practices. The hurdle faced by such smaller practices comes from the requirement for better departmental processes and accurate and efficient support functions such as medical billing and coding, revenue cycle management, and denial management. The interaction with insurance companies is another aspect emerging from these reforms since millions are being given insurance cover necessitating increased interaction with payers.
The impact of IT on physicians’ revenue was felt even in 2007 when there were no incentives for providers to implement use of HIT. A report by the U.S National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health clarifies the relation of revenue with IT implementation. According to the report, more than average Medicaid revenue was associated increased use of IT services. The situation after the announcement of incentives has become even more favorable for small practices that have implemented HIT in a successful manner.
Although many small practices have adopted EMRs, another report by U.S National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health in 2011 sheds light on the fact that less than 2% of solo or two-physician practices have a fully functional system. Practices that have more than 11 physicians have a better rate of adoption with 13% of such practices adopting a fully functional EMR system. The report mentions financial hurdles as the biggest problem faced by solo or small practices in implementing a fully functional EHR/EMR system. However, lack of professional departmental services that can handle the various aspects of EMR implementation is also a factor that has influenced the rate of EMR adoption in the country.
The health reforms have ensured that HIT becomes an integral part of the health care industry and has imposed penalties for defaulters. However, the implementation of HIT can not only streamline various processes in health care delivery but can also increase revenue directly and in the form of incentives. Vendors of HIT services can ensure that small and solo practices benefit from the implementation of HIT in the form of increased revenue and better patient satisfaction. The largest consortium of medical billers and coders in the United States, medicalbillersandcoders.com can ensure that your HIT requirements are met and at the same time offer various value added services such as medical billing and coding, denial management, revenue cycle management, and consultancy.
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