Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 80% of qualified hospitals use electronic health records (EHRs)? By contrast, only half of all eligible physicians and doctors’ offices maintain EHR systems. Electronic health records keep patients’ files and medical history organized, detailed, and easily accessible. With such a wealth of benefits, why aren’t more doctors using them?
How Do EHRs Work?
In order to understand why doctors’ offices and private practices aren’t able to use electronic health records, it is important to understand the basics of the process. Keeping accurate and helpful electronic records depends on at least two people (or two different areas of expertise): a medical coder and a medical billing specialist. Medical coders assign ICD-9 codes to patients’ diagnosis and visit outcomes. Coders also use specific codes to signify each task and duty in a medical setting. Staff uses these codes for accurate care and invoicing.
A medical billing specialist reads and interrupts ICD-9 and relevant medical codes to invoice patients. A medical billing specialist may specialize in one particular area, such as physicians billing, MRI billing, or radiology billing. Some companies may combine these positions. Either way, medical billing and coding specialists must understand medical codes and, in some cases, be able to encode data themselves. Coding EHRs requires special certifications. The American Academy of Professional Coders, for example, offers prospective coders certification in exchange for a $260 to $300 examination fee.
Why Are More Hospitals Using EHRs?
The explanation is simple. Although electronic health records ultimately make things easier for everyone (by providing comprehensive medical records and history, and making records more easily accessible across different doctors, specialists, and hospitals), creating them takes a lot of work.
Doctors and small, private practices can, however, enjoy all of the benefits of medical billing specialists, without putting in an inordinate amount of time and effort. Medical billing services tackle all aspects of coding and billing, freeing doctors and staff up to focus on their patients’ healthcare. Small practices do not have to waste time creating and sending out invoices or attempting to collect past due balances.
Doctors’ offices often cannot enjoy the efficiency and accuracy of electronic health records due to time and resource constraints. Medical billing services tackle all aspects of invoicing, allowing doctors to focus on what truly matters: patients’ well-being and care. See this link for more references.
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