Electronic Medical Record: A New Medical Technology Walk Through

Electronic Medical Record

The electronic medical record, or EMR, has been redesigned by technology to suite the 21st century medical practice. The entire process has been wrapped around your finger. In other words, information, records, superbill, transcription, soap notes, and medical procedure codes are all at your finger tips.

All electronic medical records have been organized and stored in a variety of ways, usually depending on the needs and budget of the practice. Often, multiple databases store patient information, medical collection, medical transcription, and other information vital to effective medical practice management.

Technology has simplified electronic medical records every step of the way by streamlining the databases, even for multiple offices of the same practice, in a secure online data environment. Another reason why technology has made electronic medical record so user friendly, is that it now saves practices money, through simple installation and management.

A Tour of the Medical Process

Technology can be a scary thing sometimes, so it is important to research the positives and negatives of adopting new technologies, especially in the medical profession. Accurate and complete information in an EMR system are a type of “preventative medicine,” which not only protects the patient but also the medical practice.

“Keep to the code” is not only a good line for a blockbuster pirate movie but also for medical practices. There are many codes to keep track of, and they are all necessary to keep around and refer to you. New medical office software includes easy access to icd9 codes, 2004 CPT codes, diagnosis code, and HCFA 1500 forms.

Medical office software also must be managed by a qualified medical billing specialist with a qualified HIPPA consultant available to assist in the processing of the electronic medical record. Medical office software puts practices in touch with qualified individuals to help process the electronic medical record.

In addition to working with codes and qualified consultants, medical billing software, medical claim software, and electronic claim processing combine their technology in order to manage all claims and billing, including Medicare billing. But, medical office software packages also remember to include access and management of every medical transcription job created on a transcription machine.

Electronic Medical Record Accessibility

In short, those who are not authorized have no access and those who are authorized have very simple and convenient access. Electronic medical records are secured and even backed up, allowing access codes and login information only to those who are authorized.

Those who are authorized not only have access at their office but also by medical billing PDA, which allows records and appointments to be managed on a PDA. Download medical palm is a convenient way to work with real-time information and to manage a medical practice, even when away from the office.

Technological Catch-22

The catch with technology will always be “fear not” on one hand, and “be careful” on the other. It is no different with new medical technology for medical practices. This article has provided terms and links to assist medical practices in getting started on learning new technology and making educated decisions on effective and affordable technology to adopt.

Understanding How Hospitals Buy Medical Technology

Modern hospitals depend heavily on medical technology to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases. A typical mid-sized hospital has hundreds of items of medical equipment, from simple stethoscopes and blood pressure monitors to highly sophisticated MRI machines and linear accelerators. Hospitals are complex enterprises with entire departments dedicated to technology planning, assessment, acquisition, maintenance, upgrade and replacement at the end of the product life cycle. They have elaborate systems, programs, policies, procedures and protocols in place for purchasing new medical equipment.

To sell successfully to healthcare providers, marketing and sales professionals have to be well versed in the buying processes that healthcare providers use. Medical device marketing is quite different from any other marketing. Typically, hospitals have a review process to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate their medical technology needs. The review’s scope depends on the cost of the technology, and may involve many departments. For expensive equipment, the review most likely will be elaborate. For less expensive and disposable items, the review may simply assess the department’s current needs, and the proposed purchase’s operational and financial impacts. In either case, a market survey and literature search take place to some extent, and this is supplemented with extensive data collection and analysis when needed. This is why white papers and case studies published by medical device manufacturers are very useful during the review process – the decision-makers look for every bit of information they can find. Hence, white papers and case studies can significantly influence the decision-making process.
A typical review process includes the following phases:

1. Strategic
2. Assessment
3. Acquisition
4. Utilization
5. Repair and maintenance
6. Replacement and disposal

The process starts with strategic planning. In this top-level phase, the relevant stakeholders (e.g., Directors, Professors, Managers, Doctors, Engineers, Purchasing, etc.) review key issues, success factors and resource allocation, and assign responsibilities for sustained improvement in technological performance. They identify the services their facility provides, and the technologies that would complement their existing services. The typical questions to answer are: Where are we? Where do we want to be? How are we going to get there?

Because medical technology greatly impacts the cost and structure of healthcare delivery, hospitals include technology assessment in their planning process, which typically includes cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analyses.

Cost-benefit analysis calculates the costs of applying the technology and compares them to the benefits resulting from its application. It provides criteria upon which to base decisions of whether to adopt or reject a proposed device. The device is adopted if its benefits exceed its costs. However, one limitation of this analysis is that it expresses all benefits, including therapeutic effects, in monetary terms. Hence, hospitals also conduct cost-effectiveness analyses to quantify therapeutic effects in terms of reduced patient hospital stays, and compare these to the costs of the technology’s implementation. Although at first glance the chosen technology may seem to have limited impact on other facility operations, stakeholders also examine the likely effect of the new equipment on existing services.

Other aspects of cost-effectiveness analysis include assessment of long-term replacement strategies and identification of emerging technologies. Since medical devices have finite longevity, hospitals have replacement plans to minimize the effects of unforeseen capital replacement. By identifying emerging technologies that fit into the projected plans of the hospital’s service area, the hospital tries to avoid investing in nearly obsolete technologies.

Purchase of a new technology is justified only when an increase in equipment’s cost-effectiveness is clearly demonstrated. The typical questions asked during the analysis are:

* Will the new medical device increase the volume of the service?
* Will it raise the costs of the service?
* Will the device generate additional revenues and, if so, how much?
* What is the new device’s expected lifespan?
* What is the device’s reliability and the costs associated with its repair and maintenance?
* How reliable and reputable is the manufacturer?
* What impact will the new device have on routine operating costs?
* What will the disposal cost be?
* How easy is the device to operate?

Once the technology has been assessed and the decision to purchase has been made, the next phase in the process is technology acquisition, which typically includes the following steps:

* Preparation of general and functional specifications
* Clinical, technical and cost evaluations
* Review of proposals and evaluations, and making a final decision on a device manufacturer
* Contract negotiation for the device’s acquisition
* Preparation and issuance of a purchase order
* Contract award

A contract award is the green light for the medical device company to deliver and install the product.

How Does Technology Change Medical Transcription Tribes?

This week has been an interesting one in the internet world. Technology is impacting every single industry, not just medical transcription.

I have a couple of blogs I follow for publishers. One of my favorites is Michael Hyatt, who is the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. He often writes about the challenges facing the publishing industry today. Every company now has its own E-Book reader and many titles are now available in that medium. Does this change how we read? For me, it sure has. My Kindle has over 100 titles on it and with just one lightweight tool, I can take them all with me. I still buy a print book now and then, but most of my reading is done on the Kindle. Even with my AHDI publications, I can download them in PDF format, send them to my Kindle e-mail account, and in a few short minutes have them back in Kindle format.

In a recent blog post, Seth Godin, one of my all-time favorite authors, announced that he will no longer be doing his work via traditional publishing. He has a huge following, has direct connections to his readers, and is choosing to remove the layers between him and his readers. He is perhaps one of the most selfless people I’ve run across on the internet. Not only are his books great, but he also gives away a ton of great information. His post doesn’t say you won’t be able to get his books in print form, he may self-publish. It just shows a changing world around us.

What is an additional challenge to this change in the publication industry is that people expect an E-book to cost less money. No printing costs, easier to distribute, etc., and we expect it to cost less. That has an impact on the publishers as well as authors, who most often work on royalties based on revenue produced from their books. So far, it doesn’t appear those changes have impacted our industry. While there may be more people using electronic books, as in our word books, they still cost more than the print copy.

While we often talk about the technology impacts in how we do our work, we don’t talk much about the other ways technology impacts our world.

As more people start blogs in our industry, will that change how people get their information? Or where they get it from? I don’t think the medical transcription industry has been an early adopter of the internet for information, however, I think that’s changing. There are things being developed like a Wiki for medical style and grammar. It’s free, everyone can contribute to it, and it may be one of the next tools for standards of style, at least for some. If it has good information and authority, can things like this replace what we have always relied on? I don’t know but think it’s food for thought.

Think about how we get our education. Where we used to go to face-to-face meetings, sit in lectures, and network, much of that is done online now. We are seeking alternatives for our continuing education. We do a lot now with webinars and the idea of E-courses is taking off as well. We “gather” differently these days. We find a tribe we want to belong to and join it. It IS all very different.

What I am wondering is how this will change our world? One of the biggest benefits people cite even with AHDI membership is the publications, which you receive in print as a member. Will that change? Are we seeing a shift in how we interact? Our world is full of tribes, groups of people who come together with a common interest. How will the tribes in medical transcription change? Does technology have the potential to change the tribes we belong to? I will look forward to your thoughts.