There is a fundamental difference between software designed for doctors (EHR/EMR), and software designed for medical billers (PM). Although both are vital to a successful practice, no single company can maintain expertise in these diverse and constantly evolving fields.
Additionally, if your practice’s billing system works, there is no reason to change it. Why go through the headache of selecting, implementing, and adapting to a new billing service all over again? And, why put your bottom line at risk?
Vendors of bundled EHR/EMR -billing software make false claims in order to sell their package deals that make them more money at your expense. Let’s take a look into these:
Does an EMR/PM/Billing package save you money? NO
In fact, a package deal will cost you more money. First, the billing software is of no use to the provider. Who really needs it? Your billing service, or biller, would have use for this. Second, the practice management software is included in most EHR/EMR software. You shouldn’t be paying extra for it. Lastly, for obvious reasons, you, the provider, will only need the EHR/EMR software for your charting purposes. If you buy a suite, or package deal, you will just have extra features you don't need, and you will be paying extra. Companies out there love taking in the uneducated buyer. A good company will break down what you really need, and won’t hassle you into their other products.
Will I have integration problems if I don’t use the same solution for both Billing & EHR/EMR? NO
If a company tells you that you should use the EHR/EMR and Billing software from the same company, otherwise you’ll have problems, is just trying to get you to buy their product. Again, the provider only needs the EHR/EMR solution. Billing specialists look for their own software, which suits their billing needs. Don’t waste time and money that has nothing to do with your needs. All companies are required by law to be HL7 compliant, meaning they can interface with any software that is HL7 ready.
You deserve the best EHR/EMR for your practice needs. Do not be fooled by integrated marketing.
What you should look out for:
You can go with any vendor, BUT only buy the EHR/EMR product. Buying any suite or package deal costs you more money!
All software must by HL7 compliant. The federal government’s Meaningful Use program has mandated the use of HL7 standards, which enables interfacing between all EHR/EMR and PM billing software. Majority of companies offer this for free, or include it in their pricing.
Make sure the company offers HIE as well! This is the Health Information Exchange that will be in use. This enables all EHR/EMR to communicate with each other to access patient information.
Great Customer Support. Remember, having great customer support is a must! When you need help the most, you want to make sure someone responds as soon as possible!
Make sure it is user friendly! Nothing is worse when you don’t know how to use your system properly.
PLEASE READ YOUR CONTRACT! You don’t want to get locked into something you end up not liking. Or find out that your patient’s data is being sold!
Nothing is ever free; someone out there is paying for it. Remember, nobody works for free.
Which Incentive Option is best for you?
Head on over to the CMS website for further information. Click Regulations-and-Guidance, look under Legislation, and click EHR Incentive Programs. Here is everything you need to know about the incentive programs and which is best for you!
But be careful! The longer you wait, the more penalties you incur from Medicare. For those who rely on Medicare volume, don’t wait too long! You’ll get hurt in the long run.
Waiting until 2016, or not getting an EHR/EMR at all, will put you in jeopardy of being penalized up to 10% from Medicare. Yikes!
Remember, we can interface with any EHR/EMR, as long as it is HL7 compliant. Also, if you plan to switch to another alternative product, plan accordingly. There could be extra expenses, migration time when your data may not be available and hiccups along the way.