Getting a handle on controlling practice costs is becoming a critical issue for a physician practice. It’s already May 2012 and whether it’s obvious or not, physician practice income continues to decline. Those that use HIT potentially can gain the same type of cost savings that information technology has created for other businesses. With EMRs, like McKesson’s Medisoft Clinical, practice office staff will no longer have to pull charts for patient visits, patient phone calls and prescription renewals. This eliminates the “searching for the lost chart” syndrome.
Accessing data from paper records is time consuming because it involves reviewing information manually, record by record. Alternatively, an EMR makes data easily visible with efficient electronic access to clinical data and can improve the overall quality of care by having patient education materials, quicker turnaround time of lab tests and the availability of decision support at the point of service fostering an evidence-based diagnostic process.
An EMR like Medisoft Clinical can generate automated appointment reminders for periodic checkups and for monitoring chronic diseases and conditions. This enables the physician practice to follow up with patients who need medical attention but are not responding to automated messages. These systems have intelligent e-prescribing alerts to help physicians with drug interactions and allergies. If you look closely many prescription drugs have similar names and providers can avoid errors with these protocols in place.
When you add it all up it is easy to see “improved outcomes.” The incorporation of evidence-based protocols, decision support, and e-prescribing into the EMR gives the physician diagnostic and treatment recommendations during the patient encounter. This is certainly an improvement from the past.