Legal nurse consultants are increasingly receiving electronic health records for analysis. How do these records help patients and providers? How does computer provider order entry affect medical care? In part 1, I specifically addressed the savings of computer provider order entry.
1. Facilities using EHRs and computer provider order entry could gain greater market share
A benefit associated with implementation of an EHR relates to the facility’s standing in the area it serves. Improved quality of patient care resulting from electronic healthcare records can increase name recognition and branding in its geographical market.
This branding increases the likelihood that patients will choose the facility for providing healthcare. It also serves as a marketing tool for recruiting physicians and developing physician referral patterns.
2. EHRs promote coordination of care
Coordination of care is significantly improved and information is available to providers regardless of their physical location or time of day. Electronic documentation provides real time entry of patient health information and promotes accuracy of the data.
Furthermore, it increases efficiency of the referral process and the patient information available to the consulting physician is more comprehensive. Combined use of any of these features facilitates improved quality of patient care, promotes patient safety, and ultimately reduces morbidity and mortality rates.
3. EHRS save money through integration with billing
Cost savings can be achieved when the documentation system is integrated with the billing system. This is accomplished in several ways. Charge capture is improved, so missed revenue is reduced. Reimbursement of billed services, as a result of more accurate documentation, is increased.
Elimination of labor-intensive entry of billing information reduces staffing costs and potential for human errors. Evidence also suggests that the physician will see an increase in revenue due to improved workflow associated with a computerized patient record and computer provider order entry. Improved workflow allows the volume of patient appointments to be increased with proportionately minimal effect on current staffing levels.
Health care has changed and evolved over the years, and so has the documentation associated with the care provided. In order to meet the growing needs of the patient, healthcare providers, and other major stakeholders, the prevailing manual system needed to be replaced.
Technology provided the opportunity to make these changes. Healthcare providers are developing strategies for implementing and funding EHR systems using the available technology.
As legal nurse consultants, we know these systems will need to address the areas of patient safety, quality of patient care, and continuity of care while maintaining patient confidentiality and protecting personal health information.
Financial savings and returns on investments are also important considerations when implementing an EHR. Organizations and facilities that have already started the implementation of an EHR have achieved positive results and associated benefits. We expect that completing each level of implementation will result in increased benefits to everyone involved in the healthcare community.
Modified from Mila Carlson, PhD, RN CLNC, CNLCP Adoption Rates and Barriers to Implementation of Electronic Health Records in Physician Office Practices In Northwestern Illinois, Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the School of Health and Public Administration, Warren National University.
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