VANCOUVER, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- One of America’s leading advocates of electronic health records (EHRs) today called upon physicians around the country to overcome any remaining barriers and convert to this system as a way to foster improvements in healthcare quality, safety, efficiency and access.
“Large physician groups and hospitals have made significant progress in implementing EHRs over the past few years, but solo practitioners and smaller practices have been much slower to adopt,” said Brian O’Neill, president and chief executive officer of Office Ally. “Today there are products on the market that allow an individual doctor to convert to EHRs in a way that is cost sensible and simple to adopt. There is no time to lose and no reason to not come on board.”
A new study from The California HealthCare Foundation supports O’Neill’s contention. The study estimates that 48 percent of medical practices in California have adopted EHR systems, up from just 13 percent in 2008. But according to the study only 20 percent of single practitioners and just 39 percent of small practices with two to five physicians are using EHRs. That compares to an 80 percent adoption rate among large practices with 51 or more physicians and a 64 percent rate among practices with between six and 50 physicians.
“Many single-shingle doctors have been hesitant to absorb the costs historically associated with EHRs,” said O’Neill. “Fortunately, there are now products at a price point that make this transition all the more doable. And when you combine that with the financial incentives included in the 2009 economic stimulus package, physicians would be smart to embrace EHRs as the logical next step in their practice development.”
The economic stimulus package to which O’Neill refers was passed by Congress in 2009 and makes it a financial necessity that physician offices adopt EHRs. Title IV of the act promises maximum incentive payments for Medicaid and Medicare providers who adopt and use “certified EHRs” beginning this year. Providers will be penalized for not adopting an EHR by 2015.
In addition to financial concerns, O’Neill believes that smaller offices have been slow to convert for fear of potential disruption to their practice. “Any deep-rooted concerns regarding complexity of conversion can now be minimized by following the best practices of fellow offices, which have discovered ways to make the changeover virtually hassle free,” said O’Neill. “And when you combine that with the efficiencies that are gained, the arguments in favor of conversion are overwhelming.”
An electronic health record is a patient record in digital format that is capable of being shared confidentially and securely across different healthcare settings. Such records may include a full range of data in comprehensive or summary form including demographics, medical history, medication and allergies, immunization status, laboratory test results, radiology images, and billing information. “With such a system in place, physicians can receive discharge information on a hospitalized patient, view results of lab tests or other procedures performed at the hospital, and recognize significant improvements in quality care and patient satisfaction,” said O’Neill.
Office Ally is the only organization in the country offering healthcare providers a full complement of revenue-cycle management services including a patient portal, electronic health records, a practice management system, a clearinghouse and a billing service. Founded in 2000, the company currently works with more than 150,000 providers and 4,400 insurance carriers in all 50 states. It also houses eligibility for nearly 400 IPAs and small health plans. Its complete suite of interactive asp, Internet-based solutions include a patient health registry – Patient Ally™, electronic health records – EHR 24/7™, practice management – Practice Mate™, clearinghouse, and case management – Case Mate™. All of Office Ally’s products and services are offered at minimal or no cost to providers, with training and technical support available 24/7. Further information may be obtained at www.officeally.com.
For Office Ally
Ross Goldberg, 818-597-8453, x-1
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