How to Become HITECH

By June 2, 2010 Businesses

We have discussed whether you you qualify for the HITECH Medicare and Medicaid credits and what type of Electronic Medical Record program will qualify you.  No doubt you are left with that all important question of “How do I get started?”  In this final blog of the series, we will help you answer that question.

Change is never easy, and changing your entire business systems and procedures usually requires a great incentive. $44,000 in Medicare credits certainly couldn’t hurt. But we have been there. Several years ago we began implementing our own paperless office and file storage. It wasn’t easy, but now we can’t imagine how we ever did it before. We can now email documents to clients, keep our workpaper files digitally, work remotely without having to carry client folders around, and we have greater integration between our programs. In addition, we have saved an entire rain forest worth of trees by e-filing every tax applicable return and emailing client organizers. We would never go back.

Switching to Electronic Medical Records will help doctors to pull up and quickly send accurate prescriptions, while being automatically notified of potentially conflicting drugs the patient may be on. It will reduce filing time and in the long term will reduce costs for your firm. And the EMR system should be able to help with insurance, billing, and reminding your patients when it’s time for preventative care.

In order to qualify for the HITECH credits, you need to be able to demonstrate that your EMR meets the 25 points of meaningful use as outlined in our previous blog. Programs that meet the 25 points can cost up to $30,000. However, they can also be as cheap as free. An example is Practice Fusion. Practice Fusion offers an online solution, plus training, plus implementation at no cost. What’s the catch? Like most websites, you would need to pay to make the non-intrusive ads on the side go away, but even then the cost is $100 a month. They pay for the site by taking the non-personal patient information (diseases, treatments, what works, what doesn’t) and selling it to researchers.

Although the benefits don’t start until 2011, there may be additional Medicare benefits for getting started now. These include bonus Medicare part B benefits for ePrescribing and demonstrating certain quality measures. If we can help your practice make the transition to an EMR or if you have any questions, we are here to help.