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Medical Billing Service Companies And Electronic Document Submission – A Growth Industry Whose Time Is Now
An electronic medical record (EMR) is a digital version of a paper chart that contains all of a patient’s medical history obtained from one doctor’s office or practice. An EMR is mostly used for diagnosis and treatment, and normally do not leave the doctor’s office. They are used to:
- Trackpatient data over time
- Identifypatients who are due for preventive visits and screenings
- Track and monitor vaccinations, blood pressure readings, and other events
- Improveoverall quality of care in a practice
An EMR makes patient record-keeping easier, more accurate, comprehensive, and more efficient. Doctors use special software, which allows them to enter information electronically and makes the patient’s complete medical history available immediately. A desktop, laptop, electronic clipboard or tablet may be used to move easily through the record. Most people consider them a vast improvement over paper records. An EMR allows more than one person to use a patient’s chart, which is usually better organized than a paper record. An EMR also allows for storage of more information, and eliminates the problem of illegible handwriting. They are a more streamlined way to boost patient safety, manage chronic illnesses, and improve the efficiency of a practice. They also offer an excellent way to prescribe medication.
One of the most disturbing facts in the medical field today is that many physicians are seeing reduced profits resulting from negotiations with insurance companies. Typically, insurance companies negotiate a contract with hospitals and physicians that specify what fees may be charged for a medical procedure. If the physician or hospital wants to continue working with the patients who are covered by this insurance company, they must accept the dollar amount the insurance company proposes.
As a result of this situation, one of two scenarios generally unfolds: in some cases, long time practicing physicians have been forced to give up their practice and either close the doors or sell the practice to another entity. And it is still occurring. Their only alternative is to create major efficiencies in their practices, often by hiring a medical billing service company. Many physicians choose the latter solution.
This trend has led to explosive growth in the medical billing service sector. These companies provide services which are not commonly offered in a physician’s office, at least to this point. Some physicians will not be willing to learn the new ways of doing business or accept the new technology. (A situation that may change as older doctors exit the field, but there are no certainties here.)
On a brighter note, for a medical billing service company, incorporating efficiencies into a physician practice will be a great chance to take a lead role in a growth industry. Once it is realized how successfully electronic medical claims submission increases profit margins, many physicians will simply decide to jump in feet first and hire a service to do this, no matter how little the process is understood. Their incentive to do so will be the eventual insurance company mandates to do so, and physicians understanding that this is the way everyone will be doing business from now on.
If your medical billing service company concentrates only on claims filing, you may be missing out on a way to increase your business, too, in the form of electronic medical billing. While Medicare-accepting physicians have been required to submit electronic claims for many years now, this requirement has not been placed on doctors serving other populations. Since electronic document submissions cost substantially less to submit (as high as $20 for a paper claim) most experts say that commercial insurance carriers will be following the Medicare lead very soon.
There is no question that this is a valuable service for a physician medical group, the last medical cohort to fully embrace the idea, and that it is therefore a growth area for medical billing services to get involved in. The conversion may be a laborious task, but doctors stand to save a considerable amount of money by doing so, while medical billing services will also gain in new business that comes their way as a result of the change. Those medical billing service companies first to market will reap the most benefit, especially if their service is advertised and marketed effectively.