The Electronic Health Record Gives Accurate Medical Billing for Dialysis Patients

Published: 18th October 2011
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Electronic health record (EHR) legislation has an impact on everyday life of Americans. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 established requirements for all hospitals and physician's offices to implement a certified EHR system. The ultimate vision is to improve the quality and value of American healthcare. This legislation is not new to dialysis centers. Medicare has required specialists to provide patients with an individualized plan, EHRs and defibrillators in every unit. Integrating the electronic medical records for dialysis with the physician's billing systems practice would now appear to be mandatory.

EHR Benefits
Today’s treatment centers have access to personalized nephrology-specific templates. They use common phrases and wording, review patient history and create automated progress notes and referral letters. During treatment at dialysis units, the practitioner views the patient's complete medical history. This benefits the billing process by identifying all dialysis treatment information to date and links it with the practice-generated accounts payable system simultaneously. By accessing charts from virtually anywhere, nephrologists can review and sign charts from home or any other clinical setting where the professional might be working. This provides treatment dates and medical coding accuracy. Whenever the physician or other member of the care team "pulls" a patient chart, the most accurate and current billing information is available.

Billing Accuracy
So why is an EHR important to billing accuracy with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) requiring dialysis treatment? The answer is pretty simple. There is improved medical treatment and access to patients' previous records from anywhere, combined with the corresponding accounts payable records in a single location to provide for less billing errors. This is especially true when the EHR is merged with medical coding tools in a single application.

EHRs provide additional patient safety features against adverse drug interactions. For example, medical alerts to allergies are triggered when a medication is prescribed that will interact with a patient’s existing medications or will generate an allergic reaction.

Managing Information
The EHR can be used to manage electronic medical records dialysis clinicians rely on to provide the best care. It allows for information exclusively in treatment-specific centers, connecting directly to the physicians' offices with laboratory services, enabling dialysis procedure documentation and lab results charting. Accurate treatment information leads to accurate billing.

While all of this is focused on the physician, today’s patient-centric EHR allow patients to view their records and be continually informed of the most current insurance results. In addition, the current EHR's systems allow patients the freedom to travel between specialists and their own primary care physicians and have all of their current treatment records, prescriptions, lab results and insurance records up to date.

With the complexities of chronic kidney disease and complex treatments today, clinicians need help focusing on their job -- caring for patients. Accurate health care treatment information is achieved by pulling data from all patient clinical settings including data from labs, dialysis machines, and hospitals for a unified medical record. The electronic records system is designed to provide complete treatment records for primary care physicians and clinicians in a dialysis facility or nephrology office, as well as the patients themselves. The complete EHR with all associated treatment is the key to accurate billing and patient care.

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