Often, DCs find that having a team of professionals working within one practice is the best way to deliver excellent care to their patients.
There are several ways for such an arrangement to work, and one of the most common is that of a multi-disciplinary practice.
At first glance, the idea of a multi-disciplinary practice may seem like an administrative nightmare. However, the use of an electronic health records (EHR) system can streamline many administrative processes. From patient check-in to billing, when a group of care-providers use the same system, patients benefit.
If a DC in a solo practice recommends that a patient seek the advice of a nutritionist, the only real way to follow up on that recommendation is to ask the patient at their next visit. In an integrated practice that uses a single EHR system, however, the DC can see the nutritionist’s notes at the patient’s next visit.
In fact, patient records and provider notes are probably the most powerful aspect of an EHR system for multi-disciplinary practices. Being able to see the professional opinion of trusted colleagues regarding patients’ conditions, treatment plans, and progress means having the ability to collaborate and coordinate quickly, easily, and without disrupting the workflow of anyone involved.
Plan of action
Whether a solo practitioner is implementing an EHR or a group of professionals is, the same best practices apply: training, training, and more training—a step-by-step plan for transitioning that lays out implementation over time clearly, with goals and benchmarks. When the practice in question is a multi-disciplinary practice, implementation may be both easier and more complex.
Each specialty and modality will use a particular set of billing codes most frequently, so the administrative staff in a multi-disciplinary practice will have to be familiar with an overall larger set of codes, which represents one area of increased complexity. However, an EHR system, particularly a certified EHR system, will make the whole billing process smoother.
Depending on the structure of the practice, choosing an EHR may be a more complicated task in a multi-disciplinary setting than in a solo practice. On the one hand, having more people doing research, asking questions, and investigating products means having the ability to make more informed decisions. On the other hand, the more people involved in the decision-making process, the more difficult it may be to arrive at a conclusion. However, the benefits of cost-sharing, patient care, and so on are likely to outweigh such possible problems.