Although specific mandates requiring chiropractors to invest in an EHR system have yet to be implemented, many
practitioners in this field continue to investigate the potential process and procedural improvements this type of software can provide.
EHR software has been touted as a great way to streamline patient care by standardizing all documentation and speeding reimbursement from payers. But if you don’t have a solid handle on your paper-based documentation, converting to any EHR system can very well turn into a frustrating – and costly – nightmare. It can even result in an audit that you might not have had to endure otherwise.
This fact makes sense: After all, it’s the existing paper-based documentation that your office staff will be entering into the EHR system to serve as a basis for input of future patient case management and diagnostic data.
Experts say that entering into the world of EHR systems before standardizing and streamlining your current paper-based
processes can result in the expensive need for additional plugins and optional templates, both of which can compromise the ultimate goal of turning to an EHR in the first place: to make patient diagnosis and management easier and to clarify the documentation needed for speedy reimbursement.
So, how can you improve your paper system so that it will ultimately work for, not against, you in the conversion to an electronic system? A good way to start is to select a company that offers a solid paper-based process that provides medical and office forms that detail the entire patient care process (from intake to discharge and to postmanagement)
in a consistent manner. Again, it will be the consistency and completeness of your current paper forms that make the ultimate conversion to an EHR in the future a success.
The impact a consistent paperwork system has on fair and timely reimbursement cannot be overemphasized. It’s a fact that many chiropractors forego the complete reimbursement they deserve by down-coding, playing it “safe” in an effort to avoid scrutiny. Wellorganized patient care forms actually make coding easier by offering a complete picture of patient diagnosis and management. This enables you to code with confidence, knowing you have the evidence needed to support a claim should any
Right now, EHRs are not mandatory for chiropractic offices, but they may very well be in the future. Take a step in the right direction by optimizing your paper-based systems so that you can ease the coding and reimbursement process now, and prepare for future implementation of an EHR system with confidence and ease.