Over the years, I have seen significant decision in practice management come and go, some being made by exhaustive research and others through simply avoiding the decision hoping it would pass then make itself. Remember Y2K, electronic billing, even your first purchase of practice management software?
I recently sat through a live risk management seminar put on by a medical professional liability insurance carrier that featured a very knowledgeable, experienced defense attorney. The first middle and last point that the attorney had made was, document, document and then document. The crux of his point was that it was near impossible to convince a jury that you, the physician, had in fact informed the patient of the potential side effects, that you had extensively reviewed lifestyle or family history predisposition, etc. While this is a standard office visit or consult, and you have performed it thousands of times before, this moment in the courtroom demands proof, and it is coming down to your word against the patient. One of the obvious benefits of an EMR system is the ability to document this visit and have that proof positive.
As a medical professional liability insurance consultant, I cannot stress to my clientele enough the benefits of a good EMR system and actual use of that system in the practice. Through the advances in technology and the gaining acceptance of EMR in medical offices, the refining and the ability to customize the system to your practice specialty, practice style and habits and affordability only continue to improve.
A growing trend among medical malpractice insurance carriers is the awarding of premium credit for the use of EMR in the practice, potentially mitigating the potential of suit or a positive effect on the outcome of a suit. It is not outlandish in my thinking to believe that there may be a day that insurance carriers could actually debit a premium for not having some sort of EMR in practice.
As a complement to our services to our clients, our firm has a relationship with one of the nation’s best EMR systems. Take a moment to explore your options and to capitalize on the incentive money being offered by the current administration. While the financial benefits will continue to be available, the reward for early adoption and “meaningful use” in Medicare/Medicaid practices is heavily weighted for the the next eighteen months. Obviously, in your choice of EMR systems, the ability to pioneer and lead the technological frontier is crucial. Secondary to that is the ongoing support.
It is imperative that once the commitment has been made to embrace this technology that you actually learn it and use it. Thousand of stories can be told about the purchase of a system, only to find out that the the after purchase training and support were very underwhelming. Make sure that this portion of your purchase is well understood.