Digital Medical Records

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How The Health Information Technology For Economic And Clinical Health Act Can Help Your Practice

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There has been a lot of controversy of late about President Obama and his landmark healthcare reform package. Included within it is the Health Information Technology For Economic and Clinical Health Act, and it is nearly as controversial as the entire bill itself, especially for medical professionals who have built their practices upon paper medical records.

Curious as to what the Health Information Technology For Economic and Clinical Health Act can do for your medical practice? Contact Sun South Leasing today for an affordable breakdown of costs for converting over to electronic medical records from paper files.

What it Requires

The Health Information Technology For Economic and Clinical Health Act is actually quite simple to interpret, in spite of all the legalese it is shrouded in. Simply put, by 2016, all healthcare providers will be required to have their clientele’s complete medical records converted over to digital format. The electronic medical records, or EMR, would be in a nationally uniform format, making them very easy to transmit between healthcare providers, as well as limited versions to be provided to insurance companies, if needed.

Economic incentives are included within the act, especially for those healthcare providers who regularly accept Medicare and Medicaid patients. Up to $25,000, or 85% of the average costs for conversion is available for providers who convert over to the new technology. Over the first five years, this could be increased to a total of $65,000, which could be applied for employment and training of personnel to handle the records, as well as the installation of the equipment necessary to process the records.

Not an Easy Task to Accomplish

Even though the healthcare reform was signed into law in 2009, the electronic medical records are not required until 2016, a full seven years down the road. Many healthcare providers, however, are still adamant about not really wanting to convert over to the new technology. Their primary concerns are about the security of their patients’ sensitive information, and the cost to complete the conversions.

Relying on paper files all these years will have a cost, there is no way around that issue, and it will take a lot of time to convert it all over to electronic media. Information security is another understandable fear, but the software developed to handle all this information has had every possible security measure placed within it to prevent identity theft as much as is possible with today’s technology.

Benefits of Conversion

The number one benefit to be had by complying with the Health Information Technology For Economic and Clinical Health Act is increased patient safety. Too often the notations within paper records can be misinterpreted, and patient’s lives put in jeopardy because of it. With electronic medical records, this danger is reduced, as long as the records are accurate. And, no matter where the patient is, their records will be immediately accessible, without delay.