Trump vs. Biden on Healthcare: Comparing Two Perspectives

Trump-vs-biden

President Donald Trump and democrat Joe Biden have distinctively opposing views when it comes to healthcare in the United States. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare has become the top priority for US citizens. Both candidates have unique strategies that focus on solving the problem of providing inexpensive and accessible for all healthcare.

29% of Americans consider healthcare even more important than the economy in this pandemic. COVID-19 has left no choice for US citizens but to focus on their safety and healthcare. However, catering to these rising concerns of Americans is not an easy task. Here I’ll guide you to the different perspectives of both the candidate on how they believe they can tackle these concerns.

The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act helps Americans by making health insurance affordable for the public, emphasising preventive care strategies, and implementing new processes and technologies for improved healthcare. It includes creating accountable care organisations, implementing technology such as  Electronic Health Records (EHR), funding healthcare training etc.

Here are the views of both the candidates towards the Affordable Care Act

Trump

Trump has been against the ACA for almost four years and has continuously tried to undermine it. However, it is yet to be decided, whether the Supreme Court would overturn this law on Nov 10. If it’s overturned, the President, along with the Congress, would have to deal with millions of Americans becoming uninsured.

Moreover, Trump does not support ‘Medicare for All’; neither does he support any optional public health plan. In his words, he claims these plans follow “Socialism.

Biden

Biden has stated that he would defend the Affordable Care Act from any legal or congressional problems. He also said that he plans to “build on” the Affordable Care Act by expanding subsidiaries on the exchanges of the act.

Although Biden also does not support ‘Medicare for All’, he is open to accept an optional public health plan based on the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges.

Medicaid and Medicare

Medicare and Medicaid together provide healthcare and insurance coverage to almost 115 million people in the US. Medicare aims to help citizens 65 or above, pay their medical expenses. In comparison, Medicaid aims to help low-income groups with healthcare facilities and costs.

Here are the views of both candidates when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid.

Trump

Trump promotes the use of private insurance companies through the Medicare program. It would create problems for people who do not have private insurance. However, Trump has included telehealth in Medicare coverage and increased Medicare advantages. It creates ease for both practitioners and patients by enabling virtual patient visits. Under this change, healthcare providers can offer virtual care through telemedicine software and expect pay parity.

Under his vision, Trump has also stated that new immigrants would not receive Medicare and Medicaid benefits unless or until they can prove they have health insurance. Moreover, he created a ‘Public Charge’ rule. According to this rule, there would be a restricted entry for people to use Medicare or any other public program. However, this rule faces legal challenges right now.

Biden

Biden follows a more open-minded approach when it comes to Medicare. He proposes to lower the minimum age of people who can benefit from Medicare from 65 to 60. He also offered to make the vision, dental, hearing healthcare standard in Medicare. After all, it’s quite natural for the elderly to develop dental problems and hearing or vision loss.

Biden also proposes to offer more federal support to Medicare during the pandemic to help the people. He has also stated that it is his goal to provide healthcare services to at least 97% of the American population.

One of the significant changes Biden would make for the immigrants would be to reverse the ‘Public Charge’. Instead, he would allow any illegal immigrant to buy unsubsidised plans.

Healthcare and Medicine Costs

In healthcare and medicine costs, both candidates have similar objectives. Trump and Biden both want to put an end to surprise billing and lower drug costs. However, they differ in their approach to reduce drug prices.

Here are the views of both candidates when it comes to healthcare and medicine costs.

Trump

Trump’s strategy for reducing drug costs is by importing prescription drugs from other countries. As per experts, this could be effective in the short-run, but it is not a sustainable solution for the long run.

When it comes to surprise billing, it is something Trump wants to ban completely. Although Trump had previously tried to ban surprise billing in Congress in December, it didn’t go as planned. Also, he has put pressure on ensuring price transparency in healthcare institutes. His policy aims to pressurise hospitals and insurance companies to disclose hospital expenses to the patient. That may seem like a small step, but it could have long-term benefits.

Biden

Biden believes in supporting a bill passed last year that would enable him to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, instead of importing from other countries. He would also ensure that any new drug prices don’t increase more than the inflation rate to keep drug prices affordable.

Similar to Trump’s beliefs, Biden also supports a complete ban on surprise billing. To rein in hospital prices, Biden plans to open new public option programs to talk and negotiate fixed prices with healthcare institutes.

In conclusion, both candidates have pretty diverse policy statements on the model for providing healthcare to Americans. While Trump would repeal the Affordable Care Act in favour of more private sector involvement, Biden wants to build on the existing structure. However, both agree that the pricing of life-saving drugs and surprise billing is a huge problem that will need to be catered to if America wants to improve its healthcare system. Whatever position you support, you must go out and vote!

What’s the Latest News in the World of EHR Softwares

Are you looking for your fix of daily Health IT News? Here is what went down over the last few weeks in US Health IT.

  • Allscripts sues CarePortMD
  • Lyft Joins Hands with Epic for patient ride scheduling
  • Athenahealth to Hire 100 more employees over the coming months
  • Strategies EHR Vendors use to stay stress-free amid the pandemic

Allscripts vs. CarePortMD.

Who knew the EMR market could get this fierce, right?  According to news sources, Allscripts has sued CarePortMD for using the brand name “CarePortMD” which they claimed is the same as one of their software offerings. 

Allscripts believes that this would confuse potential clients and customers as both companies operate in the same healthcare IT space. On the other hand, CarePortMD maintains that they have followed all guidelines put forth by the US office of Patent and Trademark against which they were issued a lawful trademark on the name. 

 In the lawsuit, Allscripts has:

  • Asked for an injunction against CarePortMD to stop it from using the CarePortMD name. 
  • Transfer of the registered name to Allscripts 
  • Asked for the compensation caused by the alleged infringement. 

Lyft Joining Hands with Epic

In another news, Lyft announced that they are integrating with Epic‘s Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software in an attempt to deepen its ties with healthcare providers. It will allow medical practitioners and hospital staff to schedule rides for their patients quickly. Epic is one of the largest electronic health record (EHR) companies in the telemedicine industry, and Lyft is the first ride-sharing company to integrate with them.

The primary aim was to enable hospital staff to schedule a ride for their patients directly from the Epic EMR application rather than shifting into a separate tool. For this purpose, Lyft is working now with Epic to create the integration successfully.

The ability to arrange a Lyft ride at the time of discharge will eventually lead to shorter waiting times, improved patient throughput, and less crowd in the waiting rooms. Apart from this, the patients can easily travel to the appointment and back home without any hassle or application needed. It will also allow the hospital staff to monitor appointment adherence and no-show rates of patients.

As a part of their integration program, Lyft is also enabling healthcare systems to generate reports to measure the impact of ride-sharing features on the overall health system in terms of their spending and population health outcomes. It will also include tracking patient segments to identify those that benefit from a Lyft ride. It also reduces the keyboard time and effort for our staff members and speeds up the process for ordering a Lyft ride.

Athenahealth to Hire 100 More Employees

While many companies around the world have let go of employees due to financial constraints brought about by the pandemic, athenahealth recently announced that it would be adding 100 new employees over the coming year to its Belfast, Maine-based office. This expansion comes as a result of rapid growth and demand for athena EMR and medical billing services. New hires will be trained remotely and continue working from home as will all existing employees for the foreseeable future.

Strategies EHR Vendors Stay Stress-Free Amid Pandemic

This pandemic has been stressful for all of us worldwide. For EHR vendors, this stress causes new pressures to provide prompt and quality service to healthcare organizations without compromising the safety of their employees. 

Luckily, most EHR companies knew what to do and when. Here are the top strategies that they implemented.

  • Timely, relevant and effective communication with various departments/teams reduces stress and anxiety and enables employees to talk about their problems.
  • They connected with their employees by talking to them casually to create a connection, instead of having formal meetings to discuss problems.
  • The HR would frequently reach out to new staff to see if they require any assistance or even to talk to them to increase morale.
  • Some EHR vendors even started new traditions within the company that focus on virtual meetings. Meditech EHR launched a water cooler service where any member of the company could come forth and talk about any topic with a virtual gathering. It enabled Meditech to create a new tradition where employees could also socially connect.
  • They would offer their esteemed employees care packages to help increase the morale and spirit of their teams.

The importance these EHR vendors give to their employees is because it’s the collection of all the people in the company that make the company. So to make sure, your practice receives the best of healthcare services, EHR vendors have spent countless hours ensuring employee satisfaction. EHR vendors that have followed in these strategies have also shown profitable growth even in times like these.

5 Security Misconceptions about Cloud-Based EHRs

5 security misconceptions

The advent of cloud technology has not only spoken of the marvels of human development; it has also created a few misconceptions about security as well. By definition, ‘Cloud Technology’ refers to the system of ‘Digital Cloud’ where you can store your data and files online with the use of applications. The myths surrounding cloud technology are common in the world of cloud-based EHR as well. It is one of the common factors why many healthcare organizations are hesitant to adopt it.

In this article, we’ll clear up your top 5 security concerns and misunderstandings about cloud-based EHR systems. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Myth #1 Cloud-based EHR has Security Issues

For years, there has been a common myth that whatever you place on the internet, it means it’s in the hands of anyone on Earth. However, we need to understand that cloud-technology is a little different than simply ‘putting stuff on the internet’.

With the evolution of technology, cloud-based EHR systems have evolved into a more advanced and comprehensive solution. Even though the entire concept is only a few decades old, cloud-technology is now the future of any successful business.

Cloud-based EHR systems are, in fact, a very secure method for storing sensitive patient data, files, and documents. The EHR software providers use advanced security tools, such as data encryption, to protect their customer data against potential data breaches.

Myth #2 Data saved on Cloud-Based EHR Software is vulnerable to Malware and Viruses

One of the most common misbeliefs about cloud-based EHR is that it makes the data vulnerable to Malware and Viruses. With millions of malware files and viruses lurking in the corners of the internet, this no surprise people have security concerns about cloud-based EHR systems. The critical thing to understand is that these types of viruses and malware only attack end-computing devices or files. It means the data saved on your cloud-based EHR system is entirely safe from such attacks.

To protect their customer data, EHR software providers hire professional hackers to maintain the health of their system from potential viruses or malware. Furthermore, every good quality cloud-based EHR has a security department where they are continually trying to improve their service. They do this by making sure no one is trying to access their customer data and continuously upgrading their system with the latest technology.

Furthermore, multiple-layer security processes, such as client logging aggregations, firewalls, and intrusion detection alerts, also helps to defend customer data from malicious attacks.

Myth #3 It is One-Size-Fits-All-Solution

Every business comes with its own set of requirements and problems. It means the cloud-based EHR that worked for your friend’s company might not give the same results for you. For this reason, cloud-based EHR systems offer different options for different organizations based on their needs, size, and specialty. It will also depend on what type or level of support you want for your business. If you already have an in-house IT department, you might not need to go all out on the security packages. However, for most of the businesses in the healthcare industry, you need that extra layer of security for optimum data protection.

Myth #4 Cloud-based EHR Systems do not offer Multi-Level Authentication

If you are using a manual health record for your patients, it is very easy for someone to potentially access, view, copy, or even destroy protected health information. However, with a cloud-based EHR system, you can easily track down any suspicious activity that tries to access patient files.

With login tracking features, you can immediately spot and stop the source of data breaches. However, with paper records, it is tough to spot illegal access to confidential data. With cloud-based EHR systems, you can immediately flag inappropriate behavior and deal with it accordingly.

A good quality cloud-based EHR system will designate users according to the different levels of access based on their roles within the organization. Assigning a tiered level of duty-specific security clearance to your employees will reduce the chances of data breaches.

This type of role-based security hinders your staff from unwittingly accessing and changing information that doesn’t fall under their precinct. It adds a layer of security to an already protected system.

Although the thought of keeping your information in a far-off warehouse is not exactly a calming idea, however, the truth is that your data will never be safe anywhere else. These types of EHR systems provide their customers with different sizes of practice the comfort of cloud-based security advantages associated with data accessibility and costs.

Myth #5 Cloud-based EHR gives no Other Benefit than Lower Cost

Apart from the general benefits of EHR systems in healthcare businesses, Cloud-based EHR services give more than just the benefit of lower cost. It gives you the convenience to store your data in one place without any hassle or worry. It helps to streamline your entire processes and increase efficiency and productivity. In the end, you are technically paying for a service that will boost your business positively and securely for an extended period.

What’s the Final Take?

With so many misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding cloud technology, the majority of healthcare businesses are hesitant to adopt cloud-based EHR systems. The majority of these concerns revolve around the fact that cloud-based EHR is not secure. With cloud technology merely a few decades old, business owners have trust issues whether their data is safe or not. They believe that the files stored on cloud-based EHR systems are prone to malicious and virus attacks.

However, EHR companies undertake multi-level authentication and security protocols to protect their client data from potential data breaches and malware. With cloud-based EHR, the solution is not one-size-fits-all. For this purpose, it offers additional security services to meet the different requirements of different organizations.

We hope we cleared all of the misconceptions you have about cloud-based EHR security system. In today’s time, implementing EHR solutions in the medical industry is an immediate need for the present. So, push all your doubts and disbeliefs about Cloud-based EHR software, and start thinking about it for your business!

Related reading:

5 security infographic

Using Telepsychiatry to meet Mental Health Challenges during COVID-19

Mental Health

Telepsychiatry has seen growth under COVID-19. Will this growth sustain beyond the pandemic? In this article, we discuss:

  • Telepsychiatry- Challenges & Barriers
  • Best practices for implementation
  • Top behavioural health telemedicine vendors
  • Will telepsychiatry survive?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous catastrophes both at the individual and collective level. People have suffered from the loss of loved ones, job losses, economic recession and diminished face to face interaction with friends and family. Such circumstances would take a toll on anybody, but the impact is higher for someone with a mental illness.

In such an environment having access to mental health services becomes crucial. Thanks to Telepsychiatry, many physicians and therapists were able to continue providing care to their patients throughout the pandemic. However, the transition has not been easy for most practitioners. Confusion around deployment rules and reimbursements for televisits are some of the leading reasons a lot of mental health practitioners continue to stay away from Telepsychiatry.

Telepsychiatry – Challenges and Barriers

Sudden changes in our routine often disrupt our behaviors. One of the most significant changes for mental health practitioners was the introduction of telehealth software for behavioural health. Here are some of the barriers that practitioners face while trying to make it work:

Comfort

When mental health practitioners have to move from in-person appointments to online meetings, the change can be disturbing. Although some medical professionals are relatively comfortable talking through a screen, some are not. Particularly the elderly who are not well equipped with technology and its usage. There are a lot of psychiatry EHR platforms that are simple to understand and are made specifically to cater to this bracket. 

Implementation

Implementing Telepsychiatry software for primary care physicians is yet another common problem. Even today, no federal state has declared that practitioners are to be given the same reimbursement with Telepsychiatry as with face-to-face meetings. Even before COVID-19, only five states had implemented laws to ensure that practitioners will receive the same or equivalent amount with Telehealth as compared to in-person meetings.

During COVID-19, 21 states decided to invest in Telepsychiatry software for psychiatrists. However, only 13 of those states were able to establish parity laws successfully. However, that still leaves out a lot of states who are not yet ready for the change.

Another deterrent to telehealth implementation is the cost involved. Telepsychiatry software cost around  $300. However, providers have the option of low-cost telehealth software ( $35 to $50) albeit with lesser functionality.

Licensure laws

A health practitioner wishing to practice across state lines must be licensed in all those states.  All states have different licensing process and laws, which makes this process troublesome for most. Exceptions are available during the pandemic; however,  there is little clarity around them.

So far, 12 states offer special licenses to practitioners for Telepsychiatry across state lines. Also, six states have a special registration process for practitioners that enables them to practice across state lines.

Although not all, many states have started reimbursing practitioners for private payers and Medicaid.

Reimbursement (Medicaid)

  • Twenty-two states reimburse for online patient monitoring.
  • Fourteen states offer reimbursement for the store and forward.

Reimbursement (Private Payer)

  • Forty-one states manage and govern telehealth reimbursement policies in regards to private payers.
  • Six states have successfully implemented private payer parity laws.

Best Practices to implement Telepsychiatry software

Now that we’ve talked about some of the significant problems that COVID-19 had brought upon us when it comes to Telepsychiatry. It’s time to talk about how you can reach out to your patients online with a Telepsychiatry solution. Here are some of the best practices to keep in mind when implementing your Telepsychiatry solution.

Creating an Internal Implementation Committee: An internal implementation committee can help guide the integration process and seamlessly introduce Telepsychiatry to your practice while keeping costs low.

Maintaining Patient Experience: When implementing such a massive change to your organization, make sure you don’t start missing out on the patient experience. After all, the patients are the whole reason you’re implementing a Telepsychiatry EHR Solution.

Start Small: Instead of implementing the change in your whole practice at once, take it step by step. Introduce one service at a time and shift to it gradually.

Every Penny Counts: A Telepsychiatric solution can be as simple and as extensive as you want. However, make sure to include all of the costs of implementation such as warranty, subscriptions, add-ons, support. This will also help you determine an accurate ROI.

Choosing Your Telepsychiatry Solution

The right software for you will depend on the functionality you need as well as your budget. If you intend to  include Telepsychiatry as a long term service in your practice make sure you have the following:

  • The telepsychiatry EHR shoftware should be HIPAA compliant
  • The video and audio quality should be good
  • You should have a strong internet connection

Here are the top rated full-suite EHR products available in the market:

AthenaHealth EMR: Athenahealth EMR is suitable for medium to large scale practice where you want to save time and ensure your patients receive timely mental health. What makes AthenaHealth unique is that it’s fully embedded with all of the services you would need from patient scheduling to billing management. Also, they also offer group video meetings to help you and your caregiver team to talk extensively with your patient.

AdvancedMD EMR: AdvancedMD EMR, as the name suggests, is ideal for large-scale practices where you want to ensure medical diagnoses, patient support, and seamless online appointments with your mental health patients. To help your practice stand out from the rest, AdvancedMD offers you an appointment dashboard, one-click EHR scheduling system, as well as a separate patient portal. 

Drchrono EMR: Drchrono EMR was built keeping small to medium-scale practices in mind. This solution ensures a cost-effective approach to providing you with all the services you need to cater to your patient’s mental health. Drchrono is a bit more creative telehealth solution than the others. It offers patient portals, online scheduling, automated emails, and Kiosk mode. If you want to reduce your administrative burdens, then Drchrono is the ideal choice.

If you are looking for low cost options and would be willing to compromise on functionality check out low cost Telehealth Software.

 You can also check our telehealth software reviews and pricing

Conclusion - Going the Extra Mile

There is no telling how long COVID-19 might last. So to ensure your psychiatry practice stays afloat during the pandemic, you must shift to a Telepsychiatry solution.

If you’re looking for support in finding the right solution, contact us today at (661) 384 7070 for a complimentary session with one of our experts.

telepsychiatry infographic

What to Look for in Physical Therapy Software

Physical therapy software

As with any other medical practice, physical therapists also require a fully integrated specialty-specific EMR solution that offers functionality different from software programs geared towards primary care and related specialties. A suitable EHR framework helps the therapists to improve patient care and reduce traditional paper recording of patient data. An EMR system for these practices should help therapists to integrate and streamline all aspects of patient care. While there may be some features similar to the ones offered in primary care software, a physiotherapy EMR program must support robust documentation, billing, scheduling, treatment plans, compliance, and assessments for multiple patients being seen on a regular and recurring basis. 

Here’s what you should add in your list of considerations while looking for a better quality physical therapy software:

Simple, Robust, and Customizable Documentation

A physical therapy practice management software should allow for fast and simple note-taking, accelerating the entire physical therapy documentation process. This will enable therapists to focus on patients instead of note-taking. Look out for a system that allows you to create a tailor-fit documentation template and control your notes’ objective and subjective aspects. 

The EMR system should be flexible enough to let you narrate your clinical decision pathway. It must adapt to the workflow of your practice, not the other way around.

Faster Billing

As it is hard for medical practitioners to deal with the billing tasks, a physical therapy billing software should allow clinicians to perform quick billing and reduce the overall time to complete a task. Therapists should be able to bill the claims and follow up with the patients to increase referrals. A claim should be automatically scrubbed and submitted to the billing software for biller review. An ideal EMR system enables billers to push a button to edit and scrub the claim against millions of pre-programmed payer rules. With another click, the claims should be submitted to the insurance company electronically.

Consider a system that is built with the ‘end in mind,’ so you can run a profitable and streamlined practice.

Alert System

The billing system of a physical therapy EMR solution should have an automated alert system that notifies users to append the KX modifier if a patient exceeds the therapeutic gap. This prevents denials from payers who cite the reason “Maximum Benefits Reached.” Additionally, there should be alerts for upcoming reevaluations, progress notes, documents that need to be reviewed, physician clarification requests, and canceled appointments.

Look for a system that includes a whole package and not just supports a few basic features.

Better Quality Control

An EMR solution for physical therapy practices should help users manage their overall quality of services. It must enhance clinical productivity by supporting physical therapists in the diagnosis procedure. Ensure that the solution you opt for is secure and offers data integrity, so your records will not be misplaced, lost, or damaged.

Keep an eye on the solution that promises to offer data security. 

Automation of Tasks

A physical therapy software solution should be able to automate multiple tasks, such as documentation and prescription management, that otherwise are difficult to manage if manually done by the staff. The software should streamline all the processes and procedures of the practice so as to allow the staff to provide the optimal level of care to patients.

Remember, automation is the key.

Forwards ICD-10 Codes

A physiotherapy EMR solution should take forward ICD-10 codes from one visit to another. Most of the time, the diagnosis code remains consistent with physical therapy encounters. The billing system of your software should automatically extract the diagnosis codes from the previous visit and give complete control to the biller. It must also enable the biller to edit the diagnosis field before the claim is billed out in case changes are required in the codes for the current visit.

So, add ICD-10 notes in your consideration list.

Easy Scheduling Management

The EMR solutions for physical therapy practices store patient records digitally, making scheduling tasks easier to manage. It should enable healthcare experts to easily track and manage their patients without struggling with complex-to-navigate paper records. So make sure the it comes with physical therapy appointment scheduling software!

Consider an EMR that takes all your scheduling woes away.

Creation of Payer Specific Rules

The billing software for your practice should be customizable and flexible enough to let you set up checkpoints. It must allow clinicians to set up payer-specific rules to ensure clean claims submission and prevent denials. Medicare will accept G0283 instead of CPT 97014 for physical therapy practices.

Look for a system that sorts this for you.

Custom Physical Therapy Billing Reports

Physical therapists should be able to generate customized physical therapy reports that help them diagnose the overall functioning of their practice. If your physical therapy report billing software can generate customized billing reports, you can track your practice performance and determine important revenue cycle metrics.

Don’t forget to consider this aspect while selecting the EMR solution for your practice as this makes for a better quality physical therapy software.

We have listed the basic features that a physical therapist should look for when selecting an EMR system for their practice. It is also suggested they ask for demos before making an actual purchase so you can ensure you’re getting the best fast billing physical therapy software.

Physical therapy software infographic

Merit-Based Incentive Payment System Update During COVID-19

merit-based incentive payment

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released multiple updates to account for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System reporting. Information about the COVID-19 is kept fluid and regularly updated by the CMS. MIPS also recommends clinicians to check state and federal health department websites for regular instructions and updates.  So the details below can also serve as merit-based incentive payment system pros and cons.

Second-year performance results are out

We present you with five notes on MIPS payment adjustments and scores from the 2018 performance year which serve as merit-based incentive payment system quality measures:

  • A good percentage of clinicians in MIPS — 98 percent — avoided negative punishment adjustment in 2018. A year before, about 5 percent of clinicians received a negative payment adjustment.
  • Almost 84 percent of clinicians earned an “exceptional performance” position, which resulted in positive payment adjustments ranging from 0.2 percent to 1.68 percent.
  • Some clinicians — 13 percent — received payment adjustments of 0 percent to 0.2 percent.
  • About 356,000 clinicians participated in MIPS through Advanced Alternative Payment Models in 2018, a 15,000 clinician increase from the last year. 
  • About 84 percent of small practices and 97 percent of rural practices earned a positive adjustment in 2018, and almost 74 percent of small practices and 93 percent of rural practices received a positive payment adjustment in 2017.

CMS has introduced guidance for MIPS during COVID-19

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance documents on 2nd July, 2020. The documents provided information on the allowance of telehealth encounters for the Eligible Clinician and Eligible Professional electronic clinical quality measures (eCQMs) used in CMS quality reporting programs for the 2020 and 2021 performance periods. The guidance is directed towards eCQMs used in the including advanced alternative payment model:

  • Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program for Eligible Professionals
  • Quality Payment Program: The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (Advanced APMs)
  • APM: Primary Care First (PCF)
  • APM: Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+)

A lot of clinicians were also wondering what is merit based incentive payment system and hopefully their confusion will be cleared by this information. The guidance documents released by the CMS show the telehealth-eligible eCQMs for their particular performance periods. There are 42 telehealth-eligible eCQMs for the year 2020 but only 39 for the 2021. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) explains that where an encounter can be included in an eCQM if it is identified with a telehealth-eligible code regardless of whether the encounter was provides via telehealth or in-person unless otherwise indicated by CMS in the eCWM definition statements or in the guidance. 

CMS also informs that there may be some instances when quality action can’t be executed during the telehealth encounter and states, “it is the eligible professionals’ and eligible clinicians’ responsibility to make sure they can meet all other aspects of the quality action within the measure specification, including other quality actions that cannot be completed by telehealth.”

Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program for Eligible Professionals

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken multiple measures to promote interoperability programs for eligible professionals during COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know:

  • CMS allows medical professionals who have been rattled by the coronavirus pandemic to submit an Extreme & Uncontrollable Circumstances Application. If approved by the authorities, they will reconsider MIPS performance categories for 2020.
  • Clinicians must be able to show how their practice has been affected by the pandemic for payment adjustment based on the merit-based incentive payment system.
  • According to the American College of Cardiology’s summary of the rule changes, CMS will not be using data from the first six months of this year to calculate any of its quality metrics for 2020.  
  • Participating COVID-19 clinical trials can earn MIPS-eligible professionals 20 points as reminded by ACC. Members need 40 points to get the maximum score in the MIPS Improve Activities category.

Telehealth Toolkit for Physicians

software finder logo

Telehealth Toolkit For Physicians

Telehealth has seen a drastic increase over the past two months due to COVID-19. As CMS pushes for its adoption, there is considerable confusion regarding legislature, flexibilities, and reimbursement for telehealth services.

Software Finder Telehealth Toolkit will try to answer all your questions regarding the adoption of Telemedicine during COVID-19 and beyond.

Feel free to download our free resources. In case there are questions, please send an email to our resident telehealth experts at info@softwarefinder.com, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Adopting Telemedicine During COVID-19 Webinar Series

Webinar 1: How to successfully implement Telemedicine in your practice for COVID-19

Learn about:

• Latest directives from CMS, private insurers, and DEA regarding Telemedicine

• A regulatory environment expanding or prohibiting the use of telehealth technology by providers

• Tips for documenting telehealth visits

• Steps for successful implementation

Webinar 2: Getting Paid for Telemedicine during COVID-19 and beyond

Learn about:

• Coding for a Telemedicine Visit

• Coding Tips and Billing Case Studies

• Case Study for Documentation

• E-prescribing a controlled substance through Telemedicine

Webinar 3: 5 Tips to Build a Successful Telehealth Practice

Learn about:

• What are some of the standard operating procedures and protocols that can be implemented for a successful telehealth model?

• How do you choose and manage the right technology?

• What are some of the clinical/documentation considerations you need to make?

• How do you maximize reimbursement?

Top Telemedicine platforms & their pricing

Are you looking to adopt telemedicine software in your practice?

Browse from our recommended list of software to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can provide telehealth services?​

During COVID-19, there are no changes to the list of eligible professionals under Medicare. You can learn more through our webinar.

What are the flexibilities for the adoption of Telemedicine under COVID-19?

  • Coverage for more services under Medicare.
  • Payment parity for in-office and telehealth visit by Medicare & some private insurers.
  • The originating site requirement has lifted. You can now see a patient in the comfort of their homes.
  • The established patient requirement has been removed temporarily. You can extend this service to both new and existing patients during COVID-19.
  • Non-HIPAA compliant solutions such as Face-time can be used during the emergency.
  • The DAE is allowing the prescription of controlled substances via telehealth technology.

How much will you get paid for televisit?

Medicare, some private insurers, and most states have announced payment parity for telehealth during the COVID-19 emergency.

What are the flexibilities for the adoption of Telemedicine under COVID-19?

No, under Medicare and most private insurers there is a distinction between:

  1. Televisit: audio and video conferencing between a provider & patient.
  2. E-visit: Secure email communication between patient and provider.
  3. Virtual check-in: A telephone call between a patient and a provider usually initiated by the patient.

The reimbursement amounts, documentation, and regulations associated with these are different. Please watch our webinar to learn more.

What is the guidance on getting patient consent for telemedicine visits?

Each state and insurer has its own guidelines on patient consent. While some require proper documentation of consent before each visit, others are allowing for one time verbal or written consent to be documented once. Please get in touch with your malpractice insurer to learn more.

How should I document for a televisit?

Do what you would for an in-office visit for the same E/M code. Documentation will be vitally important in getting maximum reimbursement.

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Advantages of Medical Billing Services and Software

Advantages of Medical Billing Services

In today’s evolving healthcare marketplace, medical billing services are no longer a novel approach. There are many reasons why a medical practice should not go without considering the benefits of medical billing software. Outsourcing these systems proves to be a strategically advantageous point for medical experts as it typically produces greater cost savings following its superior systems, streamlined framework, improved technologies, and experts laden with specialized knowledge and experience. No wonder, physicians, practice managers, hospitals, and healthcare facilities have embraced using medical billing services for doctors to spruce up bottom lines.

We will take a moment to utilize this space to explore the benefits of medical billing services. Let’s take a look at them.

Let’s you Focus on Patient Care

It is always challenging for medical professionals to manage administrative tasks, along with serving the patients. By trusting medical billing services or employing medical billing software, practitioners can get back doing, but they are supposed to do: treating patients and practicing medicine. There are many benefits of outsourcing medical billing services. These specialized billing services not only generate more revenue but also help users create and sustain a more successful healthcare care organization with a loyal patient base. Medical experts can thus free themselves from the woes of navigating between payers and regulatory requirements.

A Subject Matter Expert

Experienced and well-trained medical billers can deal with the tasks of billing and claims more professionally. In most healthcare settings, these full-time tasks are expected to be completed in part-time hours allotment, and if not dealt carefully, mistakes can be made. Thus, trusting medical billing operations to a dedicated system or a specialized service can result in better outcomes. It not only reduces the number of rejected claims but also reviews claims for error before they are forwarded to the payer. So, it is always better to outsource billing services in order to ensure accuracy and submissions in a timely manner.

Improves Patient Satisfaction

Outsourcing medical billing vendors enable users to focus exclusively on patient care. Medical billing services have experienced professionals who maximize your revenue by ensuring that each code gets correct reimbursement, errors are identified quickly, and denials are followed up instantly. On the other hand, medical professionals can focus on providing excellent patient care without stressing about completing the daily billing operations of their facility.

Saves Money and Accelerates Cash Flow

Saving money is the primary reason behind why medical practices prefer outsourcing medical billing services. It lets healthcare facilities save on salaries, benefits, and training costs. Most hospitals prefer specialist vendors to receive high-quality services at low costs. Medical billing services cost vary according to whatever package and services you choose to opt for. 

Medical billing software and services enable users to maintain a steady cash flow and quicker collection regardless of the staffing situation. Healthcare practices can get greater economies of scale by trusting a specialized firm for performing medical billing tasks.

Improves efficiency

Hiring a medical billing service lets you automate your billing tasks without having you to spend multiple staff hours on doing the same. You can get back to your patients without worrying about rejected claims or collections that once caused you so many headaches. This way, you can concentrate on finishing the work, that’s really your job and improve your medical practice’s overall efficiency. And if you are on the smaller side,  then you really need to invest in medical billing services for small practices to make yourself as efficient as possible.

No capital expenses

Your medical billing service or software should be a cloud-based solution as it comes with multiple advantages, with the peace of mind topping the list. You don’t have to worry about the finances or space to support the capital expenses needed to execute the system. The medical billing services cost will be much less for you overall in the long run!

Billing at the highest level

Outsourcing a medical billing service reduces your workplace labor spending on claims and billing, but it also helps you earn additional money by billing your services at the highest billable level. These systems include self-coding software specifically developed to recognize revenue opportunities that may otherwise be missed when filing manually. So, your service can pay for itself in no time which is why  medical billing services for doctors is becoming such a popular option.

State-of-the-art technology

Healthcare is a dynamic space; each day, you come across a new technology. It continually bombards you with the information about the latest process, tool, or platform available to help your practice. It is just the same with billing. Trust medical billing services help you ensure that the technology being used in managing your claims is always cutting edge. You do this for your own good and get results without headaches of spending any capital costs. Besides, your vendor likely offers you a technology solution that adapts to your practice’s existing workflow, bringing your electronic medical records, practice management, and billing operations in one place.

It is not that you can never go wrong with a medical billing vendor, but if you choose one wisely, it can benefit you in ways you never knew.

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Who are the largest EHR vendors in 2021?

Largest EHR Vendors

Electronic Health Records help medical practices digitally record patient information and streamline daily workflows. These multi-faceted systems put medical and administrative functions under one roof.  There are multiple EHR vendors to choose from, but budgets, expertise, workflows, and business scope may vary. Here is where we will explore the major players in the EHR market and provide you with a list of top EHR vendors. Our top EHR vendors include: 

Allscripts

Allscripts is a comprehensive practice management, EHR, revenue cycle management system designed for small to mid-sized physician practices and hospital organizations. The solution covers multiple areas of clinical care, including surgery, population health, emergency department, anesthesia, and more.

Allscripts Paragon product is offered for community clinics and smaller healthcare practices. The Sunrise product line is aimed at Ambulatory practices and large organizations.

Allscripts Practice Management walks practitioners through the entire process of revenue cycle, from eligibility verification to patient collection. The vendor also offers a fully-functional suite of integrated financial decision support, budgeting, and long-term planning solutions. 

Allscripts has a history of acquiring and merging with other vendors, such as Eclipsys, Practice Fusion, Misys, etc. Their solutions are usually rated highly by the audiences. In 2012, the company had to put up with an internal struggle between the Chairman and some directors.

The company has 30 years of experience in developing healthcare software. Allscripts operates mainly around the Eastern part of the US, but has some offices internationally. They sometimes outsource some of their support and development. Allscripts offers an internship program that could be considered as an excellent option to start a career.

2019 revenue: $1.77 Billion

Cerner

Cerner is publicly traded, and is being used in over 35 countries. It is the largest or probably the second largest Health IT vendor, depending on the criteria (number of users vs. revenues). The Cerner EMR can be deployed on the cloud when used on-site. It has features that support multiple data entry options, such as voice, text, structure, and code words. The software is integrated with labs and pharmacies.

Cerner produces enterprise-wide clinical applications for multiple areas in healthcare – clinics, hospitals, labs, primary care, and more. In 1979, Neal Patterson founded Cerner – he was considered a great visionary by many in the Healthcare IT industry. Patterson died from cancer in 2017, and was replaced by Brent Shafer in early 2018. 

Cerner produced most of its Health IT products on a single unified platform. The company matured into the Cerner Millennium, as an upgrade to its HNA System. Ever since the introduction of Millennium, the company has continued to evolve, with revenue increasing to $1.1 billion in 2005 from $245.1 million in 1997.

They also announced an acquisition of Siemens Health Systems for $1.3 Billion in 2014.

Cerner won a $4.3 billion contract with the Department of Defense in 2015. They have also won a 10 Billion bid for the VA in 2017. The vendor joined hands with Leidos as their implementation partner – the technology service contractor with extensive experience in Federal contracting.

Their solutions get mixed reviews from users. They have also had some major implementation failures that resulted in lawsuits from medical organizations. However, they are still one of the largest EMR vendors in the country. 

2019 Revenue: $5.6 Billion

eClinicalWorks

eClinicalWorks was established in 1999. The company has been offering services that include the eClinicalWorks EHR for hospitals and practices, patient engagement, revenue cycle management, population health management, and interoperability. They have their operations in Westborough, MA and have offices in New York, California, Georgia and Illinois. It is a privately-held vendor catering to Ambulatory settings focused primarily on a cloud-based platform. They developed an EHR offering for acute care hospitals in March 2018. 

The company has recently been hit with major lawsuits, one being an allegation that they forged data in the software used for US Federal certifications.  

They are a small company, so they don’t offer several jobs. Because of their ongoing legal problems, they are not the right career choice at this time. 

2019 revenue: $600 Million

Athenahealth

Athenahealth, a cloud-based software, was established in 1997 by Todd Park, former Chief Technology Officer for the US Federal Government and Johnathan Bush (cousin of former President George W. Bush). They initiated as a women’s health and birthing center in San Diego and later began operating their functions in Watertown, MA. Athenahealth offers several features for viewing lab results, making lab orders, and linking results directly to the patient’s chart. They happen to be counted as one of the top EHR vendors in the USA.

The Athenahealth EHR allows users to enter data and other relevant information verbally using the voice-recognition feature. The web portal feature is used to get lab test results and make prescription renewals. Messaging features facilitate communication between patients and doctors. This initiative of Bush and Park resulted in excellent clinical outcomes but was forced to close the clinic due to high costs.

For larger Healthcare systems and Ambulatory services, athenahealth offers athenaOne and athenaClinicals. The company considers its clients’ feedback to proactively analyze numerous data points from the software to prevent or sort out issues in regulatory compliance, billing, and physician compliance. They help practices to understand costs associated with therapies and procedures and minimize their accounts receivable days.  

They have multiple open positions, especially for those with existing experience in project management, technical, and user experience areas.

2019 revenue: $5.7 Billion

Nextgen

NextGen was established in 1978 as Quality Systems, Inc and is a publicly-traded Health IT vendor. Based in Horsham, PA, NextGen also has its operations in MO and CA. NextGen provides several services, including analytics, electronic data interchange (EDI), revenue cycle management, clearinghouse, financial services, and EHR. They have merged and acquired many EHR vendors, including Opus, HealthFusion, and Micromed. 

NextGen has set up much of their business in specialty and Ambulatory markets but now also offer an enterprise solution for larger Healthcare practices. The software has been supporting 155,000 healthcare professionals. It additionally serves quality measures, patient engagement, clinical documentation, and practice management via a patient portal. The company has a Health Information Exchange.

2018 revenue: $529 Million

Epic

With almost 40 years of experience, Epic has put on its A-game in revenue, enterprise clinical, and population health software. The company was founded in 1979 by Faulkner and Judy. Their current software support over 250 million patient records. They currently occupy the biggest market share in the EHR market thus topping the list of largest EMR vendors in the country. 

The company has fewer revenues than Cerner but has managed to get its products into the most prominent healthcare system in the US, such as Mayo, UCLA, Johns Hopkins, UCSF, and the University of Washington. They are counted as one of the top EHR systems 2020 as well! 

2019 Revenue: $2.9 Billion

Kareo

Kareo is a cloud-based provider of EHR, practice management, and revenue cycle for small medical practices. It allows healthcare professionals to quickly list medications, create patient profiles, and history of operation. The company is privately-held, located in Irvine, California. 

They are a staple in any top 5 EHR vendors list you might come across! Kareo acquired the billing company ECCO Health in 2013. Their software allows users to update information and search for profiles. They provide superbill creation that automatically reflects the patient’s assessments into their charts. The messaging feature additionally facilitates communication between doctors and patients.

2015 Revenue: $56 Million

Greenway Health

Greenway Health is a privately-held provider of Health IT solutions for clinical documentation, practice management, and revenue cycle management. The company is sort of a combination of several firms that have been around for a while: Vitera, SuccessEHS, and Medical Manager. They are located across the Midwest and South. 

Greenway offers products for multiple specialties, including dental records and urgent care. They have several open positions listed in different job functions.

2017 Revenue: $350 Million

Practice Fusion

Practice Fusion was developed in 2005 with a unique business model. The company supports over 600 pharmacies, labs, health systems, and imaging centers. It also offers features, such as scheduling, charting, billing, lab integration, e-prescribing, secure messaging, and more. Their software can be integrated with cloud-based billing services and workflows digitally to outside billers.

The company initially made the product free to sign up, but they would charge for some add-ons and implementation services. They used to generate revenues through the ads that would display randomly, and by reselling clinical statistical data from their users. Practice Fusion was allowed to sell patient data, such as which medications are prescribed for different conditions. They stripped out all the personally identifiable information.  

Allscripts acquired the company in early 2018, and that model came to an end. Their free of cost solution ended on May 31, 2018, and all the providers were required to sign up for a paid subscription. Allscripts has not moved any of the operations for Practice Fusion yet.

Market Share of Top EHR Vendors

It is important to do a EHR vendor comparison in terms of size to have an idea of how well they’re doing. Here’s the percentage for recent market share for EHR implementations in the Inpatient hospital market in the United States based on their revenues, ambulatory vs. inpatient usage, number of providers using a system, and implementation in small, medium, or large hospitals:

  • Epic (33%)
  • Cerner (28%)
  • Meditech (16%)
  • Allscripts (5%)
  • McKesson (4%)
  • Others (14%)

EHR vs. Paper for Better Care Management During COVID-19?

Since the coronavirus spread globally in the past year, it’s changed the way doctors function in the workplace. Also, social distancing has put a financial strain on practices, especially on those that have not put in place communication technologies such as telemedicine to continue seeing patients.

Do EMR systems facilitate or hinder the delivery of better care during a pandemic? 2020 is turning out to be a good test case for this hypothesis. Here is what we have learned so far.

Telehealth Software is essential for Social Distancing
Paper records have limitations
EHR Systems Optimize Workflow Especially During a Pandemic
EHR Platforms Collect Quality Data
Keeping Track of COVID-19 with EHR Dashboards
Are Current EHR systems up to the mark?

Telehealth Software is essential for Social Distancing

Since the virus is highly contagious, it would be irresponsible to allow high volumes of people into any facility. Therefore, hospitals, clinics, and small practices must implement the use of telehealth software to limit the spread.

It would be difficult for patients to practice social distancing if they don’t have access to telehealth systems. Any practice that still works on a paper system will have to see patients in person during emergencies, which can be detrimental to you and your employees.

Practices that utilize telehealth systems will decrease the overcrowding in hospitals and potentially flatten the curve. Additionally, practitioners can prescribe and send patients medication remotely. It will protect the patient and doctor from likely getting infected with COVID-19.

Paper Records have Limitations

Handwritten prescriptions and paper records can’t be shared over a computer system. Scanning machines could work, but this takes time, and handwritten digital faxes aren’t always clear. Moreover, if you don’t have the correct paper filing system, it can be challenging to find patient records.

It’s expensive to photocopy and store documents, and also it’s easy to destroy paper-based emergency health records. With digital EHR systems, you can share data with other hospitals from your PC or SmartPhone. Typically EHR software has cloud computing so you can store thousands of records on an application.

Digital EHR records are easy to retrieve so you can assist patients and doctors with any information they may require. With a comprehensive EHR, you can do the following:

  • Track patient medical history
  • Structure treatment plans
  • Allow access to evidence-based tools
  • Electronically communicate and provide support
  • Reporting and tracking population health

All data is captured clearly on a digital EHR system, so there is no confusion when prescribing medication to patients. Everything is online, so patients can get prescriptions directly through the EHR without exposing themselves and others to the risk of contracting COVID-19.

EHR Systems Optimize Workflow Especially During a Pandemic

Since COVID-19 struck, hospitals have had an influx of patients who have contracted the virus. At the time of writing, there have been 22.3 million confirmed cases and 14.3 million recoveries globally. However, these statistics change on a daily basis and only includes data from those who’ve been tested. There will be more cases.

So for facilities to accommodate the increase in patients, they need to optimize their workflow.

EHR software allows doctors to work fast because they can enter data quickly. The goal is to have patient records available to anyone who may need it. With EHR systems COVID-19 test results can be retrieved fast, which saves a lot of time and helps healthcare workers tend to more people in a day.

You’re able to tell your patients whether they have a positive or negative status as soon as you get lab results. You can share this information with your patients through your EHR application without them having to come on to the premises, once again preventing unnecessary contact between various parties.

EHR Platforms Collect Quality Data

Switching from paper systems to EHR platforms helps you and other doctors collect quality data. For doctors to make decisions on the correct course of action, they need high-quality data from multiple sources. EHR platforms allow doctors and labs to share data through apps so they can stay up to date with stats and make informed decisions.

Viruses evolve; therefore, doctors and researchers must keep a watchful eye to monitor any changes that might affect how the disease is transmitted. If there are changes, this information must be sent out immediately so doctors can take the necessary precautions and actions. An EHR platform makes data sharing much more manageable. 

Keeping Track of COVID-19 with EHR Dashboards

On these systems, you can create reports on who has the virus and who doesn’t. It helps healthcare workers keep track of relevant data to track, such as:

  • Demographics
  • Immunization status
  • Laboratory test results
  • Radiology images
  • Allergies
  • Clinical data relevant to a patients care

To make it easier for practitioners to view data on COVID-19 cases,  many EHR systems have integrated a COVID-19 dashboard. Here are a few benefits you can experience with the COVID-19 dashboard:

  • Country leaders can learn more about hotspots and surges
  • Access to most of the country/state health systems
  • Researchers can make predictions based on the dashboard’s information
  • The ability to monitor virus patterns

For example, Athena EMR and Clinical Lab 2.0 both have integrated COVID-19 dashboards to assist researchers & doctors during the pandemic.  The athenahealth COVID19 dashboard helps hospitals track high-risk patients and also keeps a tab of which hospitals will require support for testing depending on data collected.

athenahealth

The Regenstrief Institute partnered with health organizations to gather as much data as possible on COVID-19 patients to improve healthcare practices. That means the collected data can be used dynamically to benefit people globally.

You can use COVID-19 EHR dashboards to help you prepare your practice for new cases and find additional information on the virus.

Are Current EHR systems up to the mark?

Many critics of EMR vendors have pointed towards the inability of the technology to share informatipn across systems effectively. They argue that all this valuable public health data exists in silos as EMR vendors have not been able to build genuinely interoperable systems that would have made dealing with the pandemic better.

In response, several of the top EHR manufacturers have joined the data-sharing coalition, which is pledging to at least partially fill the information void. The group has access to COVID data from about two dozen health systems and is expecting to add more.

Final Thoughts

Paper systems are outdated, expensive to maintain and decrease workflow, especially during a pandemic where there is much more to cope with.  EMR systems, though better than paper, are still a far cry from being able to collect and harvest valuable public health data needed for effective response.

Despite that, Electronic Health Records, eprescribing, and telemedicine software are the best bet we have right now to provide care in a socially distanced world.