The Denver Post recently ran an editorial that got our attention and the attention of many in the medical practice management field. In "A failed checkup for digital records," the Post spotlighted an important but touchy issue: Medicare fraud fears amid the shift to electronic medical records (EMRs). The paper referenced recent work on the topic by The New York Times writing: "The Times, which examined Medicare data, asserted the move to e-records 'may be contributing to billions of dollars in higher costs for Medicare, private insurers and patients."
It's like one of those whodunit movies where the central character notices multiple laser-light spots dancing across his chest – courtesy of a bunch of guys with guns taking aim from afar. He's actually not the guilty party in the story, but in the confusion he still ends up in the cross-hairs.
Paranoia spawns yet more paranoia during periods of significant change. The U.S. is in one of those periods now. In any era, efforts to reform a vital system, like health care, would cause a lot of nail biting. In these days of rapid technological change, however, the speed and possible implications of that reform are fired too rapidly.
So, we're not surprised to read about problems – real, suspected, or simply feared – in the media. We take the potential for systemic abuses seriously. We also have to say, though, that blanket accusations by the media or anyone else that EMR software is culpable for such acts are unfair and unhelpful. New technologies and tools can be used for good as well as ill.
For more than 38 years, our role in healthcare has been to help private practice physicians improve the efficiency and profitability of their practice. In our experience, EMR software, whether we are implementing ours, or integrating our medical billing software with a third party EMR, is a tool to increase efficiency. It is not a tool to rip off Medicare, private insurers, or patients. It is a tool to improve the quality of care for patients.
We view EMR software companies collectively as an asset in America's quest for more efficient health care. While we welcome scrutiny, our industry remains committed to helping providers leverage digital innovations for improved patient outcomes. If your medical office team has questions or concerns regarding EMR, medical billing, medical coding, or other medical practice management issues, we are available to discuss the pros and cons. Contact us for support and information.