Across the country, private healthcare practices are realizing the benefits of joining forces through non-profit networks like Physician’s Practice Organization, Inc. (PPO). Focused on clinics throughout Southeastern Indiana, the Columbus-based 501(c) (3) corporation helps its affiliates by managing their daily business operations. Its support includes negotiation of managed care contracts, accounting, information services, and group purchasing discounts, among other items.
PPO is continually seeking new ways to improve efficiency and quality of care for its practices. One of the most prominent discoveries in recent years is the power of Enterprise Practice Management (EPM) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software. According to Tim Collins, PPO Senior Systems Administrator, PPO knew that a comprehensive EPM and EMR offering would be of great value.
“Medical offices are very information-driven environments, and paper charts are a major source of frustration,” he stated. “Studies have repeatedly proven that paper records are costly, cumbersome and easily misplaced. They take up expensive storage space, plus the filing, retrieval and re-filing of paper records is labor intensive.”
After a thorough evaluation of vendors, PPO selected MedInformatix as the exclusive EPM/EMR software provider for its network members. Starting with six clinics, PPO has steadily rolled out MedInformatix systems to additional affiliates. Collins now says that all but three of the 17 PPO locations now have MedInformatix EPM and/or EMR applications.
MedInformatix’ integrated EPM and EMR applications facilitate the exchange of critical information between the clinical and administrative sides of practices, making billing, collections, claims, scheduling, reports, lab results, imaging, referrals and other clinical and practice procedures fast and largely error-free. Using pre-loaded templates, users can customize the applications to accommodate virtually any workflow.
“Each MedInformatix install has been relatively easy. Not many man-hours are required,” he observes. “We follow a flow sheet that coordinates rollout. The majority of time is spent in training, and even that isn’t overwhelming. MedInformatix is quick to offer help whenever it’s needed.”
On the clinical side, MedInformatix EMR has helped standardize care by improving accuracy and ensuring a consistent level of quality and service. “Our MDs can capture key information quickly, which speeds patient care. Also, we get higher quality documentation that doesn’t require transcription. Coding is determined at the appropriate level,” Collins notes. MedInformatix health records are understood even by patients, so when necessary, PPO affiliates can print out copies for their customers that make sense.
PPO office staffs find that electronic records are easier to distribute information to physicians in the course of a normal work day. “All messaging is handled within the EMR system, so no one needs to run up and down the hallway trying to deliver messages to the correct person,” said Collins. “This allows physicians to respond immediately to inquiries. What’s more, patient records are at the doctor’s fingertips, so they can have a quick and informed response for a customer’s question.”
Efficiency is just as apparent on the administrative side, where integration of MedInformatix’ EMR and EPM systems has improved billing accuracy while increasing both claim revenue and office productivity. “The EPM system’s Accounts Receivable functions have produced significantly lower AR days. We’ve been able to absorb extra business without a need to hire additional staff, since pulling charts is no longer necessary,” he stated. “The process of scrubbing claims of errors before submitting to insurance payers is much cleaner than before.”
Perhaps most impressive to Collins, who administrates the EPM and EMR applications for Physician’s Practice Organization, is how customizable the two platforms are.
“MedInformatix systems can be adjusted to suit any practice. That’s important to a network like ours,” he asserts. “Multi-specialty, cardiothoracic, OB/GYN—I’m able to tailor the applications to any practice’s needs. And when I have a question, the MedInformatix team is there with the answer. They’re my crutch.”
For more information about the MedInformatix’ integrated EPM and EMR applications, go to http://www.medinformatix.com/Products/fully_integrated_PM_and_EMR.htm.