By Kim Castleberry, OD
An integrated EHR system improves accuracy between co-managing doctors, speeds reimbursement and can cut labor costs.
ROB BOTTOM LINE
Co-Management Facilitated by EHR
Kim Castleberry, OD
CEO/President, Plano Eye Associates
One office with revenues of $2 million annually.
Two doctors and 11 staff members.
Cost of EHR
$10,000 down payment with about $2,000 per year in annual service and maintenance fees.
ROI in Staff Reduction
EHR has allowed us to reduce our staff by over 50 percent since deployment, including no longer having the need of a part-time staffer to aid co-management. The practice went from 24 full-time employees to 11 full-time employees.
The ability to communicate easily and efficiently with other doctors is at the heart of successful co-management. My practice has found our EHR system to be an important tool in keeping doctors such as primary care physicians updated on the eye health of patients. These doctors, in turn, can more easily transfer information to our office on conditions like diabetes that impact vision.
For example, a primary care physician with an EHR system can program his system to automatically send my office the results of a diabetic patient’s last round of tests. That means that as soon as the patient leaves the primary care doctor’s office, my office would receive information about that patient’s varying blood sugar levels. It becomes easier with that information to conduct refraction and plan other facets of a treatment plan for the patient, including deciding how regularly the patient needs to be tested for eye diseases like glaucoma.
Facilitate Care Between Providers
Automated referral documents with clinically pertinent information facilitates care between providers. Prior to EHR, referral documents typically were hand-typed, dictated or the clinical notes simply copied and sent to other providers. EHR has automated this process providing concise, pertinent and legible documents automatically and in a more timely manner. Furthermore, electronic formatting of the documents allows for electronic transfer to other providers and/or patient health portals. The speedy sharing of data not only saves money, it improves quality and timeliness of care. For instance, we know precisely what medications were prescribed by the surgeon on the day of surgery, so we don’t have to rely on the patient’s memory of the encounter.
Reduce Staffing Needs
EHR makes co-management easier due to one click-document preparation of co-management data. When we see patients post-surgery, the exam documents can be automatically transmitted to the surgeon immediately upon completion of the exam without any staff intervention. Paper exams required dictation, transcription, printing and mailing documents taking time and staff resources. We co-manage an average of six patients a day with ophthalmologists and other doctors including primary care physicians for systemic conditions such as hypertension and high-risk medications, along with diabetes, as mentioned above.
Expedite OD Payment for Co-Managed Surgeries
EHR provides coding and billing support as well as automated communications with co-managing providers. ODs who co-manage cataract and LASIK surgeries will get paid their fees faster via use of an EHR. Most EHR systems provide billing support to practice management systems for the 54 and 55 coding modifiers, which provide one way to get paid for co-managed care, usually cataract surgery. Most EHRs allow for surgical coding with modifiers to split up the surgical global fee if desired.
By investing in an EHR system you can make co-management with other doctors a seamless process, resulting in the ability to better manage patient care.
Related ROB Articles
Kim Castleberry, OD, is CEO and president of Plano Eye Associates in Plano, Texas. To contact him: firstname.lastname@example.org.