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It is thought that family medicine physicians are primary care physicians who take care of patients of all ages from pediatrics through geriatrics. They specialize in managing and diagnosing a vast diversity of diseases that people face nowadays. More often they handle a number of patients in a day ranging from 22-25 on average and in extreme cases more than 30 patients daily. As a rule, a family physician can diagnose approximately 22-25 patients per day. Moreover, there are some cases when doctors are able to see up to 30 patients on a daily basis. To keep accurate records of these patients is an upward task for most; and thus, the need to have systems in place that provide an easy and convenient way of storing data, with proper practice of Management and Electronic Medical Recording. Practitioners like that and many others and also hospital facilities are slowly finding themselves enjoying more efficient ways of operation as well as reduced cost of doing business.
Key Functions in the PM & EMR
Key functions included in the Practice Management and the Electronic Medical Records for GMU should include:
The software should include a function that will enable both the physicians and the other relevant members of staff to track patient’s schedule and his/her appointments. This should include calendaring to check upcoming visits to avoid double bookings and make it easy for the healthcare providers to avoid unnecessary confusion.
The need to keep up lists of insurance payers is also a vital function because it will be used to offer a set of charges for specific services offered to a particular patient and for the healthcare provider to know which insurance company is responsible for payment of these costs. In an article by Lisa Girion, Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2008, the Blue Cross is indicated as one of several California insurers that have come under fire for issuing policies without checking applications and then canceling coverage after people incur major medical costs. To avoid this, the installation of a reliable system will make sure no fraud of the above mentioned nature should occur.
In addition, the PM should factor in a function that will enable the use of direct submissions of the insurance claims via electronic method through electronic claim clearinghouse.
Billing could be another headache where the use of outdated PM and EMR is in use, therefore, the vendor should also install a system that will enable the staff of GMU issue proper financial statement to its clients as well as for purposes of accounting.
For reasons of reporting, the vendor should consider a function that will help the user to extract detailed information that will include the financial performance of GMU as well as the patient’s financial history to avoid running down of the institution.
With a “new” Board of Trustees at GMU, the software provider should also consider to install a function that generates reports for the administration and the clinical staff of the practice for smooth running of the institution.
The software should have adequate space to store large data of the hospital that will include diagnosis and rules, referring specialists, available facilities among other vital information.
The qualified vendor should be able to integrate the EMR and PMS software for the convenience of the hospital since these two are inter-related. According to "EMR Software Information Exchange, January 25, 2011, one should keep in mind the need for interconnectivity with outside systems: local hospitals, labs, transcription services, and many others. It’s crucial that the vendors you are considering can now accommodate exports and imports via interfaces. You will want to exchange at least demographics, labs, meds, allergies, problems.
Finally the vendor should factor in the patient privacy by installing software that provides adequate confidentiality of the patient’s information, the system should be able to limit unauthorized persons from accessing any form of data in the system to avoid unwarranted lawsuits that would otherwise injure the hospital’s financial base and reputation.
Why Is It Needed to Buy the Software?
Purchasing this software is fundamental owing to the fact that it will enable smooth running of the hospital; this is by eliminating cumbersome use of hand written reports that occupy a major storage space that would be used for other purposes. This will also ease the staff’s work when it comes to gathering of personal set of data; since the electronic form will give a one-stop-shop thus saving on time so ensuring efficiency among the staff of GMU. The members of staff on board come from different backgrounds and their handwriting differs from one person to the other. This may pose a challenge of legibility of these data as some handwriting may be hard to read; but with electronic system there is a degree of standardization.
With a one-stop-shop data base, continuous updating of information will be made possible as compared to the manual one which may need the opening of new files. The electronic system also allows easy access to particular data required by different physicians simultaneously; for updating as compared to the manual one which can only be handled at a time. The use of PMS will also prevent needless loss of the institution’s resources; by tracking GMU’s financial performance as well as the patient’s financial history. The software will save GMU the time previously spent on paper work; while filing an insurance claim and the charges involved when done manually. More space will be made available for other use by the institution if the software is adopted.
According to the Medical Board of California, 2006, the facility also enjoys the custody of the records that include films and tracings from diagnostic imaging procedures such as x-ray, CT, PET, MRI, ultrasound, etc. This makes it possible for future references and training.
The Process of Selecting the Vendor
The preferred process of choice of vendors by George Mason HAP 410 Consulting Group would be open bidding; where the tender will be issued for interested parties to take part. The selection of a suitable candidate will be governed by the vendor’s ability to deliver software that provides the above mentioned functions.
These functions include adequate security of data, integration of PM and EMR system, provision of a cost-effective system which should also be user-friendly, a system that would give ideal service to GMU, the vendor should be connected to the claims clearinghouse, a vendor should have no conflict of interest with GMU as well as one with high levels of integrity because of the nature of confidentiality in the data in question.
Success of PM and EMR Implementation
Cost effective – the company should not spend too much money buying the software; they should take into consideration the amount of money that they have spent before purchasing the software. When buying the software, one should also consider the cost of maintaining the software. These are extra services and maintaining that will be required and the cost of hiring the technicians.
Time saving – the hospital should consider whether the software makes them more efficient; this is by ensuring that their work becomes easier. This can be made through evaluation to see whether the time they need to do a job reduces; through comparison with the previous time spent.
Space saving – the software should not take too much space or require the hospital to invest in extra space to place it; this is because the software should be meant to help them save space that is actually filled by the inefficient program that they are using now.
Easy access of data – the software should ensure the ability to access the required data without going through a long process that is time wasting; this is because the essence of the software should be to make data available more easily. Therefore, they should ensure that the software fulfils this factor because it is crucial.
Improved efficiency – the software should make the hospital more efficient by ensuring that the services it provides are quicker and it spends less time on the job.
Better services to the patients – patients should feel that the hospital services are getting better with the system. This is in terms of retrieving the patient’s records, serving them and giving them the right prescription. The software should ensure that time spent on the queues also reduces and emergencies are attended to within a short time.
Standardization of data entry – the data that the hospital has should have a certain way of keying it in order to make it easy to retrieve. The software should also ensure that the data that is already keyed should be correct and relating; this is to ensure that there is no conflicting information on a patient.
Easy monitoring of finances – this ensures that there is easy monitoring of the hospital’s finances; this is through keeping of accurate records that are up to date and the information contained in them is true. It gives a possibility to avoid the complications that arise from having the wrong financial information. It also helps the managers to notice any form of fraud that may take place in the hospital through retrieving financial statements when they are needed and easily reconciling them.
Better communication channels between departments – it enhances better and easier communication between departments through creation of efficient channels to transfer data from one computer to another between departments. This saves time and money that is used to print the documents and transfer them manually from one computer to another.
Improved transparency - the software should make the information that is available in the hospital easily accessible to the management staff. The data should also be easy to analyze to ensure that the management understands what is going on in the organization. This promotes transparency in the organization between departments and the management. This eliminates any form of suspicion that may be felt in the management of the hospital.