Mobile is now a whole practice experience

Lea Chatham, Editor-in-Chief, Getting Paid, Kareo

Lea Chatham, Editor-in-Chief, Getting Paid, Kareo

For years there has been strong interest from physicians in having a truly mobile electronic health record (EHR) solution. In 2012, a survey from Beckers Orthopedic and Spine found that 91 percent of physicians were interested in mobile EHRs. However, adoption of mobile EHRs has been slower than that of traditional EHRs – until recently.

According to the latest Physicians Practice Technology Survey, 67 percent of healthcare providers at medical practices use mobile devices for purposes such as accessing EHRs. However, a 2015 Black Book Rankings study found that only one percent of primary care and internal medicine doctors feel they are maximizing the use of their mobile clinical and business applications.

This may be in part because they are only using it for clinical purposes, and many are now looking to expand access to more billing and practice management functions. In a recent survey of those in the market for new billing solution, 21 percent of respondents cited mobile billing as a key component for their next purchase. While that might seem small, it represents a fast-growing interest in a relatively new solution.

Over half of all providers say that their top professional development goal is managing their practice more efficiently or cost effectively. Many now see mobile access to clinical, billing, and practice management data and tools as one of the ways to achieve that goal. As over half of all doctors also consider switching their EHRs, an integrated clinical and billing system on a mobile platform has a lot of appeal to help meet many goals.

“In the past what held doctors back from mobile was fear about productivity on a small format device,” says Tom Giannulli, MS, MD, Chief Medical Information Office at Kareo. “They worried that it would be too hard to document effectively and might take more time, but there are now EHRs that have native mobile applications that are made to work on the small format device and allow providers to use simple point and click or swipe navigation. When used correctly, a mobile EHR can actually make a doctor more productive and allow better interaction with the patient.”

This has certainly been true for AFC Physical Medicine and Chiropractic Centers, which uses a cloud-based practice management and EHR platform that offers secure messaging and scheduling across the system. They are now fully connected across their locations. “The value of our software is clear,” said Josh Bock, DC, Managing Partner at AFC. “All of our team members have access to the same up-to-the-minute information and can communicate easily through a secure system.” And soon they may also have access to real time billing data and reports on a mobile device.

Research supports that providers and staff experience better productivity and a faster learning curve on mobile. Mobile EHR users reported higher levels of satisfaction and fewer challenges with their EHR than their non-mobile counterparts. So, as practices look to be more efficient to stay competitive, extending mobile use and capabilities makes sense.

Managing a practice’s revenue cycle is only getting more complex. Claims need to be monitored closely so denials can be addressed quickly and patient due amounts can be transferred and billed as soon as ERAs come in. Real-time access to billing data can make it possible to monitor tasks and respond to inquiries from anywhere. A biller no longer has to be at their desk to address a patient question about a bill or to message a physician with a question about an encounter.

Mobile access allows all staff to be more responsive and efficient throughout their day by enabling them to manage tasks and communication at their desk or on the go. As a result, the practice can both care for patients effectively and ensure they get paid while giving staff more flexibility in the way they work.

And, ultimately retaining patients and quality staff are the things that keep the doors open.

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