Why automate your healthcare practice in 2012?  There are dozens of reasons - Here are the top 5:

1). Government HITECH incentive.  Do you regularly bill Medicare or Medicaid for your patient services?  If so, the HITECH incentives are the greatest reason to implement a healthcare IT system sooner rather than later. Under HITECH, medical professionals can qualify for up to $44,000 in Medicare EHR incentives by demonstrating "meaningful use" of a certified electronic medical record (EMR) system.  If your practice has 5 eligible healthcare providers, the total incentive for the practice could be as much as $220,000 over the next five years.  Incentives for implementing a EMR system will be significantly reduced after 2012. Medical professionals and healthcare facilities who service a large volume of Medicaid patients may qualify for up to $63,750 per eligible provider. Providers can only qualify for one program at any time and can change incentive programs only once after the first incentive payment is received.  Beginning in 2015, those healthcare providers who elect not to use an EMR will be penalized with a 1% Medicare fee reduction. Medical providers who choose not to implement an EMR after 2017 will face a 3% Medicare fee reduction and 5% Medicare fee reduction in 2019.  The HITECH incentive is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act package, not Health Care Reform.  Therefore it is not currently under review or likely to change or be repealed in the near future.

2). Reduction of Administrative Costs. Administrative costs for healthcare providers, account for an estimated 10 to 15 percent of total healthcare expenditures. Reducing these expenses and finding new ways to expand profitability are the solution to curbing escalating healthcare costs. Recent changes in our healthcare industry, are forcing businesses to explore new ways to collaborate, diversify and consolidate.  i3's Healthcare IT Solutions allow medical facilities and physicians to use information in new ways for more effective, efficient and affordable healthcare. Healthcare IT provides a variety of solutions to help quickly deliver ongoing administrative efficiencies and cost saving improvements for your medical practice.

3). Reduction of Healthcare Costs. Every medical practice is asking the question, how can we improve healthcare to our patients and at the same time significantly reduce costs? Delivering evidence-based medicine and changing the way we think about care management are the only way to arrive at this goal. Automated Healthcare IT systems allow the medical professional to use clinical data in a variety ways—collecting, analyzing, aggregating and sharing health information. This way, organizations can turn information at their fingertips into action that benefits the patient. Automated healthcare systems allow the professional to make better decisions faster, improving patient safety and many times reducing the cost of healthcare.

4). Enhanced Record Keeping. To reduce healthcare costs, improve patient care, and respond to governmental healthcare incentives and penalties, healthcare providers will have to be paperless. The medical community is capturing and managing patient data in a variety of new ways including electronic medical records (EMRs) and medical imaging devices. With the implementation of  these automated systems, organizations are better positioned to improve patient care as well as the financial impact of that care. It is estimated that nearly 90 percent of all hospitals in the United States, over the next 3 years will implement new EMR systems to meet meaningful use requirements for government mandates.

5). Sharing health information globally. Healthcare organizations are investing in automated healthcare systems as a means toward enhancing their individual practice and the patient care they provide. However, implementing and maximizing healthcare IT in a larger context is what will truly transform the healthcare industry. To provide better care for their patients, medical providers have to look beyond individual in-office systems to find ways to connect with other facilities. Sharing valuable information, allows the medical facility to provide the right care at the right time, revolutionizing healthcare altogether.  The end result is better outcomes, more accurate treatments, improved healthcare and ultimately saved lives.  In addition, identification of fraud and abuse will be more readily detectable.

This list is far from complete.  However, it should provide the average medical professional with plenty of incentive to consider a move to a new or upgraded automated healthcare system this year.

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Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.