Dr. Greg Shirk’s Chiropracic office in Mason City has moved to using electronic records for their patients, ahead of a law the Obama Administration spearheaded that calls for electronic records to be used by health care professionals and hospitals. Above: Dr. Greg Shirk looks over electronic medical records.|President Obama’s Economic Stimulus Plan that requires adoption and usage of electronic medical records by physicians and patient is beginning to be seen in more health care professionals’ offices. The trend is being seen in many offices that are involved in the health and well being of another person.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or “ARRA” calls for electronic medical records for all patients by 2014. Several years ago, a law called “The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was created to tighten privacy, and is widely used by all healthcare providers to protect patients’ confidential healthcare information. The ARRA broadens privacy protection so that companies can manage and make various forms of medical information more accessible using personal health records via the web. Built into the ARRA are incentives to be paid directly to hospitals and health care practices that adopt and have “meaningful use” of electronic medical records by 2014. Penalties will begin to be applied in 2015 for providers of care that do not move to these electronic records.
Dr. Greg Shirk, owner of Acute Care Chiropractic, located at 630 1st St NW, has taken advantage of the increased governmental push towards the adoption of electronic record system. “The sooner you get it done, the greater portion of the cost of the system is reimbursed. You don’t have to switch over, but you’re not going to get your full reimbursement when you file a claim,” explained Dr. Shirk. “This will help so all records on a patient can be pull up from doctor to doctor, prescriptions can be read easier, it’ll make sure patient is getting the right medication. It’s for patient’s safety, information, and easier for our audits.”
Lisa, a receptionist at the Acute Care Chiropractic office, says, “It’s going to be easier, but right now just getting used to the different routine in the program is the most difficult. It’s already easier than day one.”
The cost of the software that manages and maintains the patient electronic records can be very expensive, sometimes costing tens of thousands of dollars. This cost is partially off-set by funding opportunities in the ARRA.
Over time, electronic records will reduce the cost of medical care and increase the efficiencies of the administrative processes that surround medical information.