Plastic surgeons may know everything they need to know about performing a successful cosmetic procedure, but it is not likely they bring the same level of expertise to the operational end of their practice. In fact, most plastic surgeons and dermatologists will probably admit they don’t want to put the same time and energy into the business portion of their practice as they do caring for patients. If practice management is not your forte, there are a number of tips that can help you run your office efficiently and cost-effectively without sacrificing quality of patient care.
Several states will require Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) in the near future. The question remains, is your state one of them? And if so, are you prepared?
New York is leading the charge and will require all controlled substances to be ePrescribed beginning March 27, 2015.
Currently, 49 states have state regulatory approval for EPCS (Montana and Missouri are the only two that don’t).
For a closer look at EPCS regulatory status by state, click on the EPCS Regulatory Status Map. To view pharmacy readiness by state or to search for EPCS-enabled pharmacies in your area, view Surescripts’ Pharmacy Enablement Map.
I opened my cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery practice about two years ago and I selected patientNOW primarily for its patented system to help with patient retention and growth. I also wanted a product that could be both an electronic medical record and point of sale system to manage my inventory and surgery fees.
Some states will require Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) in the near future. New York is leading the charge and will require all controlled substances to be ePrescribed beginning March 27, 2015.
The specialty of plastic surgery is no longer listed in the bottom 5 specialties reporting usage of electronic health records software, according to a report from SK&A.
In October 2010, only 25% of plastic surgeons reported office use of EHR. Listed among the bottom specialities at the time were psychiatry, plastic surgery, osteopathic manipulation, baritatrics and holistic medicine.
Within one year, plastic surgeons evidently adopted EHR at a rate that lifted them out of this bottom five, while the other specialties remained. Primary care physicians are believed to be leading the way in EHR adoption.
SK&A has a federal contract to measure EHR adoption. You can view the report document in PDF here: Physician Office Usage of Electronic Health Records Software
Categorization, organization and filtering of patient information is dramatically improved by electronic health records. This helps a physician manage patients more effectively and perform their own work more efficiently.
A study published last month in Health Affairs looked at 163 physicians in Massachusetts who were part of a pilot program organized by the state’s eHealth Collaborative.
Beginning in 2006, the group funded and set up EHR systems in different physicians offices in three towns: Brockton, Newburyport, and North Adams. They handled technical aspects and redesign of the physicians’ workflow.
In 2005, before the EHR was implemented, doctors were surveyed about creation of patient registries. Four years later, they were surveyed again.
Respondents showed a significant change in their ability to sort patients by specific factors. Although they could already sort by diagnosis, different registries became useful after EHR was implemented.
A quote from the abstract on HealthAffairs.org
Physicians who participated in the program increased their ability to generate some types of registries—specifically, for laboratory results and medication use. Our analysis also suggested that physicians who used their electronic health records more intensively were more likely to use registries, particularly in caring for patients with diabetes, compared to physicians reporting less avid use of electronic health records.
From 2005 to 2009, the participants’ ability to generate a registry based on lab results jumped from 44 percent to 78 percent. During the same period, registries for medications increased 33 percent to 83 percent.
Physicians who are just starting out, as well as those who are more experienced can embrace and benefit from the implementation of electronic medical records.
“If you have a practice that you want to transition to someone or perhaps sell, EHR is actually a very smart investment because you’ve essentially established a foundation for a modern practice,” says consultant Bruce Kleaveland.
Cost is the reason that most physicians hesitate to implement electronic health records, according to Miami physician Dr. Arnold Oper, who has been in practice for about 53 years. “They can’t see the jump of cost-effectiveness” says Dr. Oper.
“The NCHS survey found that 41 percent of office-based physicians plan to take advantage of the incentive payments, and 32.4 percent say they plan to enroll during stage 1 of the programs. NCHS data also show that 29.6 percent of primary care physicians have already adopted a basic EHR, a 50 percent increase over 2008’s adoption rate.”
A recent survey from the CDC says that roughly half of physicians are using digital records. About 51 percent of the 7,000 doctors surveyed this year reported at least partial use of electronic medical records (EMR).
Some doctors are using a limited system for basic needs like viewing lab results and prescription writing, while others (about ten percent) are using a completely functional EMR system. The data, particularly when you examine the trends over the past 9 years, reflect a major increase in the use of EMR (see graph).
According to the CDC report:
“Between 2009 and 2010, the percentage of physicians reporting having systems that met the criteria of a basic or a fully functional [EMR] system increased by 14.2% and 46.4%, respectively.”
The survey found a “significantly higher” percentage of doctors in certain states reporting use of EMR. Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Wisconsin, Utah and North Dakota topped the list. Florida, Louisiana and Kentucky showed significantly lower numbers of physicians reporting EMR use.