Category Archives: Electronic Health Records

How computer skills can translate to the medical office

By Jennifer Nelson

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As medical offices continue to shift toward all-electronic systems for billing, insurance claims and health records, personnel with computer skills will be highly desirable.
Today’s medical offices handle administrative and management duties while the doctors and health professionals care for patients. What kind of computer skills do you need in a medical office? Health care personnel set appointments, receive patients, manage health records and take care of billing and insurance — all electronically. Specialties also include medical coding and medical transcription.

 

Computer skills needed

Employees who can type quickly and accurately and who know or can easily learn state-of-the-art software and computerized medical billing, coding and scheduling will have the upper hand in being hired for a position in the medical office place.

Skills such as handling written communications, writing reports, managing databases, scheduling appointments and processing billing translate straight to the medical office. Health care staff also need to be familiar with the use of basic word processing and spreadsheet software, such as WordPerfect, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.

With the numerous changes in the health care industry due to federal incentives for the conversion to electronic health care information systems through 2016, medical insurance personnel with excellent computer skills will be vital to the operation of hospitals, clinics and private physicians’ practices.

Did you know that the median salary for medical service managers — those who run or manage a clinic, a hospital department or a physician’s office — was $88,580 in 2012? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics, medical-service-manager jobs are projected to grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, due to requirements of the Affordable Care Act, increased numbers of people with health insurance, and growing demand for medical services from the aging baby-boomer.

Likewise, positions for medical record personnel and health information technicians are expected to grow at the same rate. Those positions earned a median salary of $36,490 in metropolitan Philadelphia in 2013.

 

Doctors, nurses, billers and coders

Wherever medical services are performed, health care support staff — such as medical coders and billers — are also employed, including nursing care facilities, short-term rehabilitative hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, physical therapy clinics and nonprofit health care clinics.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ report on National Health Expenditure Projections for 2010-2020 report projected that, by 2020, national health spending is expected to reach $4.6 trillion.

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and expand, trained, professional health care support staff and managers will be needed to meet the challenges of keeping the health care industry running smoothly.

 


Jennifer Nelson is a Florida-based writer who has written for WebMD, MSNBC, CNN and others.

Affordable Care Act boosts job growth in medical records, billing

Medical_iPadWritten By: Jennifer Nelson

 

The Affordable Care Act is creating greater demand for medical office personnel who can handle its new requirements for billing, coding and digitizing medical records.

Not only are clinics, hospitals and private physicians’ offices restructuring how they do medical billing and record keeping to meet standards for uniformity, but through the ACA, also known as Obamacare, millions more people are obtaining health insurance, leading to more visits to doctors.

“Providers will see more patients, there’s more revenue over time and their practices will become more efficient,” said Daniel Kivatinos, chief operating officer and co-founder of DrChrono.com, a cloud-based electronic health records and electronic medical billing company that helps doctors bill their own claims electronically.

Frustration with new billing procedures and the abundance of work may also prompt doctors and clinics to outsource their billing, creating even more jobs with companies whose sole mission is to tackle health providers’ medical billing.

“Last year, $500 million of medical billing went through our software,” Kivatinos said.

 

Coding boom

Along with billing, medical coding requirements are being revamped extensively. Under the ACA, the system for coding medical procedures, called the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision — or ICD-10 — is requiring an increase in the number of codes from 13,000 to nearly 70,000 in 2015. Not only have coders been trained and brought up to speed on the new diagnostic codes that are required to submit claims, but also the increased workloads for coders have created additional job growth.

 

Medical records explosion

Another provision of the ACA requires that hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices make patients’ medical records available electronically. As a result, more than half of U.S. doctors and 80 percent of hospitals have digitized their records, according to recent reports.

The federal government has also created an incentive program to encourage medical practices to implement electronic medical records technology. The program, in which doctors and hospitals were paid between $44,000 and $64,000 to digitize their records, was said to cut health care costs by way of more accurate diagnoses, better communication and more selective medical testing.

“Facebook has your photo, but your medical record doesn’t yet,” Kivatinos said. “Someone’s face on a chart reduces medical errors dramatically.”

Plus, electronic medical records will be able to include drawings, images and video, and will allow doctors to upload information from the Internet and from FDA-approved devices like a patient’s blood pressure cuff or glucose meter.

Kivatinos said the focus will be on how to incentivize doctors to move to digital systems by creating great experiences for them with these new technologies.

These changes, and more on the horizon, will continue to create opportunities for people interested in working with medical records and billing. Additional training and increased numbers of positions are expected, at least in the short term, while medical-records personnel digitize all types of health records and patient information.

“It’s a healthcare renaissance,” Kivatinos said.

 


Jennifer Nelson is a Florida-based writer who has written for WebMD, MSNBC, CNN and others.

What Can You Do With a Degree in Electronic Health Records?

You say you’re interested in working in health care, but you’re not too comfortable around blood…or is it needles? That’s okay. Have you considered a career working with Electronic Health Records? If you are comfortable using computers, have an eye for details and accuracy, and are interested in working in the healthcare industry, obtaining an Associate degree in Electronic Health Records from P.I.T may be the route for you to take to an exciting career. There are several career paths within the field that may appeal to you.

Career Options

Medical records and health information technicians, commonly referred to as health information technicians, are responsible for organizing and managing the health information data of patients for practices, hospitals, and organizations. Health information technicians must ensure the data quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper and electronic systems by using a variety of classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories. Health information technicians do not provide direct patient care but they do meet regularly with registered nurses and other healthcare professionals to obtain additional information ensuring the accuracy and completion of records and to clarify diagnoses as needed.electronic health records programs

Health Information Technicians can also specialize in many aspects of health information. Some work as Medical Coders, sometimes called Coding Specialists, or as Cancer Registrars. Medical Coders typically review patient information for preexisting conditions, retrieve patient records for medical personnel, and work as a liaison between the health clinician and billing offices. Depending on the size of the medical facility, some Medical Coders also provide the billing service for the office. These positions are often called Medical Billers and Coders and involve the same work as Medical Coders, in addition to submitting bills to insurance companies, Medicare/Medicaid, and individual patients. These staff members also track the payments that have been received by the practice. Cancer registrars generally review patient records and pathology reports for accuracy and completeness; assign classification codes to represent the diagnosis and treatment provided; conduct annual follow-ups to track treatment, survival, and recovery; and, compile and analyze cancer patient information for research purposes.

The advent of the Affordable Care Act has resulted in more medical facilities shifting to the use of electronic health records (EHRs) to better enable facilities to share patient information. This is leading to additional developments in the job responsibilities of Health Information Technicians as well as additional positions becoming available at medical facilities. Federal legislation even provides incentives for physicians’ offices and hospitals to implement EHR systems within their practice. Health Information Technicians, whatever their specific job title, need to be familiar with, or be able to learn to use, electronic health records computer software, follow electronic health records security and privacy practices, and analyze electronic data to improve healthcare information as more healthcare providers and hospitals adopt electronic health records systems.

If you are already working as a Health Information Technician, but don’t have the training needed to work with electronic health records; or, if you are interested in getting in to the health care field as a Health Information Technician, P.I.T. has the just Associate degree program to fulfill your educational needs. Check out the information about our Associate degree in Electronic Health Records. If you agree that it is this program for you, click on the “Apply Now” button to start the application and registration process right away!

What are Electronic Health Records and What Jobs are Available?

About Electronic Health Records

With the advent of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), physicians and healthcare institutions are now required to maintain our medical records in electronic format rather than on paper. Many practices were already doing this, but the ACA now requires it.

electronic health records programsAn electronic health record (EHR) is the official record of information and events related to your medical care. By retaining these records in electronic format, they are more likely to be complete, assist your physician to provide you with better care, and be easily shared between multiple heath care settings as required. The very fact of improved sharing of medical information can lead to:

  • improved healthcare coordination between healthcare providers including: physicians, hospitals, specialized treatment sites, home care, residential care, hospice care, etc.,
    • instantaneous communication,
    • a single well-organized record of complete medical history (a timeline of health history – immunizations, illnesses, surgeries, etc.),
    • reminders of important facts about the patient that can affect care (ex. patient is claustrophobic)
    • improved healthcare quality,
      • eliminate missed patient care
      • eliminate duplicated patient care (ex. eliminate duplication of tests)
      • greater engagement of patients and families in care and care decisions,
      • safety and efficiency of care,
      • improved preventative services,
        • automatic reminders to patients for testing, immunizations, etc.,
        • assists in developing a long-term care plan for the patient,
        • continuing confidentiality and privacy of the information contained in the EHR.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that despite concerns regarding the initial costs of converting from paper records to EHR systems, in the long term health care expenses with be reduced across the board by this change. To assist with the costs of these conversions, the federal government is providing an incentive program to assist healthcare providers with the expense.

Physicians’ offices, hospitals, and other healthcare agencies now need staff properly trained to input and complete their patients electronic health records while still maintaining the confidentiality and privacy of the patient. To make your start down this career path, consider obtaining an Associate’s Degree in Electronic Health Records at the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology

What Jobs or Careers are Related to Electronic Health Records?

All around us people are talking about the explosion of new job and career opportunities that are opening up because of the advent of Electronic Health Records (EHR). The healthcare field is now required to use EHR instead of paper health records and this has created massive opportunities across the country.

The first step to attaining a position in Electronic Health Records is to obtain an Associates’ Degree in Electronic Health Records. Fortunately for you, the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology now offers the program of study at the Media, PA campus.

Positions related to EHR can be found in a wide variety of healthcare facilities, including: single physician offices, group medical practices, hospitals, medical centers, clinics, specialized care centers, senior living communities, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), etc. Most of these positions are the standard 40-hour a week. Some large organizations may need to staff two or more shifts, so evening or night hours could be possible in some locations.

Entry level positions generally include those titled Medical Records Technician or Heath Information Technician. Depending on the size of the office you are employed by, you may have the opportunity to be promoted to a Section or Shift Supervisor.

If you are working in a single physician office or even a group medical practice, you may have to pursue a position at a larger organization in order to find promotion opportunities. Smaller organizations will provide raises, but increases in responsibility may not be available just because of the size of the organization. Additional education will open more possible positions to you (and your employer may be willing to help pay some of the cost). Medical Records Technicians often pursue a certificate in Medical Billing and Coding to increase their employment options.

With experience, time, and additional education (especially in Management or Healthcare Management), you will have the opportunity to be promoted to a Records Manager position. Additional positions that may become available to you include: Medical Records Administrator, Director of the Medical Records Department, or even other administrative positions.

One recent quick job search for Medical Records Technician resulted in over 15,000 positions nationwide. The jobs are out there. You just need to decide to get started. Click here for more information about P.I.T.’s Associates’ Degree in Electronic Health Records.