EMR’s are scaring me…as a billing company. Seems like they automate the billing process…where do we, the medical billing company fit in? Are we going to be obsolete?
From what I’ve seen EMR (Electronic Medical Record) systems are not really a threat to a billing service. I’ve really found EMR’s to be helpful in looking up patient information without having to dig through traditional files or bother the providers office staff.
I think some EMR vendors may sell or imply that their systems will automate the billing process but I have yet to see that. I’ve had providers say that a vendor sold their system as being able to populate the billing info from the encounter record. I haven’t seen this in practice.
It seams to me there’s frequently a lot more involved in the billing process than simply entering in diagnosis and treatment codes in the billing software and submitting it. If it was that simple they would really just need a data entry clerk. But I’ve found that the billing process really requires a good understanding of insurance and coding. And it frequently requires a lot of questions or clarifications and followup with the provider – and a lot with the insurance companies also.
So really in summary I think that EMR is a great tool that benefits the biller and coder but I don’t really feel it’s a threat. I think that what we do is valuable and cannot be easily automated with software.
I think there’s also great opportunities with practices implementing EMR systems. I’ve found that many small practices don’t have the expertise or resources it takes to implement and maintain an EMR system. If you can take the time to learn how use an EMR system you can find some great opportunities to offer additional services to these providers.
Hope this answers your question – Thanks!