Tag Archives: Careers

Could This Be The Beginning of a Groundswell Movement Against EHR Adoption?

As the healthcare industry marches towards Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, there is a large population of physicians that have not yet accepted the requirements put forth by CMS in the EHR Incentive Programs. Dr. Daniel F. Craviotto Jr., an orthopedic surgeon in Santa Barbara, California, took to the Wall Street Journal earlier this week to protest the restrictive chains of EHR adoption, quality penalties, shrinking Medicare reimbursements, and bureaucratic red tape that prevent a physician from focusing on what’s really important: engaging with and treating patients.

As noted in a previous blog post (Doctors or Data Entry Clerks?) we have been wondering when physicians, other healthcare practitioners and more importantly, healthcare executives were finally going to see the Emperor’s true clothes and begin to push back against the $30 billion dollar machine which is perverting healthcare delivery and any true efforts to reduce the rise in healthcare spending in this country.

Now do a quick Google search and all of a sudden there is a growing list of articles questioning the implementation, cost and patient safety benefits arising from this national initiative.  Here is a sample of some of the most recent articles:

U.S. Electronic Health Record Initiative: A Backlash (IEEE Spectrum)

Electronic Health Records Rife with Flaws (Albuquerque Journal)

Report Finds More Flaws in Digitizing Patient Files (NY Times)

Is EHR “mania” Hiding Serious Patient Safety Flaws? (EHR Intelligence)

To be clear we are not against the implementation of technology in healthcare.  In fact, there are any number of proven technologies that we have all benefited from and there will be new technologies that we will benefit from moving forward in the future.  What we are saying is two things:

First, if the technology is truly of value to the marketplace (any marketplace, but in this case the healthcare delivery marketplace) then we have a great system setup in this country where that technology will be embraced (sold and implemented) and it does not require a $30 billion push from the government to make it happen.

Secondly, since one of the largest cost drivers in any business (including healthcare) is people, then one of the best and simplest ways to reduce costs is to ensure you have the right people, doing the right activities in the most cost effective manner.  Using highly educated, highly compensated physicians as data entry clerks is not the solution.

For all our sake’s we hope this groundswell continues to grow!

Do You Need a Scribe?

Over the past several decades, new and interesting healthcare roles have been created to reflect the changing complexities of our health care system. We have seen the proliferation of hospitalists, surgicalists and laborists (in-hospital obstetrical specialists) on the physician side, and patient navigators, physician extenders and patient ombudsmen in the non-physician side. Now, there is an additional and intriguing job title that may gain some traction even in the high-tech era of the electronic medical record (EMR): the “medical scribe.”

The medical scribe, also known as a “clinical information manager,” “medical scribe specialist” or “ER/ED scribe,” is a trained medical information manager who specializes in charting physician-patient encounters in real time. Although originally spawned as an adjunct in the emergency medicine environment, this clerical resource is seeing wide-spread use in the inpatient and outpatient/ambulatory care settings.

The use of scribes has exploded in direct relationship to the negative consequences of EMR use.

In the inpatient setting, the time that physicians are spending at the patient bedside has been drastically reduced in order to spend more time with EMR data entry. The same applies to the outpatient, ambulatory or office setting where physician face-time with patients has seen an equally significant reduction, by some estimates by as much as 30 percent! Not only is productivity negatively impacted but the time that physicians spend during a patient visit capturing and entering data rather than focusing on the patient can be a major drag on the overall quality of care, patient satisfaction and revenue generation. Here is where the medical scribe may serve a very important role.

The medical scribe is an unlicensed individual hired to enter information into the EMR or chart at the direction of the physician or licensed independent practitioner. Through the use of medical scribes, organizations can improve the overall quality of documentation for both granularity and specificity; which in turn improves billing and revenue generation. In addition, by shifting the vast majority of real-time documentation responsibility to the scribe, physicians are able to see more patients, generate more revenue and better manage their time overall so that at the end of a busy day there is no need to finalize one’s charts or enter additional data in the EMR – increasing regulatory compliance!

The positive effects created by working with a medical scribe are legion:

Quality of Care Increases
Patient Volume Increases
Revenue Increases
Patient Satisfaction Increases
Physician Satisfaction Increases
Regulatory Compliance Increases

As more and more healthcare organizations look to implement medical scribes two methods of implementation are being used. Some healthcare organizations look to engage a medical scribe management company while others choose the homegrown method. Each option brings with it certain advantages and disadvantages.

By partnering with a medical scribe management company a healthcare organization is typically entering into a multi-year agreement where the scribe management company will recruit, hire, train, manage, monitor and deliver a medical scribe program. The fees for this service typically fall into two categories – a one-time implementation fee to get the program up and running (typically between $25,000 – $100,000 depending upon the size and scope of the program) and a per hour fee for each scribe used (typically in the $20 – $26 per hour range). So for each scribe FTE the healthcare facility is paying about $48,000 per year (using $24/hour). A nice premium over the $10 – $14 per hour a typical scribe earns.

And for those organizations who choose the homegrown method the task of recruiting, hiring, training and developing competent resources in sufficient numbers becomes a bit of a challenge.

But now there is a third option.  The American Healthcare Documentation Professionals Group, a Certified Academic Partner of the American College of Medical Scribe Specialists will partner with you to recruit, hire, train and oversee the use of medical scribes at your facility. Whether you need one or 100 scribes our online/on-site medical scribe training program might be just what the doctor ordered!

The benefits of our program include:

  • No upfront implementation cost.
  • No ongoing per/hour per scribe fee.
  • An all-inclusive training fee of less than $2,000 per scribe which covers each scribes tuition, books, materials, membership in the American College of Medical Scribe Specialists and certification exam.
  • Flexibility to “customize” the training program to meet the specific needs of your facility.

Contact us today if you need a medical scribe or 101?

Clinical Medical Assistant, is it for you?

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant

Maybe it is time to give your career that much needed BOOST, but how?  Think about becoming a Clinical Medical Assistant. The clinical medical assistant is an important healthcare expert who performs tasks related to basic patient care. They are a crucial component to any doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital.  Starting here can open the door to many opportunities for you.

So what are some of the duties of a Clinical Medical Assistant?

Some of the common duties of clinical medical assistants include taking vital signs of patients, conducting in-office screening tests, collecting and preparing specimens to send to diagnostic laboratories, and recording medical histories. Below is a list of some of the other duties a Clinical Medical Assistant may do.

  • Welcoming patients.
  • Answering patient phone calls.
  • Prepare patients for the visit by taking them to the exam room
  • Helping during examinations.
  • Preparing laboratory specimens/basic lab tests.
  • Telephoning prescriptions to pharmacies.
  • Drawing blood.
  • Preparing patients for x-rays.
  • Removing sutures and changing dressings.
  • Explain/Educated patients on treatment procedures, medications, diets, or physicians’ instructions.
  • Applying bandages.
  • Administering medications.
  • Keeping supplies ready and in stock for the office/clinic.
  • Cleaning and sterilizing instruments.
  • Disposing of contaminated material.
  • Maintaining confidential patient information.

So now that we know some of the duties of a Clinical Medical Assistant, what are some of the qualities I should have before deciding on this particular field?

The first thing that comes to mind is compassion and concern for others well being. This job requires you to be understanding to others in their time of need. The ability to listen and give each patient your undivided attention is critical.  You will have to accurately chart patient details and convey that information to the doctor.  Speaking clearly is also an important ability so others can easily understand you. Reading and writing comprehension along with critical thinking skills are preferred in this profession. Clinical Medical Assistants need to have several skills because their general duty is to ensure the office/clinic is running smoothly.

As you can see, a Clinical Medical Assistant is crucial component to any hospital, clinic or doctors office. You can get trained to become a Clinical Medical Assistant is less than a year and the job opportunities are limitless. This is a profession you can be proud of. To learn more about becoming a Clinical Medical Assistant, please visit our Program Overview- Clinical Medical Assistant

  

Electronic Encoders: Friend or Foe?

In today’s day and age, everything seems to be about technology, instant gratification, quicker turn around as well as more for less.  I can say that I have seen and worked within the concept of “more for less” for many years and it just seems to be the nature of our society today, or so it would seem.  So as we look at the transition of health care and the migration of medical records to electronic health records, this has actually managed to create a new vein of career paths in the health care field within our environment, which is great.  Along these same lines now emerges electronic encoders.  It is the opinion of this blog writer that encoders are positive and negative in a few different ways in the coding world for the profession coder and I am going to share why.

Encoders are great tools to help increase production standards because you can save time searching for your codes by having the system do the work for you.  They have built in references that are wonderful to have at your fingertips and not have to leave your work station to locate or search the all mighty web.  Not all working environments give their employees access to the internet so the fact that the encoder programs could possibly provide medical dictionaries, CPT Assistants, drug listings, Coding Clinics, anatomy diagrams, ICD-9 guidelines, and GEM guidelines would be invaluable to the work flow for a coder.  Not to mention the space it would safe from having all of these references in the work space.  Some encoders also come with other administrative functions that assist us to conduct research on specific procedures as well as individual payer information.  So there are some real great benefits that come with an encoder software package, depending on what is purchased and implemented in the working environment.

So you probably are wondering then, why would I even be asking why an encoding product would be a Foe in the world of a coder?  Here is my reason why.  Coding is a skill that we work extremely hard to learn and perfect.  Hours, months and years of time go into learning what we know and how we do what we do in our line of work.  Encoders are a great tool but can also spoil and ruin us as coders, if we allow them to.  If a coder becomes too reliant on an encoder, this is a bad thing.  If a coder becomes to “comfortable” coding with an encoder, this is a bad thing.  A coder needs to use their skills that they have built or they lose these skills over time.  They may not lose them completely but they can become very rusty for sure.  It is good practice to still manually code from time to time.  It is good for the brain to keep your fingers in your coding references so you remember how your books work, where to find everything, keeping your skills fresh on crosswalks and modifiers.

Things to keep in mind is that even if your working environment is using an encoding product, not everything in the coding world is and remember that to maintain your coding certification, you have tom complete continuing education credits.  Many of these continuing education credits are manual coding exercises.  If you look to gain any additional certifications above the certifications you already carry, these will be manual coding exams.  Not to mention, it is really difficult to put your personal coding notes in an encoder program but you have the luxury to place them anywhere you would like in your personal coding reference.