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HIPAA Compliancy Articles
At NETSPECS we understand the unique needs of healthcare, particularly its ever evolving regulations. That along with shrinking profit margins, increasing costs and the challenges of consolidation have forced the healthcare industry to constantly come up with better use of information resources.Once an esoteric function within the organization, Information Technology has become a driver of change and innovation.
Physicians and Clinical Offices
The administrative functions of most physician’s offices are highly computerized, relying on specialized software. While a visit to a doctor’s office may be brief, the necessary scheduling, retrieval and updating of medical records, ordering of tests and accounting are all necessary and data-intensive tasks. Without the right computer systems in place, this volume of administrative activity would be prohibitively expensive.
The use of computers to aid medical treatment has become more common, especially as medical records become available in computerized form, providing doctors easier access to records and allowing “expert systems” to flag possible drug interactions and suggest diagnoses and treatments.
Electronic Records may Reduce Costs
Many medical groups are delaying adoption of electronic health records (EHR) systems. The Medical Group Management Association finds that only 14.2 percent of medical groups have implemented EHR systems; groups with multiple offices and large numbers of physicians had a much higher rate. An average 19.8 percent of all medical groups without EHR systems plan to implement them within the next 13 to 24 months, even though implementation cost averages more than $32,000 per physician. Despite up front costs, EHR systems mean long-term savings and improved service.
Doctors have had to adjust operations to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) medical privacy law. The visibility and accessibility of patient charts, sign-in sheets, and computer screens must be altered to meet stricter privacy standards. The new law also has increased the volume of doctor paperwork. While most large group practices had little difficulty adjusting, many small ones may struggle to devote the necessary time and money to reorganize