Clinical, administrative, and financial workflows that support healthcare practices have undergone vast changes, transitioning from hard copy to software-based systems in just a few years. Facing ever more security and compliance standards, and with recent government-mandated changes for reporting and reimbursement, healthcare organizations are having to rethink their approach to, and investment in, electronic health records (EHR), practice management platforms, and cloud computing.
Yet, less than one-third of healthcare organizations are turning to the cloud. Many chief information officers and healthcare executives have concerns about data access, privacy, and cost, thinking that medical records kept in-house and under lock and key is a safer bet. However, the IT support needed to efficiently manage EHR under security and compliance regulations can quickly overwhelm even the most IT-savvy medical practices. And data breaches are becoming more common.
However, with a robust configuration of advanced IT technologies, from software as a service (SaaS) to managed hosting and hardware platforms, medical organizations can benefit in multiple ways from cloud computing.
Impact of New Requirements on Healthcare Operations
From large hospitals and medical groups to smaller community doctors’ offices, healthcare organizations are facing new technical and HER requirements. One of the most significant challenges is ICD-10, the newly revised standards used by medical coders and billers to document diagnoses. With ICD-9, billing codes are 3 to 5 digits in length and number over 14,000. ICD-10 codes are 3 to 7 digits and have expanded to 68,000, with thousands of more codes expected by late 2013. Addressing these changes requires significant effort and technology updates to the underlying systems for practice management.
Before health providers can implement ICD-10, however, they must first integrate new HIPAA transaction standards known as ANSI 5010. Mandated by the U.S. government, it is a global change in the format for submitting claims to Medicare and Medicaid