Survey Marks Need for ASC EHR Implementation

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Minneapolis —According to an independent national survey of ambulatory surgery center (ASCs) administrators, 82 percent of ASCs do not use an electronic health record (EHR), 85 percent use paper perioperative notes, and 74 percent use dictation and transcription for the generation of physician procedure notes.

The study was commissioned by Wolters Kluwer Health, a leading global provider of information for healthcare professionals and students. Wolters Kluwer Health provides electronic procedure documentation and patient charting solutions for hospitals and ASCs through its ProVation Medical brand.

The following obstacles to electronically streamlining documentation was reported by 43 percent of the administrators:

* Lack of interface with scheduling software and other existing systems

* Lack of capital investment

* Lack of software that will capture their patient mix

* Lack of personnel to implement a new system

In addition, 49 percent have concerns that revenue may be lost in the implementation process.

Nearly one-fourth of the ASC administrators do not know their current per-chart document management costs.  Among those who are aware, 69 percent place this cost between $3 and $8.99.

“Relying on paper in an era of electronic documentation and communication is inefficient and expensive. Our goal is to help ASCs streamline processes and cut administrative costs by integrating electronic documentation with their workflow and current IT systems,” says Arvind Subramanian, president and CEO, Wolters Kluwer Health Clinical Solutions and ProVation Medical.

Subramanian cites changes to ASC reimbursement that will call for careful cost management and accurate billing. “In 2008, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) begins a four-year phase-in of a new ASC reimbursement schedule. In 2008, CMS also added approximately 800 surgical procedures that qualify for reimbursement when performed in the ASC setting.  These changes present both opportunities and challenges for ASCs, and compel them to examine best documentation and billing practices, which directly impact revenue and reimbursement,” he notes.

In the survey, 175 administrators considered these combined changes and estimated future revenue at their ASCs, making predictions based on full phase-in of the new reimbursement schedule. Forty-two percent of ASC administrators expect decreased revenue at their sites; of these administrators, 50 percent believe gastroenterology services will negatively impact revenue.  Of those who anticipate increased revenue at their sites, 36 percent believe orthopedic services will have a positive effect on revenue.

Renaissance Research, of Edwardsville, Ill., conducted the national survey by telephone interviews between Feb. 29, 2008 and March 12, 2008. The interview was completed by 175 ASC administrators, providing a margin of error of +/- 7 percentage points.

Source: ProVation Medical

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