Small medical practices around the country can now afford EMR (Electronic Medical Record) system implementations. Since practices that don’t adopt CCHIT-certified EMR systems by 2014 will have their Medicare reimbursement rates cut by up to 3 percent beginning in 2015, many health care providers with limited cash flows are looking for affordable, reliable, and easy to use EMR systems. Today we’re looking at one EMR from computer hardware giant Dell and software company Practice Fusion that is designed for small to medium medical offices.
Practice Fusion, a free web based EMR system, in partnership with Dell is selling an EMR package that includes software, desktop and laptop computers with “specialized broadband hardware, scanners and printers”.
To date, small medical clinics or doctors’ offices often find it very difficult to implement any kind of EMR system. On average it takes up to $50,000 in upfront product licensing fees to change from paper to electronic processing. Given today’s HMO and other insurance billing practices, these small business just don’t have the cash flow to buy any kind of medical electronic processing system. The Practice Fusion / Dell system is designed to enable small practices to implement a turnkey EMR system at a relatively low cost.
Practice Fusion’s EHR (without the Dell hardware) is completely free if a company uses the ad based version, however for one hundred dollars a month the ads are removed. Practice Fusion does not charge consultant fees, licensing, or hosting fees and it is the fastest growing EMR community in the US. The free, web-based Electronic Medical Record system for physicians includes charting, scheduling, e-prescribing, billing, lab integrations, unlimited support and a Personal Health Record for patients.
In addition to a turnkey EMR system, a switch to EMR can generate money for small medical practices. Language in the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH ) Act insures that those health care professionals who use EMR systems will qualify to receive at least $44,000 of stimulus money for use in their offices .
The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act passed by Congress in 2009, (which includes the HITECH Act) contains provisions allocating $44,000 in Medicare incentives to all qualifying medical providers “… if they demonstrate “meaningful use” of an Electronic Health Record system starting in 2011.
Although to date the term “meaningful use” has not been codified, Practice Fusion ensures its users that “Practice Fusion’s EHR will absolutely be ONCHIT compliant and will support ‘meaningful use’ criteria.”
There are over 40,000 doctors and nurses who use the Practice Fusion online EMR system. Dell’s hardware is pre-configured for medical practices, can be rapidly implemented, and is verified to work with Practice Fusion’s technology
“There is no reason for American doctors to continue using paper records. The partnership of Dell and Practice Fusion makes the switch to an electronic medical record system affordable and easy,” Ryan Howard, Practice Fusion’s CEO, said in a statement. “It is exhilarating to see U.S. healthcare, at both the local and national levels, make the transition to modern, life-saving information technology.”