Why EHR integration is essential to best practices in revenue cycle management

Many healthcare providers have spent years and millons implementing electronic health record systems (EHRs) to meet federal mandates and improve the overall quality of patient population care. 
Meanwhile, revenue cycle management systems (RCMs) have developed on an almost parallel track, helping healthcare systems maximize revenue and minimize costs at a time when  structural changes are impacting the U.S. healthcare industry.
Healthcare providers who will be best equipped to thrive within the emerging “value-based” care model will have completed thorough integration between their EHRs with RCMs in a way that streamlines the collection process, starting at the point of care.
The fundamental value of EHRs is that they improve the level of patient care provided by enabling the easy sharing of patient data among clinical workers. When clinical data are trapped in silos, not only does it adversely affect patient care, it undermines provider efficiency – and that has a direct impact on the revenue cycle.
Liberating EHR data from a clinical IT system by integrating the data into an RCM system can benefit revenue cycle management in a number of ways. First, it allows clinicians to order procedures with much greater confidence that the healthcare provider will be reimbursed.
Access to EHR data at the point of care also enables clinical workers to explore alternative procedures, should it be clear that a claim will be rejected by an insurer or that a patient lacks the funds to pay his or her share.
Further, when EHR data are integrated into an RCM at the point of care, this increases operational efficiency and accuracy, thus reducing the chances of errors that could impede patient care or result in non-payment or delayed payment.
Over the long-term, EHRs can be an important tool in better management of the revenue cycle. When clinicians prescribe a scheduled course of treatment, and the data is analyzed in real time, financial professionals will have far more accurate revenue projections. Bills will be issued more quickly and with fewer errors. And when the intelligence from analytics is added in, longterm planning can be done based on actual data, not guesstimates.
By leveraging EHRs that are integrated with revenue management systems, healthcare organizations can identify holes in the revenue cycle, reduce non-payments and delayed payments, and streamline RCM processes.

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