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Steps to improving care and cutting costs

August 14, 2012
Uncategorized By LW Consulting Inc.

Some experts believe that building an IT infrastructure that supports the electronic exchange of patient data and integrates administrative data with information from EHRs will actually increase efficiency and cut the nation's healthcare costs.

A recent report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, written by bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel among others, estimate that by 2037, national health spending will grow faster than the economy, increasing from 18 percent to about 25 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Even with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in place, which requires health plans and providers to adhere to uniform standards and operating rules, the authors point out that the law doesn't require them to exchange information electronically.

Emanuel and his colleagues wrote that in order to create greater efficiency, it is necessary to start exchanging eligibility, claims and other administrative information electronically. Also, Emanuel mentioned that providers need to start using EMRs on a daily basis.

Even with all of the innovations in the healthcare field, a recent article in Healthcare Finance News pointed out that there is also now greater liability, as wrongly prescribed medication is occurring more frequently than before.

Donato Tramuto, an expert in the field, told the news source that while drug errors occur for a variety of reasons, one of the main ones - and most preventable - is through poor communication.

"Physicians and pharma need to come together and communicate," Tramuto said. "There needs to be more information and education on drug safety issues, more samples, more integration with EHR[s]."

E-prescribing is one way to solve poor communication, as it sends a text-based prescription directly to the pharmacy and includes patients' medication history.

To ensure that as few mistakes as possible happen while medical facilities continue to integrate EMRs and e-prescribing systems, pairing with a healthcare consultant can help ensure that the process happens smoothly and lowers healthcare costs at the same time.