- Posted by Austin Swim
- On March 12, 2015
- 0 Comments
- electronic health records
Unlike medical practices, those in the behavioral health profession are still awaiting financial aid from the government.
When behavioral health treatment centers bill Medicaid or Medicare on behalf of their patients, it is mandatory to implement an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. A behavioral health billing services company, like Elevated Billing Solutions, also uses information from an EHR to complete their billing practices in an efficient manner. So, whether it’s because of the Affordable Care Act or considering operational efficiencies, you may be interested in avoiding expensive EHR costs.
Treatment centers benefit from having an EHR, and they have long agreed on the benefits, but questions remain about how to keep the costs low. Unlike medical practices, those in the behavioral health profession are still awaiting financial aid from the government. It’s uncertain if, and when, it will come through. It will be up to you to decide if waiting is going to be a good decision in your situation. Let’s get started.
How to Save Money on EHR
Limit Starting Costs
Startup costs can add up big time. One of the best ways for saving money on setting up your new EHR is to minimize costs on hardware – which means opting for a SAAS model (software as a service). In the SAAS model, versus hosting your own server, a third party provider provides a server for you in the cloud instead. This cloud-based setup could save you about $100,000 in startup hardware costs, which is comes out to nearly 50% in savings.
In addition, because the third party vendor has the ability to make software updates across multiple clients with ease, you’ll be saving time and money. If you were to host your own server and needed a mandatory update, such as a DSM-5 codes upload, it would need to happen internally and updated manually which translates to extra costs.
Team up with another Institution
Another way to save money is to buy in volume. In some instances you will be able to save money from grouping up with another treatment institution or two. Get a team together to take advantage of buying in bulk to save money on your EHR costs.
Waiting for a Federal Incentive for EHR
Unfortunately, information about the costs of EHR’s doesn’t really exist except by biased organizations. The only organizations that have crunched the numbers are the vendors selling the EHR systems.
However, If you don’t act now you may soon experience lost revenue and past opportunities. An EHR can enhance efficiencies and lower costs in the long run on things like paperwork, test results, and the automation of lengthy processes. It could be prudent to start asking organizations in your network that already have an EHR for recommendations on where to go. We argue that if government agencies haven’t documented the costs, time can only tell how long it will take gigantic bureaucratic agencies to create a stimulus package for behavioral health services to adopt EHR.