AntWorks to Release Medical Coding Module for Upcoming ICD-10 Changeover

AntWorks to Release Medical Coding Module for Upcoming ICD-10 Changeover Medical software company’s new release will allow doctors to smoothly transition to ICD-10 before 2015 deadline with no reimbursement delays. Lynchburg, VA — October 24, 2014 — AntWorks has announced that on Nov. 1, it will release software named Benchmark Code Assistant to assist medical practices in transitioning to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision. In medicine, the ICD sets the diagnostic codes doctors enter in order to identify and justify medical procedures or prescriptions. ICD-10 will replace the current version used in the U.S. (ICD-9) on Oct. 1, 2015. The new codes, which have seven places instead of the five used by ICD-9, will allow for greater specificity. The transition is expected to be difficult as the 13,000 codes utilized today for ICD-9, will expand to 68,000 codes for ICD-10. AntWorks’ Vice President, Ernie Chastain, said the software will help physicians find and record the new codes quickly to ensure there are no reimbursement delays due to coding. “Most doctors have been attending training sessions on the new code standards for over a year.” Chastain said. “I believe most understand the conceptual difference and the fact that if they are not specific with coding they won’t get paid; insurance companies will reject generic codes. Benchmark’s Code Assistant puts 68,000 diagnostic codes at their fingertips with a very easy to use search function.” Benchmark Code Assistant will be usable both on the iPhone and on computers. The module will allow a quick search of the SNOMED diagnostic code database and immediately download the chosen codes directly into Benchmark...

Will Every American Soon Have an Electronic Health Record?

Will Every American Soon Have an Electronic Health Record?   Health information technology has been a priority for the past two presidents, with both George Bush and Barack Obama setting 2014 as the goal year by which all Americans should have electronic medical records. Medical software companies have developed a variety of options for hospitals and private practices of all sizes, and the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Care Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, which were created to provide funds for implementing and upgrading electronic record systems for eligible hospitals and practices, have further spurred adoption.     Missed Goals Amid Gains But as 2014 is rapidly drawing to a close, have the ambitious goals set by Bush (in 2004) and Obama (in 2009) been met? Not quite, Nextgov reported as of Oct. 9. About 75% of eligible clinicians and 91% of hospitals who treat under Medicare and Medicaid have implemented EHR systems, according to Jodi Daniel, director of the Office of Policy in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. However, these percentages may not indicate how close America is to realizing the vision of universal electronic health records. There is no way to determine what percentage of the patients who are treated by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services providers actually have EMRs. CMS provides care for about a third of the U.S. population, but those numbers are further complicated by the fact that those same providers also treat non-CMS patients. This led Daniel to estimate that “a significantly larger number” of Americans have EHRs than can be demonstrated through CMS metrics. There’s also no...

AMA Calls for Revision of ‘Meaningful Use’ Criteria in Electronic Record Incentive Programs

AMA Calls for Revision of ‘Meaningful Use’ Criteria in Electronic Record Incentive Programs   The Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Care Record (EHR) Incentive Programs provide financial support to eligible medical practices and hospitals who are upgrading or implementing EHR  or EMR systems as long as they meet standards of “meaningful use.” The current criteria for meaningful use, however, are frustrating some medical professionals.     On Oct. 14, the American Medical Association released a suggested reworking of meaningful use guidelines to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. AMA President Robert M. Wah said that doctors want to see guidelines that will actually improve patient care. “Physicians will always embrace technology that can help them provide better care for their patients and foster innovation, but improvements must be made to the meaningful use program in order for those goals to be achieved,” he said in a statement.   Suggested revisions include the following: A more flexible approach that will allow a broader spectrum of physicians to participate A reduced reporting burden on physicians An evidence-based approach that puts patient care at the forefront A focus on interoperability, or the ability for different systems to work together   The AMA asked the offices overseeing these programs to soften the current “all-or-nothing” approach, allowing those who meet 50% of program requirements to avoid penalties and those who meet 75% to receive incentives. The group also said that any criteria that a “vast majority” of doctors have been unable to implement should be made optional, and that hardship exemptions should...