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EHR Lessons from Medical Professionals

There are many good reasons for healthcare organizations to adopt electronic health records (EHR), but the biggest reasons why there has been a recent flurry of action are the governmental financial incentives available to healthcare organizations, hospitals, and more. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) was created to promote the adoption and meaningful use of health information technology. The first group of hospitals and physicians received incentive payments totaling over $2.5 billion in 2011. The majority of those qualifying for payment were early adopters of technology. These organizations did not wait until they were forced to make changes; when the changes and opportunities became available, they jumped head-first into the technology.

Some organizations and physicians like those from Kaiser Permanente—one of the largest healthcare organizations in the world—began their transitions many years ago. The goal of the transition was not based on making paper records into electronic ones; it was to create better overall care. With many years of integrated records, Kaiser has been able to amass and mine enough data to discover connections and enhance the analysis of health care outcomes.

Successful organizations do not wait until they are forced to make changes. The cycle of success works when an organization/practice prepares and plans in advance has worked to break down silos within the practice. They can jump in head-first when changes and opportunities become available.

The mouth is the portal of entry to our bodies and when searched thoroughly, can also reveal clues to our patient’s health status. Every case is different, just as every patient is different. Good detective stories begin with the investigators checking a doorway, looking for clues or evidence related to the origin of a crime. Dental professionals must take on the role of an investigator creating a cycle for successful coding.

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