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Friday, October 28, 2011

"EMR Daily News - Allied Health Professionals - Future of the Workforce"

October 25, 2011 By 
NurseAllied Healthcare Professionals of the future must be technology savvy and knowledgeable about healthcare practice administration, not to mention up-to-date on ever-changing compliance requirements, according to executives at Alameda Services, an expert organization in Allied Health related training solutions, focusing on workforce development and intense Electronic Health Record (EHR) training.
To help better prepare today’s workforce for the stringent job requirements for a rewarding career as an allied health professional, Alameda Services has identified “Five Requirements for Success Among Allied Health Professionals of the Future” and recently launched the of Allied Health E-Academy powered by Alameda Services, an online portal designed to provide interactive training and online learning culminating in three national certifications and three certificates of completion in EMR/EHR specialties, Medical Billing/Coding and Medical Office Administration. More information about Alameda Services is available at
“Allied health professionals must expand their knowledge in technology to stay current with the industry innovation that is currently being implemented across all of the healthcare service providers,” says Lena Feygin,Dip LC, executive vice president and director of business development for Alameda Services. “The shift toward comprehensive adoption of Electronic Medical Records / Electronic Health  Records (EMR/EHR) requires knowledge beyond traditional healthcare office practices.”
Five Requirements for Success among Allied Health Professionals of the Future
Feygin and her team at Allied Health E-Academy have identified a number of skills that future allied health professionals must possess in order to enjoy successful future careers.
1.     Knowledge of Medical Office Administration – A basic understanding of the functions, practices and procedures of medical offices is still at the foundation for any healthcare administrative staff position. But tomorrow’s workforce will be seeing fewer paper-based forms. Instead they will face a number of electronic forms, checklists and diagnostic tools that require their attention to detail in order to complete. Understanding and adapting to the new practice workflow is essential for the effectiveness of any practice employee.
2.      Knowledge of Compliance – The medical billing industry is increasingly focused on compliance requirements. With healthcare providers becoming more involved in the selection of both diagnostic and procedural codes, the traditional role of a medical practice biller is taking on new responsibilities. For example, for the past few years providers were presented with an opportunity to voluntary participate in the e-Prescribing (eRx) and Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) programs, and have received incentive money as a reward for their participation. Since the information reported for the PQRS is pulled from the previously submitted claims, billers and compliance officers of the practice become key individuals to not only start this initiative but also to assist with processing. In addition those providers that have not implemented an e-Prescribing program within their practices with incentives are subjected to penalties from Medicare/Medicaid at this time. With the new regulations under HIPAA, ARRA, and HITECH laws, medical office staff requires an understanding of best practices to keep the providers in compliance, and also to assist providers in receipt of the incentive programs by adopting EHR systems and reporting on Meaningful Use criteria.
There is an additional segment that affects billers and coders or those entering into the field of billing and coding. With the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 diagnostic practices and with the implementation of EMR/EHR systems, providers become more involved with the actual code selection. A biller/coder is the support mechanism for providers in this transitional process and serves to ensure accuracy in the claims submitted.
3.     Knowledge of Technology – More than any other time, practice staff members require working knowledge of both software, in the form of EMR/EHR applications, and hardware, including mobile technologies like notepads and tablets. The future will bring further implementation of telemedicine and mobile devices directly into the hands of these professionals as well. Security and electronic format becomes a more pressing issue which require for additional pieces of equipment and software to be integrated within individual practices. Examples of such measures are: webcams for patient picture identification, scanners to convert paper records to electronic format, barcode technology to have scanned unique IDs for individual patients, integration with the diagnostic equipments in use within the practice and outside of it.
4.     Knowledge of Data Management and Analysis – Since technology is making its way into the healthcare providers practices/clinics/facilities, there is an additional need in understanding and ability to monitor the processes of:
·         Data backup/restore – To have a productive relationship with the technology EMR/EHR services providers, a practice staff must have a clear understanding of the processes of their data backup/restore since the practice owns all of the data related to its patients.
·         Data migration – Understanding and actively participating in the data transitioning from previously used systems (scheduling, billing, progress notes, etc.) into a fully certified EMR/EHR system can be crucial for a seamless transition. Having the knowledge and the ability to monitor these processes makes an office staff member an invaluable part of the team.
·         Statistics and Data analysis – With the PQRS reporting and Meaningful Use criteria in place, it becomes essential for office members to be able to not only prepare the necessary compliance reports, but also to be able to use the data internally to evaluate the population served
5.     Knowledge of Health Information Exchange (HIE) – The ability to electronically move clinical information among various healthcare information systems, while maintaining the meaning of the information being exchanged, is the goal of HIE. The allied health professionals of the future will need to become familiar with accessing and retrieving patient-centered care data and how other healthcare entities are involved in the workflow of the practice. It is important to grasp the understanding of the Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) that exists within any practice via its EMR/EHR system. The knowledge of the process on how to work with the data that is being released to other providers or received upon request of the practice is essential for a successful data interchange. Working within the new environment of electronic data becomes a daily task rather than a far away myth.
“Our coursework is demanding, interesting and intense,” adds Lena Feygin. “It is carefully designed to enhance employment opportunities for students who are ambitious, goal-oriented and determined to succeed in a highly-competitive marketplace. The participants will obtain the technical knowledge and the business acumen they need to maintain consistent standards of patient care for years to come. They will be well-equipped not only to land a solid job in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry, but subsequently take on more challenging responsibilities, while delivering excellent healthcare to patients.”
Photo By Walt Stoneburner
Original Article posted at EMR Daily News

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