Fix My Practice - Blog

Fix My Practice – 3 Tips for Patient Portal Engagement – June 28, 2017

The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group® www.ppsosgroup.com

3 Tips for Patient Portal Engagement

Two-thirds of the practices that participated in the 2017 Physicians Practice Technology Survey said that getting patients to sign up and use patient portals consistently is a challenge. Is this the case for your practice, if so, try these 3 simple tips to help get your patients more involved in the process?

Within these 3 things make sure you market and/or talk about the benefits, not just the features and get the staff involved in that process, for instance:

  • Have staff members from the front to the checkout promote the patient portal throughout the patient’s visit. Every staff member should have a script to talk up the patient portal to patients, and is ready to list benefits items that is available in the portal.
    • For instance, a front office staff member might ask how did you make your appointment, and then let the patient know they can request appointment via the portal and even receive appointment reminders by email.
    • When patients are checking out, staff and tell the patient they’ll be able to pay their bills online if there is a balance after the insurance.
    • When someone calls for Rx refill, the Medical Assistant may tell them about the benefits of requesting this via the patient portal.
  • Use every patient handout, paperwork or marketing collateral to promote the patient portal.
    • Add a line to bills letting patients know they can pay online using the portal and include a note on patient education flyers that they can access more helpful information in their portal.
  • In promoting the use, offer incentives that the staff also promote to the patients during their visit and those incentives include entering their name into a monthly prize drawing if they schedule an appointment online or do a Rx refill request.

Practicing quality medicine while maintaining and managing the bottom line is a balancing act that provider’s face daily. The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group is committed to and has helped healthcare providers across the country with new practice startups, IRO needs, and providing practice management and compliance solutions. Call our office to discuss any needs you might have.

Regina Mixon Bates, CEO | The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group | www.ppsosgroup.com

Fix My Practice – Massive Cyber Attack Affecting Healthcare Organizations – May 22, 2017

The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group® www.ppsosgroup.com

Massive Cyber Attack Affecting Healthcare Organizations

You may have heard about the massive cyber attack that happened on Friday May 12th, involving a ransomware known as WannaCry, Windows systems and many healthcare organizations were affected by this attack and many more are still vulnerable.

You may have heard about the massive cyber attack that happened on Friday May 12th, involving a ransomware known as WannaCry, Windows systems and many healthcare organizations were affected by this attack and many more are still vulnerable.

This cyber-attack that affected over 150 countries. Victims of the attack were told they could free their machines by paying the equivalent of US $300 in Bitcoin. The ransomware threatened to delete the files within 7 days if no payment is made.

The situation has been stabilized and the feared second wave of attacks has failed to happen, it was contained by Marcus Hutchins, also known as Malware Tech, who registered a domain name to track the virus, which then stopped it from spreading. Since the malware relied on making requests to domains and ransoming the system when the connection wasn’t made, registering the domain essentially stopped the ransomware from spreading further.

This sinkholing of the malware has stopped the rate of infection, though Hutchins warns that it may be only a temporary fix. The ransomware spreads through a vulnerability in the Server Message Block in Windows systems. The creators of WannaCrypt used a backdoor to create an entry in Windows systems.

Additionally, the malware was also spread through social engineering emails that tricked users to run the malware and activate the worm-spreading functionality. The malware itself was delivered in an infected Microsoft Word file that was sent in the email, it is very important that you make sure staff doesn’t click on links within an email.

Organizations that use Windows systems and have not yet patched the vulnerability are vulnerable to this attack. Over 230,000 computers in 150 countries were crippled worldwide an Healthcare organizations in particular were affected by this Ransomware.

WannaCrypt affects all Windows systems that haven’t been updated to the latest version, or haven’t had the vulnerability patched.  If you have a Windows system, update it as soon as possible. Very important to make sure you only access the Windows Updates via your tools function on internet explorer and not via a Google Search.

Practicing quality medicine while maintaining and managing the bottom line is a balancing act that provider’s face daily. The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group is committed to and has helped healthcare providers across the country with new practice start ups, IRO needs, and providing practice management and compliance solutions. Call our office to discuss any needs you might have.

Practicing quality medicine while maintaining and managing the bottom line is a balancing act that providers face daily. The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group is committed to helping healthcare providers across the country with new practice startups, IRO needs, and providing practice management and compliance solutions. Call our office to discuss any needs you might have.

Regina Mixon Bates, CEO | The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group |

Fix My Practice – Re-Thinking The Open-Office Trend? April 18, 2017

The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group® www.ppsosgroup.com

A 2013 study found that workers in open offices are frustrated by distractions that lead to poorer work performance. Almost half of the workers that were surveyed in open offices said the lack of sound privacy was a significant problem for them and more than 30 percent complained about the lack of visual privacy.

While some CEO’s may love the ability to keep a closer eye on their employees and it may be ideal for maximizing a company’s space while minimizing costs. The open work environment ultimately damages workers’ attention spans, productivity, creative thinking, and satisfaction. In addition to the distractions, they are more vulnerable to airborne illness.

Today’s office design must still support contemplation and individual work. There is value of serendipitous interactions that occur in an open office. Yet, since introverts comprise up to a half of society, the workplace must consider their unique needs.  An organization must offer the option of choice.  Provide private work areas that can be reserved for a set number of hours, whether for group or individual work, while others are left open for immediate access.

An organization’s environment must be able to meet workers’ individual needs for privacy. One that will also allow or even encourages employees to work off site when needed. Moreover, new technologies, such as video or Web conferencing, can support workers who want to work with more privacy off site yet still be accessible to others.

An open office culture can work if it provides options to its employees which builds on trust between the leadership and employees.

Practicing quality medicine while maintaining and managing the bottom line is a balancing act that providers face daily. The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group is committed to helping healthcare providers across the country with new practice startups, IRO needs, and providing practice management and compliance solutions. Call our office to discuss any needs you might have.

Regina Mixon Bates, CEO | The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group |

Fix My Practice – 5 Tips on Being True to You by Being True to Your Health – December 14, 2016

The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group® www.ppsosgroup.com

This past month I had an opportunity to speak on Being True to Your Health onboard the LeadHerShip Empowerment Cruise I truly enjoyed speaking on this subject and decided to share some of the points I shared with the group.

No matter how the laws change in Washington, D.C., you and what you do in your life is the single best way to improve your health and stay healthy.

Preventable illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and several leading forms of cancer make up a big chunk of health care spending, costing billions of dollars. These illnesses rob us of years of life and blight our golden years with sickness and disability.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Consider evidence from a 2009 study of 23,153 adults who took part in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Volunteers who followed four tenets of good health — they didn’t smoke or get fat, they exercised and ate a healthy diet — were 80% less likely to develop chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Their risk of developing type 2 diabetes was 92% lower than the risk of people who shunned the familiar health advice. Their odds of having a heart attack were 81% lower.

Results like these prove again and again that the most powerful tool we have to improve health is prevention. Yet we still have trouble convincing people to make those healthy changes.  To craft your own health care reform program and get the biggest bang for your efforts:

     1. Be More Active and Exercise  

Exercise offers so many health benefits; it’s nothing short of a magic bullet. Something as simple as a brisk walk for half an hour a day dramatically reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and several forms of cancer, including colon cancer – one of the leading killers.

A lifetime of regular exercise improves brain function, allows people to be active  and independent in their later years, and adds years to life.

A 2008 study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston showed that regular exercise lowered the risk of dying prematurely by 30%.

      2. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Easier said than done, according to findings from a new analysis of data from state health departments.

Over the past five years, obesity rates climbed in nearly all states. Indeed, not a single state in the U.S. saw a decline.

Losing weight and keeping it off is difficult. Yet studies show that losing weight just a few pounds if you’re overweight will improve your health. If your weight is normal, work to keep it there by reining in calories and exercising frequently. A healthy diet includes abundant fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

A good diet limits refined sugars and saturated fats. One easy way to shed calories from your diet: drink water instead of sugary beverages. They account for more and more calories in the American diet.

     3. Get Screened and Get Your Shots

Flu shots can dramatically reduce the risk of getting this seasonal bug and its potentially life-threatening complications. Yet only 42% of people 50 to 64 get yearly flu shots. Keeping up to date on all recommended vaccinations can prevent many deadly and debilitating illnesses.

Routine health screens are also lifesavers. Knowing and managing your cholesterol levels and blood pressure is crucial to reducing your risk of heart disease. Cancer screening tests have been shown to catch some forms of the disease early enough to eliminate them.

For the latest recommendations on what tests to get when, check out the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations at www.ahrq.gov.

    4. Don’t Smoke: Quitting Saves Lives

A no-brainer. But lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death — between 80% and 90% of cases are directly caused by smoking, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Here is some good news: smoking rates are falling in the U.S. And thanks to a variety of new nicotine replacement therapies — from patches to nasal sprays — quitting is easier than ever. One recent analysis of studies found that nicotine replacements can almost double the odds that smokers will successfully quit. New medications to help smokers kick the habit are also available. Talk to your doctor about the best strategies for success.

     5. Find Joy from Family and Friends

Enjoying life and maintaining a circle of supportive friends is a big part of good health. Indeed, having friendships may be second only to not smoking for preventing heart attacks. People with extensive social networks, according to research at the Uniformed Services University, are less likely to have calcification in their arteries, a sign of heart disease risk.

One way to increase your happiness is to foster cheerful friends. It turns out that happiness spreads through social networks – among friends and even friends of friends. A person is 15% more likely to be happy if a close contact is happy.

 

Practicing quality medicine while maintaining and managing the bottom line is a balancing act that providers face daily. The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group is committed to helping healthcare providers across the country with new practice startups, IRO needs, and providing practice management and compliance solutions. Call our office to discuss any needs you might have.

Fix My Practice – Can Independent Physicians Survive in the Current State of Healthcare? – December 1, 2016

The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group® www.ppsosgroup.com

If you feel like you’re glued to your computer or tablet for much of the day, it’s not your imagination. Many independent physicians say mounting paperwork is keeping them from spending enough time with patients. According to the Practice Profitability Index, the percentage of physicians who spend more than one day per week on paperwork has increased. This trend is eroding physicians’ on-the-job happiness. The physicians I know truly enjoy spending time with patients and teaching, and anything that takes them away from that is a negative.

A Kaiser study a few years ago indicated physicians spend more than 868 million hours annually on prior authorization activities. Payers say prior authorizations hold down costs, improve treatment efficacy and ensure patient safety. To physicians, however, they are an obstacle to providing the best care for their patients.

Then we have the technology-driven changes — from meaningful use to ICD-10 — which are key administrative tasks that take up time. However, a Deloitte survey shows that for three quarters of physicians, electronic health record (EHR) systems do not save time – despite increasing costs.

It seems that payer interference is increasing and dictating healthcare. Physicians have to deal with a range of audits tied to meaningful use and other programs. The federal government can audit Medicare patients’ charts, while individual states can audit the records of Medicaid patients (since they fund Medicaid), up to 10 years after a patient’s treatment. The audits are just one sign of a trend toward payers influencing—or some would say dictating— patient care that can erode job satisfaction for medical professionals.

Audits are not the only way payers insert themselves into the physician-patient relationship. Prior authorizations are another way payers attempt to take decision-making out of physicians’ hands. In addition, more payers are tightening their provider networks in an attempt to rein in costs. This move toward narrower networks results in more physician evaluations.

More and more physicians must decide whether to stay independent or join a hospital system.  For some, joining a large hospital system offers a haven from the rising administrative burdens of staying independent, and from competitive pressures that can drive a small practice into insolvency. But joining a hospital system is not a panacea for the challenges facing physicians.

Some physicians are returning to private practice because their compensation from hospitals were not as lucrative after their initial contract expired. During the initial “honeymoon period”, pay is typically based on the previous three years of tax returns. When physicians’ contracts ended however, hospitals would often switch to performance-based fee schedules, which are usually much lower.

Here are a few survival tips for Independent Practice and Employment Options:

INDEPENDENT PRACTICE                             

  • Join Forces:  Consider joining an IPA (Independent Physicians Association) to align with other physicians and create negotiating power.
  • Look for High Impact Saving:  Major expense items that practices can easily investigate are occupancy and personal cost. Look at your leases, overall expenses, and automatic deductions.
  • Revamp Billing Practices: Make sure someone on your staff is held accountable for checking that all services are billed and reimbursed, and that no claims go over 90 days.
  • Re-examine Fee Schedules:  This is much easier to do if you are part of an IPA.

EMPLOYMENT

  • Get It In Writing: No matter how minor it seems, delineate all responsibilities in writing.
  • Learn About Compensation Details:  It is to your advantage to be an expert on your compensation package and method. Knowing RVU’s and quality-based compensation are very important.
  • Find out Who to Call:  Going from a private practice to a large corporation is a big change in culture. One of the most helpful things to know is who to call when something goes wrong. Make a flow chart that shows who contact and how to do so depending on the problem.
  • Know Your Limitations: Sometimes other people really do know their stuff and can teach you quite a bit. When you find these people, listen to them.

Whatever your choice in practicing medicine make sure you do your leg work, read every contract in great detail, and hire the right consultant and/or attorney familiar with healthcare laws when needed.

 

Practicing quality medicine while maintaining and managing the bottom line is a balancing act that providers face daily. The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group is committed to helping healthcare providers across the country with new practice startups, IRO needs, and providing practice management and compliance solutions. Call our office to discuss any needs you might have.

Fix My Practice – Hiring the right person”ality” for your practice – November 16, 2016

The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group® www.ppsosgroup.com

As a practice manager or physicians hiring new employees is never an easy process. One of our top complaints from practice manager and/or physicians is how do we get the right person in for the job. Managers can receive hundreds of applications for a single position, and weeding out the majority of those applications can be daunting, and tiresome.

If you’re in a larger organization then typically, human resources staff will make it a little easier on themselves by eliminating certain candidates based on their lack of experience. The applicants with the most relevant work experience will likely be called for an interview, while those with the least will probably not move to the next round. Other factors considered in the first round of application review typically include an applicant’s educational background and skill set.

Personality and interpersonal skills are not typically evaluated until the interview stage, if they’re taken into consideration at all. By then, the applicants whose personalities are the best fits for the position may already have been weeded out.

Although the interview is a great opportunity to evaluate personality, many employers also do not put much weight on this factor. In the end, experience and special skills often win out. However, an applicant’s personality can be a much better indicator of how well they’ll do in their job.

Here are 3 tips important reasons why personality should be given greater weight in the hiring process:

  1. Skills can be learned

An applicant’s skills and knowledge of the field are almost always considered more important than personality in a potential hire. However, the fact of the matter is this: skills can be learned, but people can’t change their personalities.

Once thrown in a job, most people can learn the required skills very quickly. According to LinkedIn, workers on average know all the ins and outs of a new position after about three months. However, personal qualities are rather ingrained and cannot be changed, at least not very easily or quickly. With this in mind, an applicant’s work ethic, honesty, willingness to learn, charisma, and compatibility with the rest of the team are often far more important.

  1. The right team can make all the difference

Few jobs are done totally alone. Even if your employees are fairly autonomous, they’ll still have to work together from time to time. Teamwork is often especially important for large and important projects.

With this in mind, you should do your best to hire a group of people that work well together. It can be difficult to decipher if a candidate will click with the rest of the department. However, personality is often a good first indicator.

When you interview a candidate, ask yourself how similar or different his or her personality is from the rest of your staff’s. That’s not to say that everyone working for you should have the same personality, but people with radically different personalities tend to clash more.

  1. Go for the positive

In my experience, the number-one personality trait to hire for is a positive attitude. If I’m looking to hire you, you don’t have to be overwhelmingly bubbly, but I also don’t want someone who’s going to be a complainer.

We’ve all worked in offices where the mood is absolutely dreadful because everyone is so negative all the time. It sucks the life out of the room and makes the days drag on an on. So go for the positive!

Practicing quality medicine while maintaining and managing the bottom line is a balancing act that provider’s face daily. The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group is committed to and has helped healthcare providers across the country with new practice startups, IRO needs, and providing practice management and compliance solutions. Call our office at 770.333.9405 to discuss any needs you might have.

Fix My Practice – OCR to Start Audits on Business Associates This Month – October 10, -16

The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group® www.ppsosgroup.com

During a presentation at a HIPAA summit in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 15, OCR Director Jocelyn Samuels and OCR Deputy Director for Health Information Privacy Deven McGraw provided an update of OCR's various HIPAA enforcement activities, which included Business Associate Audits.

Starting this month October 2016 The Department of Health and Human Services is gearing up to kick off its first-ever round of HIPAA compliance audits of business associates.

The OCR will notify 40 to 50 business associates that have been selected for an OCR HIPAA compliance "desk," or remote, audit. Unlike covered entities that earlier this year first received an email from OCR requesting verification of contact information in case they were chosen for an audit, business associates aren't getting any warning. During the summit, Deven McGraw indicated that they have robust contact information for our BA pool from the covered entity auditees.

OCR will host an informational webinar for the chosen business associates, similar to what the agency did for its selected covered entities, she says.

Make sure you have the right documentation; there is no such thing as to much documentation.

OCR is in the midst of evaluating the information and documentation it requested from the 167 covered entities that were notified in July about being audited for HIPAA compliance.

Like the covered entities, the business associates will have only 10 days to submit detailed documentation about specific aspects of their HIPAA compliance. 

Practicing quality medicine while maintaining and managing the bottom line is a balancing act that provider's face daily. The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group is committed to and has helped healthcare providers across the country with new practice startups, IRO needs, and providing practice management and compliance solutions. Call our office to discuss any needs you might have.

Regina Mixon Bates, CEO | The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group | www.ppsosgroup.com

Fix My Practice – CMS granted physicians four “pick-your-pace” options to comply with MACRA’s – October 28, 2016

The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group® www.ppsosgroup.com

CMS is giving physicians four quality reporting options in an attempt to ensure physicians do not receive a negative payment adjustment due to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) in 2019. CMS’ September 8 announcement delaying the reporting requirements established under MACRA, I'm my opinion, this is a good thing for physicians.

Prior to last week's announcement, physicians were facing full implementation of the value-based payment system for Medicare reimbursement under MACRA starting January 1, 2017. The reporting requirements are considered onerous by many, and providers and payers who pressed Medicare for postponement over the summer.
In making the announcement, CMS granted physicians four "pick-your-pace" options to comply with MACRA's reporting requirements next year:


–    Submitting enough data to the Quality Payment Program "to ensure that your system is working and that you are prepared for broader participation in 2018 and 2019"
–    Submitting the full set of performance data for less than the full 2017 calendar year
–    Submitting the full set of performance data for the full 2017 calendar year
–    Participating in an Advanced Alternative Payment Model in 2017

 

By adopting this thoughtful and flexible approach, the Administration is encouraging a successful transition to the new law by offering physicians options for participating in MACRA. The minimal reporting option will also allow for a longer transition period for those practices that still need time to adjust for the new MACRA performance requirements without being at risk of negative adjustments.  

 

Practicing quality medicine while maintaining and managing the bottom line is a balancing act that provider's face daily. The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group is committed to and has helped healthcare providers across the country with new practice start ups, IRO needs, and providing practice management and compliance solutions. Call our office to discuss any needs you might have.

Regina Mixon Bates, CEO | The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group | www.ppsosgroup.com

Fix My Practice – Trusting the Landlords and Their Real Estate Agents to Represent You for a Lease – May 23, 2016

The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group® www.ppsosgroup.com

 

Trusting the Landlords and Their Real Estate Agents to Represent You for a Lease

The old adage may be, "Physician, heal thyself," but when it comes to real estate, you are best served by an expert who will capitalize on market conditions to obtain the best possible real estate outcome for you and your practice.

As a physician, your time is best spent focusing on your practice and working with your patients. The same way you hire a practice manager to manage your practice, an attorney to handle your legal affairs, an accountant to handle your taxes, and a financial adviser to manage your wealth, find a qualified, conflict-free medical office expert, someone worthy of your trust, and then empower that real estate professional to guide you in your real estate planning and negotiations to save you time, risk, and money.

In a lawsuit, it is illegal, unethical – and even illogical — for an attorney to represent both the plaintiff and the defendant. There is an obvious conflict of interest. In real estate transactions this practice is called "dual agency," and it carries with it the same inherent conflict of interest, except that it is legal and done all the time by so-called "full service" real estate agents. We are unique because we represent only tenants; never landlords.

Landlords hire the "full service" real estate agents to find doctors to fill their empty medical office buildings. These agents’ interests are in lock step with their landlord employers and their singular aim is to maximize the rent paid by the medical tenants.

On the other hand, tenants want to pay less rent. And yet many unsuspecting physicians trust these very same landlord/full service agents to advise them in their real estate negotiations. These physicians are often later disappointed that their agent did not do more for them in the negotiations. But if they understood the agent’s true allegiance, they would understand their motivation.

The inherent conflict of interest that exists in dual agency relationships plagues the commercial real estate industry and should be avoided by physicians – and other tenants – at all costs.

Time is one of your best leverage tools in real estate negotiations. If you run out of it, things can get expensive fast. Our team of licensed real estate professionals provides professional lease negotiations, construction, space design and project management so that you understand the complexity of the project and can plan accordingly.

 

Practicing quality medicine while maintaining and managing the bottom line is a balancing act that provider's face daily. The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group is committed to and has helped healthcare providers across the country with new practice start ups, IRO needs, and providing practice management and compliance solutions. Call our office to discuss any needs you might have.

 

Regina Mixon Bates, Principal |Bates Realty Group and The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group

Fix My Practice – Personal Health Cloud: An Advanced Version of the Personal Health Record – December 14, 2015

The Physicians Practice S.O.S. Group® www.ppsosgroup.com

Personal Health Cloud: An Advanced Version of the Personal Health Record – Written by Hannah Nava

When it comes to an individual’s health, who should know more about it, the patient or their doctors? The answer is the patient, though unfortunately this is not always the case. Many patients cannot recall family history, when specific vaccinations were received, or when surgeries were performed. This information is not even kept in a written or electronic log; the only record is the doctor’s.

There is a push from doctors, medical providers, and medical software providers for patients to be in charge of their own health. This push comes in the form of a personal health record or a personal health cloud, both of which are maintained and updated by a patient. But what is the difference between the two—or are they essentially the same?

Personal Health Record

A personal health record (PHR) (also called a patient health record) is self-descriptive: It is a patient’s health record that is managed by the patient, compared to an electronic health record, which is managed by the physician’s office. A PHR may be paper-based, but it is more beneficial in electronic form. While having a company on a thumb drive works, it is best to have this information accessible via the Internet, such as a Google Document. Having the record available online means that it can be accessed whenever it is needed via Wi-Fi-enabled computer or phone. With your PHR at your fingertips, you can make your visits more impactful and, should anything happen, those first on site can have that information, too.

All information regarding your health should be included, such as:

    • Birth date
    • Blood type
    • Primary doctor’s information
    • Medications and dosages
    • Immunizations
    • Surgeries and dates
    • Family history of disease, cancer, etcetera
    • Exercise and/or dietary habits

The information in your personal health record should be accurate and updated as frequently as possible. By doing so, you are ensuring that you’re getting the best care in case something happens.

Personal Health Cloud

A personal health cloud (PHC) is similar to a PHR in that it is also a health record managed by the patient and can be accessed from a variety of electronic sources like a Wi-Fi-enabled phone or tablet. The difference is that PHC’s are strictly accessed via the internet. Essentially, a PHC is a PHR, but in the cloud: A PHR can be created utilizing an application such as Google Documents, where a PHC generally requires utilizing a provider that takes care of hosting the information and reduces the chance of losing access to the information.

Several companies exist that focus on providing PHCs to clients. The benefit, aside from reducing the chance of losing access to the information, is that there are already suggestions for what data to input. Because it is not being created from scratch, a PHC helps an individual better organize and model their health information. Individual family member records can even be connected under one account.

Some PHCs are taking it a step further. They attempt to save time at the office or on the phone by cutting out the administrative staff, including options such as secure messaging, scheduling appointments, or filling out forms prior to a visit. These actions are taken online via the PHC provider’s website or app, if applicable. The downside to these options is that the physician’s office would need to be on board with this service. If not, those options are useless.

Patient Portal

Depending on your health care provider, you may have access to a patient portal. This is not to be confused with either a PHR or a PHC, as the information in the patient portal is updated by the physician’s office; however, it is beneficial in updating your own PHR or PHC. A patient portal will include details about previous office visits, including any new prescriptions or concerns. Sometimes a visit to the doctor can seem overwhelming, so having access to such a portal can ensure that you are inputting accurate information into your PHR or PHC.

Choosing a PHR or a PHC is ultimately up to the patient and how they feel most comfortable organizing, inputting, and storing data related to their health. Regardless of what method is chosen, it is crucial for a patient to have access to some type of record that they maintain themselves. It can save them money, help prevent treatment complications, and provide a 360-degree overview of their health.

**Hannah Nava loves writing about any topic, and the medical industry is no exception. She currently writes on behalf of the EHR experts at OmniMD. When not marrying words, Hannah enjoys reading science fiction, fantasy, and dystopian works; sipping margaritas (always frozen); and trying to make the world a happier place. Tweet her @hannahmnava or connect with her on LinkedIn.

 

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