Electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR) are two terms that are often used interchangeably but have key differences An EMR is a patient chart that is localized to one practice; if a patient moves to another healthcare provider, their EMR needs to be transferred to provide continuity of care. An EHR is also a patient record, but the key difference is that it contains information from multiple doctors or healthcare systems and has a more holistic view of the patient’s health.
Between the two, an EHR is a more robust source of information, and the history of care, test results, illnesses and hospitalizations, and medications provide valuable information to the current provider.
Healthcare systems and professionals working within them are operating under unprecedented circumstances of demand and complexity. Adding to this complexity is the management of billing and payment processing, which has historically been a manual process at the hospital and practice level, and an inconvenient task for patients.
Why EMR and EHR Payment Integration?
In today’s world, convenience and safety are a priority for businesses and consumers alike. While many retailers and other businesses have evolved to more seamless systems and convenient payment processing platforms, the healthcare system remains bogged down by inconvenient payment solutions.
All healthcare providers collect payments, but when payment processing systems are separate from the patient EMR/EHRs, the process may feel clunky or antiquated to the end-user.
Integrating payments into EMRs and EHRs provides a seamless, safe, and convenient way for patients to remit payments and healthcare providers to manage billing for their practices.
Better Collection Rates
Whether a patient uses an online portal to submit payment, or they mail in an invoice, the process is often inconvenient and time-consuming. Additionally, many medical bills are not able to be paid in full, creating the need to track balances and account standings as payments are made over time. While an inconvenient user experience is not always the reason collecting payments proves to be difficult, it can contribute to delays and extend the time it takes for a practice to receive payment.
Traditional billing can be a burden on the consumer and provider, and integrating payments into the EMR/EHR can alleviate the hassle and increase responses. With an integrated platform, billing can also be automated, which ensures invoices are sent out in a timely manner, eliminating the cumbersome process of a collections specialist auditing patient accounts.
Save Time and Resources
Manually managing invoices and payments is a time-consuming process that requires significant resources from the healthcare provider. When payments are tied to patient records, the process becomes more automated, and medical practices are better able to manage accounts. This also eliminates the time and human error risk of manually inputting payment from paper invoices. An integrated platform makes viewing reports and reconciling records far easier and more accurate.
Many providers today still use multiple methods of collecting payments. For example, a practice may accept cash payments and use a card terminal, in addition to an online platform. While accepting payments in multiple forms proves to be a benefit, disparate systems are tougher to reconcile and pose additional risks for human error.
Reduce Risk and Improve Compliance
Integrating medical records and payments allows medical providers to better maintain compliance and reduce risks associated with having a disintegrated system. Many providers have added payment options over the years as they’ve become available. These expanded offerings are necessary as technology has evolved, but using multiple systems can create a disjointed user experience and pose additional security risks.
By using an all-in-one platform that integrates payment capabilities to health records, healthcare providers are able to better track and maintain these records, making them safer and more compliant.
Accept More Payment Types
Another benefit of payment integration is the ability to accept additional forms of payment electronically. One example that is beneficial for medical practices is accepting ACH payments, which are convenient for the customer, and reduce card processing fees for the practice. Other payment methods can also be accepted, providing convenient options for the patient and enabling them to pay their bill in a secure manner.
Improve Patient Experience
All of the above reasons to integrate payments into EMR/EHRs primarily serve healthcare practices. An added benefit of streamlining the collection process is an improved patient experience. By creating a user-friendly interface, offering multiple payment options, and providing a secure manner to send payment, the patient greatly benefits along with the practice.
Additionally, the ability to view medical records in tandem with billing can alleviate some of the confusion that comes with understanding medical bills. In fact, 74% of patients report they are confused by the explanation of benefits and medical bills. Simplifying the billing and payment process can reduce confusion and create a more positive patient experience.
Though healthcare is a necessity, there are a plethora of options for people to choose from when selecting a healthcare provider. Practices with antiquated technology, patient portals, and inconvenient payment processing may be at risk of losing business. As technology advances, user experience takes precedence and becomes not only the norm but the expectation.
How to Integrate Payments with EMR/EHR
Payments can be integrated with medical and health records with a secure platform that is enabled to process payments and is both PCI and HIPAA compliant. Stax offers a seamless platform that allows patients to choose payment options they are most comfortable with. This includes contactless payments, text-to-pay, debit/credit payments, ACH transfers, the ability to schedule recurring payments, and more.
Stax works with providers to ensure PCI and HIPAA compliance. In addition to receiving 24/7 customer support, Stax has transparent pricing and a subscription model, which allows providers to better predict costs.
The solution also comes with access to valuable data and analytics. Dashboards that are directly linked to payments and records provide insights into the practice that may otherwise be missed if using multiple systems.
Once payments and records are integrated, dedicated support and the right equipment for your unique needs mean implementation is as seamless as the end-user experience. Stax offers everything in one platform, including QuickBooks integration and over 200 other available software integrations.
Healthcare practices looking to modernize their billing and payment processing should consider the above benefits of a convenient and secure EMR/EHR integrated payment processing system. With many solutions out there, and several payment processing options available, finding the right option that can also scale with your business can be a challenge.
Ready to get started? At Stax, expert guidance is available 24/7, with in-house online and phone support to help you find the right solution for your practice.