Does the Health Care Community Recognize your Credibility?
By Dr. Steven J. Kraus
When the phrases "credibility gab" and "consumer confidence" are mentioned nearly everyone in the chiropractic community shudders. Aren't these concerns for high esteemed analysts? Those individuals spend their lives studying the public perceptions of a clinics performance and considering what image the clinic projects. Doctors don't have to worry about building a trustworthy reputation. All they need is their certification. Right?
Wrong. Earning valued credibility is one of the hardest aspects to becoming a chiropractor. When our practice first began, we debated for hours over the little minute details that comprised our working environment. "What do these colors say about my practice?" "Would people take me seriously in this style of uniform?" After those questions were decided we moved onto nurturing more esteemed relationships with other professionals. "How will the public view me if I'm an active member of the local Kiwanis club? Will Kiwanis provide me with the image I am trying to portray?" Maintaining these key relationships, even if it is for a non-related health care group is important to a developing practice's credibility.
But no matter how hard you work to improve your relationships with clubs or create a favorable work environment; if your practice still has confrontation with third party payers you still have a major problem. The whole system seems a bit tiled against rising chiropractors doesn't it? How else are these chiropractic clinics suppose to develop a trust worthy clinic? How are they to convey this trust to their clients?
Here lies the chiropractic credibility gab. It all starts when we have to explain why only 11 to 14 percent of the entire population will ever see a chiropractor in their lifetime, yet a large percentage of people experience debilitating injuries that even the strictest doctor would demand a chiropractic solution. However, we can all recognize bias still exists between chiropractic clinics and mainstream American health care. (To view past articles surrounding the 2003 Trigon/Blue Cross/Blue Shield/Anthem anti-chiropractic conspiracy in Virginia, log onto www.chiroweb.com/dynamic/ and search "Trigon."). Therefore it is vital that we improve our documentation practices to show the true effectiveness of our chiropractic approach.
The answer to this plaguing problem lies within the right technology. Using true electronic health recordss software like Future Health will increase our credibility, improve our patients' and third-party payers' confidence and reduce the unwarranted confrontations between others in the health care profession. Their Virtual Office Suite (VOS) can reduce the stress of not getting paid for our services and help to reduce the remaining bias against our profession.
The most obvious way Future Health's Software can improve our practices is by standardizing documentation and simultaneously enhancing their quality and consistency. Delivering the evidence of our effectiveness to those in the medical bureaucracy requires us to truly understand what proper documentation means. Future Health's documentation and billing software provide us with the ability to consistently and efficiently record our documents. This is the first step towards eliminating the institutional ideas that mark your payment claims with suspicion. There is no time to procrastinate adopting Future's Health's software. It will provide your clinic with proper, audit-ready documentation.
Future Health's technology allows chiropractors to join in the national push towards maintaining true electronic medical records and sustaining digital documentation. Chiropractors, for once, are on the same level of allopathic and allied health care: we all face the same requirements of documentation. For all those in the health care profession creating and maintaining viable, secure and HIPAA-compliant health records is significant time commitment that not only cuts into profit margin and one-on-one time with patients.
Chiropractors are poised to pave the way into this revolutionary new health care era. There have a number of allopathic physicians who have begun to shutdown their own private practices to join with a multidisciplinary clinic under a chiropractor. The advanced nature of the electronic medical records and digital documentation program provided by the chiropractor completely won some of them over.
In the past anatomical and physiological research by chiropractors has influenced mainstream medicine. Low back pain used to be a relatively small, ineffective allopathic market until chiropractors like Illi began researching sacral motion and the biomechanics of the SI joint. The same kind of revolution in medicine is possible if Chiropractors lead CAM practice integration based on the strength of their electronic medical records, documentation and digital practice management systems. Everyone is seeking a solution to streamline clinic protocols and make documentation less of a hassle. This new type of practice is wide open for confident chiropractors to sweep in and begin making waves in their local communities in addition to building valuable credibility for both themselves and their practices.
There is a great deal of power that comes with having a high-quality digital record system like Future Health. There have been some hard-nosed third party payers as well as skeptical clinicians who have completely changed their options at the sight of a digital X-ray projected up onto a flat screen television. Their opinions have been altered by viewing the impressive quality of organization and graphical documentation present in some chiropractic clinics. There is no doubt the amount of authority and credibility gained from possessing a sleek electronic documentation and clinic management infrastructure with true interoperability.
If you're still not getting how this works, just imagine what it would be like to fill out a loan application with a crayon or buy jewelry for your spouse from a card table on a street corner. These are all possibilities, but for one reason or another, they don't look right. You've understood that being a clinician means looking the part in a clinic-like environment. Your personal touch may be on everything in that clinic, but nevertheless, a perfect stranger would never walk in and mistake where your practice for an art studio or a recreation hall. Clinical documentation and records, and the technology you use to secure them, are no different. Technology can improve your clinic's efficiency, but as far as "furniture" goes, it will say more about your commitment to clinical excellence than the color of your wallpaper.
If you're saying, "That's fine, Dr. Kraus, but I'm not really interested in leading CAM practice integration in my clinic, I just want to be able to document faster," I would ask in turn: "Are you interested in receiving more referrals from MDs?" Because if you're interested in receiving more business from other health care providers (remember, they see 85 percent more of the population than we do), you will be essentially instigating a CAM revolution in your community.
It's all about bringing patients into your clinic and increasing your credibility with third-party claim reviewers and the general public. By utilizing Future Health's software you will be on your way to meeting HIPAA's call for "widespread use of electronic interchange health care". A fact that won't go unnoticed by those local members of community you can now provide the highest quality of care. This is the one simple, rewarding answer to finally bridging the credibility gap and building the practice of the future.