Electronic Risk Assessment at Check-in Time Offers Financial, Patient Benefits

May 21, 2012
Marisa Torrieri

An increasing number of medical practices are finding that electronic check-ins go beyond entering basic data and verifying insurance.

Do physicians at your practice know a patient’s risk for one or more chronic medical conditions requiring intensive care before patients set foot into the exam room?

If not, they could be losing as much as $20 and 20 minutes of time per patient. And those are just two of the reasons risk assessments done via electronic check-in devices such as media tablets are gaining traction.

Most risk assessments conducted by clinicians usually take 20 minutes or so out of a visit, and therefore aren’t conducted even though they’re reimbursable. But by doing both check in and risk assessments electronically before the start of care, practices can also capture insurance and billing information before the patient hits the exam room.

And with diminishing reimbursements and rising practice costs, every bit of time savings and financial help counts for something.

“The time consuming process of [risk assessments] isn’t just asking of the questions,” Chaim Indig, president and CEO of Phreesia, which makes media tablets that allow for electronic patient check-ins, told Physicians Practice. “It’s the documentation, scoring, and just making sure it’s recorded properly so the doctor has information.”

In November 2010, the company incorporated the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) risk assessment tool into its flagship orange PhreesiaPad media tablet. Most notably, practices that use the technology were able to identify more than 26 percent of toddler-age patients who require further evaluation for autism spectrum disorder.

Physician Rondie Ervin of Victory Pediatrics in Covington, Ga., said the electronic system is far less cumbersome than her previous paper-based M-CHAT screening tool.

“I feel confident that we are screening our patients appropriately and giving them the level of care that they need,” Ervin said.

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