EHR training proves to be crucial

Implementing an electronic health record system into a hospital or physician clinic can sometimes seem to be a difficult task. From transferring paper documents to digital form to providing training for EHR software, the switch to a new system can take time and cost money. Recently, the lack of training resulted in a loss of money. Bradley Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Tennessee experienced issues with delayed Medicare claims due to an inadequate amount EHR training for its staff, according to the Cleveland Banner.

Rejected claims
The Cleveland Daily Banner reported that BHRC had Medicare claims rejected due to an issue with ZIP codes. Instead of using a nine-digit ZIP code, BHRC employees filled out claims forms with a five-digit ZIP code. However, once the ZIP code issue was corrected, claims were still not being approved.

BHRC implemented the use of an EHR system for its nurses and caregivers in order to raise the ease of collecting and analyzing health data, as well as to increase the accuracy of documents, according to EHRIntelligence. The lack of adequate training for staff members resulted in a backlog of Medicare claims.

BHRC received notices identifying the problem: one of the claims in a large batch had a single error. Yet, the notice was in a file format that the EHR system was unable to open and employees could not read. One specific viewer in the system was the solution.

"We [did not] know where it was," Sandy Brock, controller at BHRC, told the Cleveland Daily Banner. "No one had showed us in training."

Once the problem was corrected, BHRC resubmitted the claims for the month of May and Medicare accepted them. At this point, the next months' set was ready to be sent out, but employees could not do that until the organization received payments. Due to the delay in payment, BHRC had to take $230,000 from it escrow account in order to pay its workers. This is not the first time that poor EHR training resulted in a problem for health providers.

Similar situations
​EHRIntelligence reported that Whidbey General Hospital in the state of Washington was left with inadequate funds after a glitch in its billing system caused the hospital's multimillion dollar line of credit to be delayed. When an issue arose at Saint Francis Hospital and Health Centers in New York, the care provider needed to file for Chapter 11 protection, according to EHRIntellegence. The source stated that Trinity Medical Center reached a settlement worth over $106 million with Cerner, an international health care information technology corporation. The problem, Trinity claimed, was caused by defective accounting software.

These issues could have all been avoided if health providers spent more time and resources training physicians and employees on how to properly use EHR software, as well as educating them on guidelines and regulations. Providing more adequate training could further improve the quality of care if more employees use them correctly.