Are online orders the way of future?

Friday, February 5, 2016

LAKE FOREST, Calif.– Apria recently launched an electronic order management system called ApriaLink to help it work smarter and more efficiently, but will referral sources use it?

The web-based, HIPAA-compliant system gives physicians the ability to sign CMNs electronically for oxygen orders for the provider’s patients.

“It depends on the referral source,” said Rick Adamich, president of Waukesha, Wis.-based Oxygen One. “Most of our referral sources still choose to rely on faxes and aren’t interested in any sort of web portal.”

The system also provides real-time access to the status of orders; guidance about resolving order issues, including instructions for pending documentation requirements; and the ability to place new prescription orders online.

The trick to getting physicians to adopt proprietary technology is getting them to see the value of it, says Adamich.
“(Physicians) are so busy, that even if something has the potential to save them time in the long run, they have to see a clear benefit to invest their time in learning how to use it,” he said. 

While some physicians already have the ability to sign CMNs electronically and place prescription orders through their EHR systems,Chris Rice says he expects to see more providers developing electronic order management systems similar to Apria’s.

“Billing software systems have done a great job handling equipment tracking and monitoring, but there’s still a big gap at the very beginning,” said Rice, CEO of Diamond Respiratory in Riverside, Calif., who plans on launching his own system in March. “Qualifying the patient is still a very labor intensive process.”

Convincing physicians to use electronic order management systems may be an uphill battle for HME providers, but it couldn’t hurt to try, says Sylvia Toscano, owner of Professional Medical Administrators.

“Due to shrinking reimbursements, any program that leverages technology in the DME space is critical for cost management,” she said.