Even though podiatrists are not among the specialties with the highest doctor compensation from Medicare, podiatrists can be targeted for Medicare fraud investigations. Some high profile cases have contributed to the pressure on podiatrists.

But there’s good news: Current technology can help you document your treatment so that you avoid—or at least are better armed to combat—fraud charges and Medicare audits. And even better news: It’s easy to use, affordable technology.

As a recent article in Podiatry Management by Michael Rosenblatt, DPM, noted, you can use smartphone or iPad technology to document nursing home visits and routine foot care in both nursing homes and your office.

Dr. Rosenblatt notes in his article that photos taken using this technology are embedded with time, date and location, making them ideal for documenting both the medical necessity and date/location where the treatment was provided. He points out that “Cell phone clocks (and dates) are usually set by the phone network. When you take the photo, the GPS location of the nursing home is right in the metadata of the picture.”

Using an iPhone or iPad to support your Medicare claim submissions this way can provide you with the proof you need to support questioned procedures.

However, Dr. Rosenblatt writes that “The best way to prove that your photos are genuine and temporally correct is to email them to yourself roughly at time of execution. Whereas messaging may cost money for each picture, email is free.”

Fraud AND HIPAA Protection with MediTouch

Text and email delivery methods could work, but users must use caution with protect against HIPAA violations. Why risk that?

Podiatry Patient-Images-SafariWith MediTouch, if you snap a photo with your iPad, the photo upload feature will associate itself with MediTouch’s “browse and upload” and present you with the Camera app or Photos app image picker. So placing patient images in a patient chart can now be performed directly from Safari — no need to email the picture to the patient chart.

When you upload the photos to your MediTouch EHR software directly from the iPad, they are:

  • Secure
  • An easily accessible part of the patient record
  • Easy to draw on directly using your fingertip or mouse

And you can still include the metadata you need to establish the date/time/location of the image. Below is an example of some of the metadata contained in an image that was taken by an iPad, stored in the MediTouch EHR and then downloaded for forensic analysis related to the date and location of the image.

Podiatrists can protect against fraud charges with an iPad and EMR software

Security and easy accessibility are useful features of image storage, but even more important is the third item listed above: the ability to draw directly on the image. This can be extremely valuable in documenting key questions such as whether a local anesthetic was injected before performing a nail avulsion. Simply take a picture of the area and draw a circle or otherwise highlight the site of the injection, being careful to show the raised wheal and redness that provide evidence of the injection. MediTouch’s unique MediDraw feature makes it easy to do this.

Be careful: Not all EMR software makes photo uploads easy

At a minimum, for your protection you will need electronic medical records software that allows uploading of these types of photos. As Dr. Rosenblatt pointed out in his article, “Some computerized podiatry record programs make it very difficult, if not impossible, to include images in their documentation.”

Not so with MediTouch.

“HealthFusion provides features that really make my life easier and speed up the process for me, like uploading images directly into the patient’s chart,” says Cumberland, MD-based podiatrist Peter Brieloff. “It’s a much easier upload with a lot less clicking than other EHRs.”

Make sure you’re protecting your practice with photo documentation of your treatment, and that the documentation doesn’t slow your charting down.

See how MediTouch makes this type of documentation easy, plus streamlines charting and billing for podiatrists. Contact us now for a live, personalized demo.