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 Imaging Systems & Services

Specializing In Used X-Ray And Used C-Arms

Ph: (440) 953-4488

Lake County News Herald

May 22nd, 2009

Providing Backup

NCD Medical offers new medical clients free patient record and image scanning

Brandon C. Baker

Like several other industries, health care will continue receiving vast alterations under the massive American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

While debates regarding universal coverage and whether employers should be forced to provide insurance wear on, care providers are also preparing for an industrywide initiative President Barack Obama already signed into law under the ARRA.

The stimulus contains nearly $20 billion to provide hospitals and physician practices higher Medicare and Medicaid payments if they deploy Electronic Health Record systems in their offices by 2011. However, the government has yet to specify the requirements that will enable the providers to receive maximum dollars - up to $64,000 for practices and as much as $11 million to large hospitals.

As care centers, doctors and others make their plans, Charles J. Patti, president and chief executive officer of Eastlake-based NCD Medical Corp., hopes they turn to him as an effective go-to guy.

He is offering new medical clients free patient record and image scanning. The clients can then store and continually gain access to the documents using Patti's eWIX Web Repository Service, an in-house, firewalled, Virtual Private Network system already used by non-medical big names like Saint-Gobain, STERIS Corp, Arhaus Furniture and Riddell.

NCD Medical's offering is timely because it tries to mitigate the dangerous waiting game that doctors and hospitals are caught up in. They do not want to pay for systems if they are not sure what they need to qualify for ARRA money. Meanwhile, the time they need to spend converting thousands of patient records and images to a digital format continues to slip away.

"What we're saying is, 'Get yourself ready'," Patti said. 'What you don't want to do is, in 2010, once you find out what the regulations are, try to get all your records converted, try to deploy this system and do all this other work, as well.'

NCD Medical houses four high-speed scanners, a film digitizer, and a large format blueprint scanner to make copies for clients. Patti estimates the company can make about 50,000 scans in two hours.

"We really don't have an EHR, but what we do have is a way to make medical records electronic, and then be able to store and access them electronically," Patti said. "They're going to need to do that in order to get these records into their EHR system."

"If we give them the opportunity to do that now, it will be a much easier transition to move into their EHR if their records are already electronic and available."

The EHR portion of the ARRA inspired the initiative as the first medical application of eWIX.

Arhaus and others use eWIX through Patti's other company, National Consulting and Developement Corp., for which NCD Medical is a reseller. The repository already stores millions of documents, Patti said.

Patti and his team are pitching two more benefits of their system and free scanning. First, that it can be used to back up the images for disaster recovery, even after the practice or care center deploys its EHR. Patti also emphasized that medical providers can be penalized on their reimbursements if they don't use an EHR by 2014.

So far, NCD Medical has signed up a Magnetic Resonance Imaging center in New York and eight urgent care centers in Louisiana. Patti plans on using direct mail marketing to bring area companies aboard.

"We think we should get a pretty good response,"he said. "Nobody else is talking about doing that. My guess is that, as people look at it, a lot of the conversion houses will jump on the idea because it does make sense to keep things electronic and be ready."

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