EHR and Health IT Consulting
34.2K views | +4 today
Follow
EHR and Health IT Consulting
Technical Doctor's insights and information collated from various sources on EHR selection, EHR implementation, EMR relevance for providers and decision makers
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scoop.it!

ICD-10 Compliance, Stage 2 MU Prompt More IT Adoption

ICD-10 Compliance, Stage 2 MU Prompt More IT Adoption | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
The healthcare industry is on track for spending billions of dollars on health IT products throughout 2015. With the ICD-10 compliance deadline looming in October, most providers are looking to adopt advanced IT systems that incorporate the new ICD-10 coding set.

Almost 60 percent of polled hospitals leaders stated they will be focusing on transitioning to ICD-10 compliance throughout 2015, according to a report from peer60. Some typical IT products many may be purchasing include revenue cycle management, population health management, patient engagement, EHR, and ICD-10 migration systems.147504495

The researchers also broke down the surveyed hospitals by size and found that the bigger organizations are more likely to invest in health IT technology over the next year due to having more resources to spend. However, the report also discovered that very small hospitals are more likely to purchase an EHR system when compared to larger medical facilities.

It is likely that larger hospitals already have EHR systems set up and are looking toward health IT than can better coordinate care, engage patients, and provide analytics. Additionally, every hospital with over 1,000 patient beds was planning on purchasing a major IT solution in 2015.

EHR vendors are likely to remain busy throughout this year, as 27 percent of surveyed hospitals are looking to either replace a current EHR system or install a new one in the ambulatory care setting. Additionally, 31 percent of those looking to replace a system are undecided on whether to purchase from their previous vendor. This means that around one in ten hospitals will be changing their EHR vendor.

The data analytics market is also emerging among health IT systems. Despite it being a new avenue, 26 percent of hospital leaders said they are planning to buy an enterprise analytics suite in 2015, with 30 percent of these tools being first time purchases. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) were the key positions that were looking to incorporate analytics systems in their healthcare facilities. Additionally, 25 percent of those who already have analytics products are looking to update and replace their systems with more enhanced features. Nonetheless, 40 percent of the survey takers are unsure whether they will be renewing their data analytics software.

With Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements calling for greater patient engagement and the creation of patient portals among medical facilities, the healthcare sector is poised to incorporate more patient-centric solutions. However, the report found that 40 percent of hospital leaders have not picked a patient engagement strategy as of yet. Regardless, 48 percent of hospitals will be addressing patient engagement in 2015.

Others in the industry are already choosing replacement products to increase patient engagement at their facilities. With many looking to leave their current health IT vendor, there is definitely a market for product replacement aimed toward improving the patient-doctor relationship. Smaller hospitals are still considering their options.

Along with data analytics and patient engagement, more providers are looking for health IT products that improve population health management. All of these resources should move the healthcare sector toward enhancing the quality of care and patient safety over the coming years.
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

4 Ways Your Practice Can Benefit from a Mix of Technology and Human Touch

4 Ways Your Practice Can Benefit from a Mix of Technology and Human Touch | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

One of the biggest misnomers about an EHR implementation is that it will replace many of the human elements of your practice. While the EHR can replace some of the tasks and processes that were done by humans, the reality is that EHR software is most powerful when paired with human touch. This concept is infused into our Ideal Medical Practice Workflowwhitepaper and should be infused into every clinical practice.

As we enter 2015, here’s a look at 4 more ways your practice can benefit from a mix of technology and human touch:

1. Rescheduling Patients
One of the biggest forms of lost revenue for a practice comes in not rescheduling patients who missed their appointment. While some of these missed appointments represent low quality patients, many missed appointments happen for a good reason and are an opportunity for more revenue for your practice. Unfortunately, most practices don’t consistently reach out to patients and reschedule their appointment. Along with providing additional revenue for your practice, this extra patient outreach is a great form of customer service that will be appreciated by many of your patients and shared with their friends. While some of the rescheduling can be done using technology like emails and text messages, nothing shows a patient you care about them more than a telephone call about a missed appointment.

2. Complete Eligibility Verification
I’ve written previously about the importance of complete eligibility verification and a quality eligibility verification team. While having the correct eligibility information is always important, I can’t stress how much more important eligibility verification is at the start of a new year. At the start of a new year, patients once again are working to meet their deductible and therefore have a higher patient pay amount. Plus, the new ACA insurance plans means many patients will start the new year off with a new insurance plan. If you don’t have a 100% consistent process for verifying a patient’s eligibility, then you’re office is likely working off of old information which will hamper your ability to collect the correct payment from the patient.

3. Referral Tracking
Not appropriately tracking referrals is a big issue in many practices that can easily be handled with a mix of technology and human follow up. Not tracking these referrals is a big clinical compliance issue for your practice that has the potential to lead to a lawsuit. Along with the potential legal liability, I believe having a dedicated team following up on these orders will become extremely important in the new world of value based reimbursement and ACOs. In this next generation of reimbursement, your payment will depend on your ability to ensure patient compliance with outside referrals.

4. Annual Well Visit Reminders
Annual Well visit reminders are another great way to increase high quality visits to your practice. Many practices convert a regular visit into an Annual Well visit. While this may seem convenient for the patient, it usually means you’re cutting the patient short in the care you could provide them. You just don’t have the time in a sick visit to do a thorough well visit exam as well. Even more important is reaching out to those patients you haven’t seen for a while. It’s incredibly valuable to have a dedicated person or team who identifies all of these patients and sends them a reminder or calls them about their annual well visit. Plus, these annual well visits are a great way to add to your bottom line.

As you look at each of these 4 ways to improve your practice, they all require the right mix of technology and human touch to be done properly. In a busy practice, that can often mean hiring more staff or outsourcing some of these processes to an outside company. Either way, the value created for your practice by implementing these small but important changes will easily offset any additional costs. Plus, you’ll have happier and healthier patients in the process.


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

EHR Incentive Program Status Report October 2014 - HITECH AnswersHITECH Answers

EHR Incentive Program Status Report October 2014 - HITECH AnswersHITECH Answers | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

As of October 2014, more than 418,000 health care providers received payment for participating in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs.  In May 2013, CMS announced that more than half of all eligible health care providers had been paid under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. In August of 2014, HHS reported more physicians and hospitals are using EHRs than before. And in December of 2014, an ONC data brief released stated financial incentives and ability to exchange clinical information found to be top reasons for EHR adoption.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the most recent numbers for the EHR Incentive programs. Here are some Program-to-date highlights from this latest CMS report – October.

  • Active registrations of those completed totaled 505,641 breaking down with 335,964 Medicare EPs, 164,912 Medicaid EPs, and 4,765 hospitals.
  • 50 States and 5 territories have open Medicaid registration. For links to states’ Medicaid EHR Incentive Program websites, see your State EHR Incentive Program Milestones and Web Resources guide.
  • A total of 418,752 unique providers have been paid with breakdown of 268,010 Medicare EPs, 132,412 Medicaid EPs, 4,695 eligible hospitals, and 13,635 Medicare Advantage Organizations for EPs.
  • 39,271 EPs have received a HPSA bonus payment for program years 2011 and 2012.
  • 3,514 hospitals have received payments under both Medicare and Medicaid (of those, 727 were CAHs).
  • A total of $25,774,554,152 has been paid out in the program to date.
  • Medicare EPs have been paid $6,525,991,926 with the majority of those, Doctors of Medicine or Osteopathy receiving $5,880,245,369.
  • Medicaid EPs have been paid $3,360,689,785 with the majority of those, Physicians receiving $2,358,438,340.
  • Eligible hospitals have been paid $15,481,118,733 with Medicare only $597,234,756, Medicaid only $366,549,394, and Medicare/Medicaid $14,517,334,584.
  • Medicare Advantage Organizations For Eligible Professionals have been paid $406,753,707.
  • Medicaid EHR Incentive payments began in January 2011 and Medicare EHR Incentive payments began in May 2011.
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Health IT Funding Doubled In 2014

Health IT Funding Doubled In 2014 | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it
From $2 billion in 2013 to $4.7 billion last year, digital health funding is skyrocketing.

Mercom Capital Group has found funding for digital health more than doubled from 2013 to 2014. According to the report, in 2013, $2 billion was spent on health IT. In 2014, $4.7 billion was spent on the same. The technologies that were most invested in include, according to iHealth Beat:

● clinical decision support, with $517 million

● data analytics, with $367 million

● population health management, with $247 million

“The healthcare IT sector had another phenomenal fundraising year,” Raj Prabhu, CEO and co-founder of Mercom Capital Group, said in a statement. “In the five years since we started tracking funding data, the sector has raised $8.8 billion in VC funding and another $3.6 billion in public market and debt financings bringing the total to $12.4 billion – largely driven by the HITECH and Affordable Care Act. However, the enthusiasm in the sector shown by the VC community was not quite matched by the public markets when you look at market performance of companies that went the IPO route in 2014.”

Healthcare Informatics reports mHealth venture capital funding reached $1.2 billion, most of which went to wearables with $526 million and mHealth apps with $507 million. Telehealth companies received $369 million.

There were 219 health IT mergers and acquisitions in 2014. In 2013, that number was only 165. Revenue cycle management companies experienced 28 merger and acquisition transactions, while practice management companies experienced 28; and mobile health companies experienced 21 merger and acquisition transactions.

Another report says that $4.7 billion might be an underestimate. EHR Intelligence reports that a report from StartUp Health placed that number at $6.5 billion. The article notes, however, that despite the difference in numbers, both reports agree that “big data analytics, population health management, and consumer-focused engagement technologies are being heavily sought after by venture capitalists, which are willing to invest large sums in the success of novel ideas.”
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

AMA Lists EHRs, Meaningful Use, ICD-10 as Top 2015 Challenges

AMA Lists EHRs, Meaningful Use, ICD-10 as Top 2015 Challenges | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The New Year’s celebrations may be dying down this week as the healthcare industry gets back to work, but the American Medical Association (AMA) wants providers to keep a watchful eye on ten major challenges that they will face during the year ahead.  From ICD-10 to meaningful use to improving population health management and chronic disease care, the AMA list highlights some common complaints.

At the top of the list is a familiar refrain: the ongoing burden of regulatory initiatives such as meaningful use that have frustrated physicians for years.  The AMA has long advocated for changes to the program, and plans to “intensify” its efforts to push CMS towards greater flexibility for the program, especially after more than 50% of providers were notified that they will be receiving Medicare payment adjustments in 2015.

The overly-strict requirements of the EHR Incentive Programs “are hindering participation in the program, forcing physicians to purchase expensive electronic health records with poor usability that disrupts workflow, creates significant frustrations and interferes with patient care, and imposes an administrative burden,” AMA President Elect Steven J. Stack, MD said in a statement.

Coupled with meaningful use is the AMA’s other nemesis – ICD-10.   While the organization has tried everything from a Twitter rally to Congressional letters to industry appeals in order to continue delaying the code set indefinitely, the new list of challenges takes a bit of a different tack.  Instead of reiterating the AMA’s opposition to the codes, the list simply says that the AMA “has advocated for end-to-end testing, which will take place between January and March and should provide insight on potential disruptions from ICD-10 implementation, currently scheduled for Oct. 1.”

“Given the potential that policymakers may not approve further delays, ICD-10 resources can help physician practices ensure they are prepared for implementation of the new code set,” the section continues, which is some of the mildest language the AMA has used about the ICD-10 transition for some time.

Is there a little hint of resignation to defeat now that Congress itself has backed the 2015 implementation date, or will the AMA continue its lengthy fight until the very end?  The degree to which the AMA pushes resistance instead of readiness over the next few months may impact how many providers are prepared for the deadline and how many continue to pin their hopes on a postponement.

Other items on the list that will impact physicians in 2015 include the rampant abuse of prescription medications, the spread of diabetes and heart disease, and the need to adequately modernize medical education and the AMA’s Code of Medical Ethics.

The list also highlights the need to continue medical research and the sharing of clinical knowledge, to which end the AMA is launching JAMA Oncology, a new journal in its network of publications.  Physician satisfaction and the financial sustainability of medical practices is also on the AMA’s mind as it beta tests professional tools to help physicians chart a profitable course for the future.

To round out the top ten issues for the healthcare industry in the coming year, the AMA includes the need for reform to the Medicare physician payment system after the latest temporary Congressional SGR fix in April, the need to ensure adequate provider networks for patient care, and upcoming judicial rulings on healthcare-related issues such as liability, patient privacy, and the regulation of practices by state licensure boards.


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Stage 2 just too tough? | Healthcare IT News

Stage 2 just too tough? | Healthcare IT News | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

In November, a fresh batch of disheartening Stage 2 attestation numbers prompted several industry groups to once again implore the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for relief.

CMS numbers released Nov. 4 show that fewer than 17 percent of U.S. hospitals have demonstrated Stage 2 capabilities. Even worse, fewer than 38 percent of eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals have met either stage of meaningful use in 2014.

As for eligible professionals, just 2 percent have managed to meet Stage 2 so far, and it seems unlikely that very many more will have reached that threshold by the Feb. 28, 2015, attestation deadline.

Officials from the AMA, CHIME, HIMSS and MGMA said in a joint press release that the numbers are "disappointing, yet predictable," and reiterated their calls for CMS to offer more leniency to help address providers' widespread difficulty in meeting federal electronic health record requirements.

"Providers have struggled mightily in 2014, in many instances for reasons beyond their control," said CHIME CEO Russell Branzell. "If nothing is done to help them get back on track in 2015, we will continue to see growing dissatisfaction with EHRs and disenchantment with meaningful use."

Given the disappointing numbers so far, and the "tremendous number of providers required, but likely unable to fulfill, Stage 2 for a full 365-days in 2015," the stakeholders have asked CMS numerous times for a shortened, 90-day reporting period in 2015.

If CMS continues to hold fast on a full-year of reporting data for 2015, she said, "we anticipate that large segments of providers will no longer be able to participate in the program," said Carla Smith, executive vice president of HIMSS.

It was a common refrain in the second half of 2014, as it became more and more clear just how hard a time hospitals and practices were having complying the stringent measures of Stage 2.


Beyond a shorter reporting period, many have called for more flexibility, especially around problematic measures around electronic transmission of care summaries and patient access,

"CMS must end its one-size-fits all approach to achieve the goals of the meaningful use program, which are to create a secure and interoperable infrastructure," said AMA President Elect Steven J. Stack, MD. "We believe the stringent pass fail requirements for meeting meaningful use, combined with a tsunami of other overlapping regulations, are keeping physicians from participating in the meaningful use program."

At the CHIME 2014 Fall CIO Forum in October, a big topic of concern is is the start of Medicare penalties in 2015 for hospitals failing to meet those meaningful use standards.

As Healthcare IT News contributor Neil Versel reported, CHIME Vice President for Public Policy Jeff Smith said the dearth of hospitals with Stage 2 success was a "troubling" trend – never mind the fact that "hospitals, by comparison, are leagues ahead" of their physician practice counterpart.

Even if thousands more docs were to attest to Stage 2 before the end of the year, he pointed out, the vast majority of more than half a million EPs are at risk of being penalized.

That, said Smith, means many will be calling their representatives in Congress – and about the only thing Congress knows how to do with something like meaningful use is to kill it, Versel wrote.

"I think meaningful use has been to a degree a victim of the federal rule-making process," Smith said. "We're still engaged with CMS to try and figure out a way to make these (attestation) numbers better," said Smith.

CMS has made conciliatory gestures – such as reopening the submission period for meaningful use hardship exception applications (some 44,000 providers applied for exceptions before the initial deadline). But for the most part it has held firm on MU's most contentious measures, so far.

Meanwhile, exasperation has only increased.

"I've never seen this level of frustration in our membership, as I have in the past six to eight months or so," says MGMA Senior Policy Advisor Robert Tennant. "It's not just meaningful use. But that is certainly one of the catalysts."

What that means for the future of a program that initially showed so much progress remains to be seen.

In September, an alphabet soup of industry groups – HIMSS, CHIME, MGMA  AMA, AHA and AAFP co-signed a letter to CMS in which they reiterated their concerns that "the pace and scope of change had outstripped our collective capacity to comply with meaningful use requirements," and warned that continued intransigence on the rules could result in otherwise well-meaning providers "having to drop out of the program."



more...
No comment yet.