EHR and Health IT Consulting
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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
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5 Ways to Speed Up Healthcare Practice Office Management Using an EHR Solution

5 Ways to Speed Up Healthcare Practice Office Management Using an EHR Solution | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

If it hasn’t happened already, your practice will probably be adopting an EHR system soon, due to the mandated HITECH Act of 2009. While this may seem daunting and laborious now, we promise there are many benefits to integrating an EHR-PM system -- it will prove to be a great decision that will boost patient satisfaction and your practice’s overall efficiency and interoperability. Here are 5 ways it will do just that:


          1.  Automatic Appointment Reminders

Office managers have a lot to do, that’s obvious, so placing calls to confirm appointments sometimes falls by the wayside. This tends to result in missed appointments and scheduling errors. EHR systems are the solution to this problem: Practices are now able to send automatic phone calls and auto-messages to patients’ phones. Plus, EHR systems allow you to easily send a text to your patient, enabling you to connect with your patients where they are in 2016: on their cell phones.


          2.  One Screen to Rule Them All

Gone are the days when office managers and doctors were inundated with organizing and systematizing thousands of patients’ confidential records. Today, EHR systems allow for all of a patient’s historical medical records to be easily navigable from one screen. Worried about form field restrictions? No problem -- User-friendly EHRs offer progress notes and freehand fields throughout, so you will always have the most prudent information right at your fingertips.


           3.  Automatic Claim Management

If there’s one vexation we’ve heard from doctors over and over again, it’s the constant headaches and lost revenue associated with poor claim management. The reality is, insurance companies don’t always make it easy to settle their claims. An integrated EHR system will speed up this process by leveraging Revenue Cycle Management to automatically scrub claims clean, so there’s less chasing down records and insurance policies for doctors and staff.


          4.  Integrated Clearinghouses

Once these claims are scrubbed clean, 99% of them can then be submitted to clearinghouses. Some EHR software comes standard with a fully integrated clearinghouse, making the claims process easier and faster than it’s ever been. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 30% of claims are denied/ignored on the first submission to insurers and 60% of those are never resubmitted. An EHR system is a solution to this problem. The right one can increase your practice’s revenue, decrease time spent on resubmissions and save you countless headaches!


           5.  Patient Portal

The best EHR systems save office managers time by enabling patients to pay bills and securely communicate with their doctors from the comfort of their own homes, on the train or even from the waiting room. These cloud-based features will directly affect the patient-doctor relationship, resulting in more organized communication, higher retention rates, and happier patients! Thanks to this intuitive patient portal, patients will love the new accessibility of their doctors.

 

Of course, not every integrated EHR-PM system supports all of these features because not all EHR software is created equal. Practice EHR is perfectly priced and cost-efficient for practices of 1-3 doctors. It’s built by doctors for doctors, which makes it uniquely positioned to address all of the doctors and office manager’s day-to-day concerns.

 

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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20 Questions to Ask an EHR Vendor Before Making the Switch

20 Questions to Ask an EHR Vendor Before Making the Switch | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Choosing the right electronic health record (EHR) for your medical practice is a big decision. There are so many software's on the market today and it can be difficult for medical practices to find one that’s the best fit for their practice.

 

In order to make the best decision, it’s important to ask the right questions and have an honest conversation with the vendor about their software. Where do you start? The following is a list of 20 questions medical practices should ask before making the switch. This list is a compilation of the most commonly asked questions we hear from our prospective customers.

 

Ask the following questions and add a few of your own based on the needs of your practice. Asking the right questions and digging deep will help you find not only an EHR vendor but a partner who’s also committed to helping your practice be successful.

Learn about the company.

1. How many other practices use your software that our similar to my practice size and specialty?

2. Aside from EHR/PM, what other products and services can you offer my practice?

3. How do you keep my data secure?

4. Who owns the data in the system?

5. What sets you apart from other vendors?

 

Get to know the software.

6. Do you have an integrated practice management system? 

7. What clearinghouse do you use?

8. What types of devices can I use with your software?

9. Is your software cloud-based?

10. Is your system easy to use?

11. Is your software ONC 2015 Edition certified?

12. What reports are available in your EHR?

13. How will this software help improve patient flow and operations in my practice?

14. Are there any extra costs related to the software?

 

Ask questions about training, implementation, and support.

15. How long is the implementation process?

16. How is my data migrated into the EHR?

17. How does training work?

18. How responsive are your product development team and customer support team?

19. What are your support hours?

20. Are there costs related to set up, training, implementation or support?

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Practice EHR Success Story: Britt Larka, D.P.M

Practice EHR Success Story: Britt Larka, D.P.M | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Situation

 

As a solo podiatrist, Britt Larka, D.P.M struggled to find an electronic health record (EHR) system designed to meet the needs of her Houston-based practice. In an effort to find the right system for her practice, Dr. Larka implemented multiple EHR's, continually facing the same three challenges. With each new system, Dr. Larka experienced financial, workflow and operational challenges.

  • Financial - Implementation, training, etc., on top of system pricing, became a financial burden
  • Workflow - The EHR's were not made for a practice of her size and difficult to navigate
  • Operational - The EHR's were cumbersome,  negatively impacting patient care, day-to-day operations, and efficiency

Unsure where to turn next, Dr. Larka received a recommendation from her long-time billing services provider,  leading her to Practice EHR - an EHR with built-in specialty-specific content and a simple workflow designed for small practices. 

 

Results

  • Seamless implementation.  Implementing Practice EHR was a smooth process for Dr. Larka and her office staff. For all new clients, Practice EHR offers data migration, integration, training and customer support at no additional cost, easing the financial burden and the learning curve that small practices typically experience with an EHR implementation.

 

  • Improved efficiency of documentationAfter implementing Practice EHR, Dr. Larka and her team quickly appreciated the system’s easy-to-use and intuitive workflow. Practice EHR's ease of use enabled her team to work more efficiently. In addition, with built-in podiatry templates and clinical content, Dr. Larka could easily log patient care, allowing her to spend more face time with patients. 

 

  • Improved efficiency of billingDr. Larka’s staff improved practice management and efficiency with the help of Practice EHR’s electronic claim submission feature. With Practice, EHR encounters get sent electronically to billing providers from within our system, increasing efficiency for the staff and helping physicians get paid faster.


About Practice EHR

Practice EHR is a cloud-based and specialty-specific electronic health record (EHR) and practice management (PM) solution designed exclusively for small practices. We realize that a one-size-fits-all EHR isn’t right for all care settings, that’s why we designed Practice EHR to meet the needs of small practices and their specialty. Simplifying the entire documentation and billing process, Practice EHR helps more than 1,000 physicians in 23 different specialties deliver care while running a more profitable and efficient practice. Interested in learning more about Practice EHR? Request a Demo by clicking below and a member of our team will contact you.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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5 EHR Features For Optimizing Efficiency In Your Urgent Care Clinic

5 EHR Features For Optimizing Efficiency In Your Urgent Care Clinic | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The urgent care market is booming. There’s a steady increase in demand for convenient healthcare, and as a result, more patients are turning to urgent care clinics (UCCs) for their needs. With an increasing demand for care, it’s important for UCCs to operate efficiently to meet the needs of their patients and stay competitive.

 

Taking a look at your electronic health record (EHR) is a simple step in understanding how to optimize efficiency in your urgent care clinic. Does your EHR possess a simple and intuitive workflow? Above all, your EHR should support care delivery, not hinder the process. In addition, your EHR can help you uncover inefficiencies within your clinic and how to improve them.

 

Here are five EHR features every urgent care clinic can leverage to improve efficiency:

 

  1. Patient Kiosk

A strong check-in process is vital to running a successful urgent care clinic. A patient kiosk is a great tool for urgent care clinics and patients, ensuring efficient and streamlined check-in processes as well as improved patient experience. Instead of filling out paperwork upon arrival, patients can enjoy a self-service check-in system to provide important information, like demographics, family history and more. All of the information collected is integrated into the EHR and readily available for the physician’s review. The kiosk eliminates the need for paper forms and inefficiencies that come with it, improving check-in processes that result in benefits for patients, physicians, and staff.

 

  1. Electronic ID Scanning

Electronic ID scanning is another great EHR feature that improves the patient check-in process, by capturing insurance and driver's license information quickly and accurately. A patient’s card is placed in the scanner for front and back extraction of information. The collected data is then integrated into the EHR, eliminating the need for multiple data entries and potential errors that impact efficiency in UCCs.

 

  1. Document Management

An organized EHR is vital to running an urgent care clinic like a well-oiled machine. Your EHR should provide comprehensive document management capabilities to help you keep patient files secure, organized and easily accessible. A good EHR will have a simple document management system designed to make it easy for healthcare providers to find the information they need, at the right time. Unlimited cloud storage, as well as the ability to integrate and extract scans, faxes and other paperwork electronically, will help save your clinic valuable time and money.

 

  1. E-Prescribing

Given the competitive nature of the urgent care market, it is highly important for the entire patient visit to run as smoothly as possible, including prescribing medications. With electronic prescribing (e-prescribing), physicians can prescribe and send a prescription from within their EHR, maximizing efficiency, security and patient safety. E-prescribing also makes it easier for patients to receive their medications, improving patient experience and medication adherence.

 

  1. Integrated Billing

An integrated billing system is essential to optimizing your urgent care clinic and your bottom line. A good billing system should: automate administratively and claim management tasks; simplify insurance verification and eligibility checks; allow you to bill directly from your EHR. A billing system including all of these features will promote better billing processes, allowing UCCs to get reimbursed accurately and quickly for the care provided.

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EHR Features for the Modern Medical Practice

EHR Features for the Modern Medical Practice | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Keeping up with the changing healthcare landscape can be a challenge for many healthcare providers. There’s been a lot to tackle in 2017, from regulatory changes to new physician reimbursement systems, and changes like these can make it difficult for independent medical practices to stay afloat. Aside from MACRA, one of the biggest challenges we hear from our customers is the increasingly competitive nature of healthcare.

 

With increasing patient expectations and demands causing a consumer-driven healthcare environment, it’s time for medical practices to start considering how they can adapt to stay competitive. Our tip: strive to be the modern medical practice— one you and your patients will love. And leverage your EHR to help in this transition. A good EHR should provide great features to help medical practices stay ahead of the curve and be more successful.

 

What functionality and features should forward-thinking medical practices look for in an EHR? We’ve narrowed it down to three simple categories:

 

  • Features that support patient interactions and engagement. 

Does the EHR have a patient kiosk that will create a more enjoyable check-in experience? Is there a patient portal that allows patients to conveniently schedule appointments, make payments, access their records, download educational resources and securely message the physician? Features similar to those that improve the overall patient experience are necessary in today’s world. They not only help a practice stand out from the competition but also add conveniences for the patient and the entire care team.

 

  • Features that help keep you mobile. 

Medical practices who want greater flexibility should consider a cloud-based EHR. With modern features, like cloud accessibility and applications, physicians can securely access their EHR whenever and from wherever they want, using the device they are most comfortable with (i.e. desktop or iPad). Imagine conducting a patient visit virtually, or getting to choose between documenting using free text and clicks or a voice recognition program. Features like Televisit and voice recognition make these convenient scenarios possible.

 

  • Features that improve practice productivity and efficiency. 

Healthcare is an ever-changing environment and with so much to manage there’s even more reason for medical practices to make sure they run optimally. Your EHR should support that goal. A modern dashboard and a good document management setup that is easy to navigate, allows physicians to find what they need, when they need it, and also improves the amount of time it takes to facilitate care. In addition, medical practices can highly benefit from integrated features like e-prescribing, billing, and reporting. These features support better practice operations all around, such as more timely and accurate reimbursements, improved efficiency, staff communication, and patient experiences.

 

But Not All EHR Systems Are Created Equal

Some EHR solutions don’t offer these modern features and benefits. Practice EHR comes standard with these features.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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Which Multiregional EHR Vendors Fared Well Globally in 2018?

Which Multiregional EHR Vendors Fared Well Globally in 2018? | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Among multiregional electronic health record (EHR) vendors, Epic and Cerner contracts accounted for the most new hospital beds in 2018, according to a new report from KLAS Research.

 

Last year, more than 180 healthcare organizations outside the U.S. made EHR purchase decisions—impacting 377 hospitals, according to the Utah-based KLAS, which released the report on May 9, a week after it released it’s U.S. hospital EHR market share report. Last week’s U.S.-based findings revealed that for the second year in a row, Cerner signed the highest number of new hospitals, but large private sector hospitals are almost exclusively choosing Epic technology.

 

The global EHR market share report for 2019 similarly discloses that Epic and Cerner are leading the way in terms of volume of beds contracted in 2018. Epic’s 2018 contracts were some of the largest in scope, accounting for more new beds than any other vendor. The majority of these beds came from a regional decision in Singapore in which Epic was chosen as the go-forward vendor in two of the country’s three integrated healthcare clusters, KLAS reported. In total, Epic signed four new contracts (across three regions), which was one of their lowest totals in recent years.

 

Cerner, meanwhile, was selected as the go-forward EHR platform by two counties in Sweden that will be migrating to Millennium from a legacy Siemens solution. These decisions represent two of the largest contracts signed in 2018, both in size and technology scope (they include population health management) and are Cerner’s first Millennium deployments in the Nordics. The Millennium platform was not purchased outside of Europe in 2018.

 

Other multiregional vendors such as Agfa HealthCare, Dedalus, and InterSystems were each selected in eight or more decisions, according to the KLAS findings.

 

Agfa HealthCare was selected in 10 separate decisions (more than any other multiregional vendor). The “wins” occurred in two regions and include a number of net new large multihospital decisions. Dedalus had the most hospital wins of any multiregional vendor; these wins came mostly through GHTs (territorial hospital groups) in France; additional wins came from other decisions in France, Italy, and Kuwait. InterSystems was third in terms of new contracts, with eight, and saw the most geographic diversity, signing contracts in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania

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How To Choose the Right EHR for Your Practice

How To Choose the Right EHR for Your Practice | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

It takes time, dedication and the right technology to run a successful medical practice in today’s healthcare industry. Implementing an electronic health record (EHR) has become essential in order for medical practices to grow their practice and provide a better care experience for their patients.

 

EHRs are given a bad reputation, but not all EHRs are created equal. With the right platform, medical practices can offer better, more efficient, patient-centered care and run a successful practice.

 

It takes time to research and compare what each platform brings to the table. However, there are ways to narrow down your selection to ensure you find one that is the right fit. Here are a few things to consider when selecting the right EHR for your practice.

 

Cost

There’s a variety of price points for EHRs that vary based on what features you choose to include, the vendor you select, and how many providers are in your practice. Not all vendors are transparent about fees, so it’s important to get specific about what’s included in the price and what’s an additional cost. It’s ok if you don’t have a huge budget, there are EHRs on the market that provide a comprehensive platform for an affordable price.

 

Meaningful Use Certification

Ensure that your EHR is Meaningful Use (MU) 2015 edition certified so that you can qualify to participate in the MU Incentive program. Ask vendors about their certification and how the software supports your practice in meeting program requirements. You can also check certification status here.

 

Cloud-Based Accessibility

Your EHR should be cloud-based and provide access to an iPad friendly application. Unlike server-based systems, cloud-based EHRs do not require any hardware installation, maintenance, software licensing or IT staff, making them much more affordable and easily scalable for practice growth.

 

Workflow

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of an EHR is workflow; a good workflow is key to practice efficiency. Look for an EHR with a simple workflow that your entire staff finds easy to use and clinical content created specifically for your specialty.

 

Patient Engagement Tools

An EHR should provide you tools to help you easily engage and interact with patients to improve the patient experience. A good EHR will include tools like a user-friendly patient portal and a kiosk, where patients can check in and fill out forms from an iPad.

 

Automation

A platform with built in automation will help your practice save time on tasks, such as appointment reminders, medication refills, and more. For instance, with voice recognition physicians can complete notes by voice. In addition, your front desk staff will love automated eligibility verification, which pulls a patient’s insurance status 24 hours before an appointment.

 

Selecting an electronic health record (EHR) platform is an important decision for your practice that can impact patient care, practice operations and practice financials. Practices should take the time to review the software in detail to find one that’s the right fit. Cost, meaningful use, mobile accessibility, workflow, patient engagement and automation are all important factors to consider. In addition, make sure to evaluate the EHR based on factors that are specifically important to your practice. By taking these steps, you’ll be sure to find an EHR that meets (or hopefully exceeds) your expectations.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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How talkEHR's Virtual Assistant “Allison” is Helping Doctors Improve Patient Care 

How talkEHR's Virtual Assistant “Allison” is Helping Doctors Improve Patient Care  | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

MTBC has managed to successfully innovate and serve a large customer base with quality and consistency over the years,  facilitating patients and providers by making the billing process more manageable. Along the way, MTBC has offered various feature-filled PMs and EHR systems with amenities that cut costs and reduce the time spent on data entry, while allowing the providers to dedicate their time and attention fully to their patients’ care.

 

Most recently, MTBC launched talkEHR, which includes a virtual assistant named “Allison.” While the concept of having a virtual assistant is not new technology, the use of voice recognition is. Allison comprehends voice commands and also performs specific functions with increased efficiency.

 

In today’s world, providers are obligated to keep their productivity and efficiency up, and also conform to the latest healthcare policies and standards, which can be challenging. So many of them are focusing on keeping their clerical staff lean and are employing AI-based virtual assistants and EHRs to handle lengthy, repetitive tasks. We’ve built Allison to be ready to assist you so you can competently balance all the tasks mentioned above. Here are some more details about the ways in which Allison is making the lives of doctors simpler than ever:

  • Allison is programmed to manage all incoming phone calls and notify the doctors about them in a timely manner. This smooths out the influx of calls and messages, and also prevents the providers from having to deal with the distraction of any unwanted calls.
  • Allison helps to develop a smart schedule and encourages the provider to stick to it by informing them about any upcoming or missed appointments through timely prompts. Doctors have the ability to set their working days and hours in the system which automatically guides Allison on how and when to best inform the patients about their availability.
  • Allison even follows-up with the patients. This wonderful feature reminds patients of their upcoming or missed appointment through a message or phone call. Despite the automation, this makes the patients feel valued and cared for.
  • If you have any prescriptions, Allison can handle those requests by making a command to the pharmacy. This way, patients get the right medication at the right time.
  • Allison does a wonderful job of getting all the necessary patient information required for making the transcription and billing process a seamless one. She ensures that all the insurance claims created are spot-on so they are accepted by the insurance companies in one-go.
  • You can command Allison to take notes for you. The voice recognition feature will simply convert your voice input into a word file and you will have your notes ready without any hassle.
  • To save you precious time, Allison helps you locate the ICD and CPT codes based on the disease you are diagnosing. This step is crucial as it maintains the medical standards and makes sure that patients receive the correct treatment the very first time. It also helps ensure the accuracy of the claim being generated.

Allison comes with various features that make it an added bonus for your practice and offer far more efficiency than any normal virtual assistant would. And, you don’t have to allot any office space or other resources for Allison. She works seamlessly from within your talkEHR module.  Serving as a bridge between patients, practices, and the insurance companies, Allison takes your commands, understands and translates them, and then delivers results driven by the instructions she’s given. You’re left with an uninterrupted stream of operations built to enhance your productivity, and offer you some much needed convenience along the way.

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4 Key Considerations for Analysts When Implementing an EHR 

4 Key Considerations for Analysts When Implementing an EHR  | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Implementing a new EHR system requires a great deal of collaboration between clinical and technical teams. Analyzing the legacy system and operational workflows, then successfully recreating—or better yet, improving—this experience in a new EHR takes finesse.

 

The foundation of every successful EHR and other large-scale implementation is a team of analysts who are knowledgeable, engaged and passionate about their work. From groundwork and discovery to build, acceptance testing and go-live support, analysts do it all. Here are four key considerations for analysts to keep in mind to help ensure their projects go well and they continue to thrive in their roles.

 

1 – Start with the end goal in mind.

When gathering requirements, project teams will often start by walking through every workflow in the legacy system with end users. This can be a long process, and can lead to a lot of information gathering that is ultimately unnecessary. A better approach is to start at the end and work backwards. Ask users why they complete these workflows and what the expected outcome is. This will help get to the root of the requirements, and allow analysts to immediately begin thinking in terms of the new EHR.

 

Here are several questions analysts can ask when gathering requirements:

  • What is the end goal or objective?
  • Why have you traditionally done it this way?
  • What would improve the process?
  • What is the clinical rationale for this workflow?

 

By starting at the end and asking users why they do what they do and what outcome they are hoping to achieve, analysts can more effectively and efficiently build a system that meets the needs of users.

 

2 – Be aware of the functional limitations of legacy systems.

A key point that is sometimes overlooked is that EHR workflows are often defined by—and limited by—the functionality of the EHR itself. Users will default to what they are familiar with, so if a certain workflow is used frequently in the legacy system, they will assume it is required in the new one. Some workflows may not be needed, however, because the new EHR is designed to achieve the objective in a different, more efficient way. If analysts do not understand this, they risk building in features that are counterproductive, or not needed at all in the new system.

 

For example, in her current workflow, a clinic manager needs to generate and print a report of all the assessments completed in the office each day. During requirements gathering, she may feel this is an important step to replicate in the new EHR. As it turns out, this workflow is a result of poor auditing functionality in the legacy system – to keep proper records, the clinic manager is required to generate and print these reports. Improved auditing functionality in the new EHR eliminates the need for the daily assessment report and makes this workflow unnecessary.

 

3 – Communication is key.

One of the most important things an analyst can do is to effectively translate the clinical and business needs of end users into technical requirements for the new EHR system. They must also communicate future-state workflows in a way end users can understand and relate to. Communicating effectively is vital to project success.

 

EHR transitions are often intimidating and frightening for users who have established a comfort level with the legacy system, and likely had little input in the decision to change platforms. Analysts can begin to alleviate concerns and increase user adoption by putting together a few “quick wins.” A quick win is when an analyst identifies a piece of functionality that is very important to users, but is also easy to build and demonstrate in the new EHR. Quick wins communicate to users the team is not only listening to their needs, but can also deliver solutions quickly and effectively. This also increases confidence, workgroup participation, and communication response time with users and stakeholders, all of which contribute to project success.

 

4 – Strike a balance between functionality and maintainability.

Enterprise EHR systems are complex and, depending on the size and diversity of the user base, may require a team of several hundred application analysts to maintain. In addition, it’s important to remember that every clinical user in a health system is depending on the EHR to complete their documentation and deliver the highest quality of care to patients. Because of this, it is important to strike a balance between functionality and maintainability.

 

If the project team attempts to build in every piece of functionality requested by end users, including things that are nice to have but not critical for the system to function, the EHR will become unwieldy and difficult to maintain. Future updates by the EHR vendor will likely break any customizations, cause unnecessary downtime, and push the volume of help desk requests beyond what the business can support.

 

In contrast, if the project team oversimplifies and standardizes too much, they risk building a system that does not meet the core requirements of end users. When users can’t leverage the system the way they need, they find “creative” approaches that don’t always work, or simply don’t document everything needed. This can lead to a host of problems such as violating operational policy, regulatory reporting issues, loss of revenue due to incorrect documentation, HIPAA violations and, ultimately, lower quality of care for patients. A well-balanced system will keep the support team busy but not overwhelmed, include all required functionality as well as some quality of life features and allow clinicians to be at their best with patients.

 

In summary, by keeping workflow objectives in mind, understanding legacy system limitations, communicating effectively and balancing functionality and maintainability, analysts demonstrate the value of their critical role in EHR implementation success.

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Population Health, EHR, Analytics Needs Drive Orgs to Consultants

Population Health, EHR, Analytics Needs Drive Orgs to Consultants | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

 

August 15, 2018 - Health IT consultants are reaping significant financial rewards as provider organizations seek to bulk up their population health management technologies and big data analytics toolkits, according to a new survey from Black Book Market Research.

 

As pressure to engage in data-driven value-based care initiatives increases, healthcare organizations are likely to spend close to $53 billion in 2018 on consultants who can provide specialized project management expertise and technical aid for health IT optimization.

 

Around 64 percent of that market opportunity, or just under $30 billion, will center on the implementation, optimization, and integration of health IT systems that can support cost reductions and quality improvements, the survey of more than 1500 respondents indicated.

 

Hospitals, health systems, payers, pharmaceutical developers, and physician groups are all turning to consultants in droves due to widespread organizational challenges.

 

Eighty-one percent of respondents said that consultant contracts can help them cope with the lack of highly skilled IT professionals, while 74 percent are looking for support as cloud technology becomes more common in the healthcare environment.

 

More than 60 percent of organizations are looking for help optimizing their electronic health records (EHRs) and revenue cycle management (RCM) technologies, while 46 percent plan to supplement their technology training and implementation capabilities in 2019.

 

Value-based care, including population health management tools and strategies, is top of mind of 39 percent of respondents. Thirty-one percent are looking to improve their big data analytics and clinical decision support competencies.

 

A third of organizations are hoping to leverage consultants to help them work through compliance issues, as well, while 37 percent are interested in expanding their cloud infrastructure.

 

Cybersecurity, interoperability, and consumer-facing initiatives were less pressing but still of interest to participating providers.

 

Provider groups, payers, and health systems aren’t the only ones looking to leverage technology to streamline operations and create efficiencies.

 

Consultants, too, are shifting from traditional methods of deploying a specialist for an intensive project to using technology to automate processes and collaborate more efficiently, said Doug Brown, Founder of Black Book.

 

Organizations are also willing to take advice from experts with deep experience in niche problem-solving, and are likely to engage a number of different boutique firms that will be asked to work together to solve business problems.

 

Eighty-four percent of respondents said they will be taking a pick-and-mix approach to contracting with consultants.

 

“There is an accelerating trend away from one large consulting group retained to execute a substantial project for a health system client wherein 2019 we will see more arrangements where healthcare clients press multiple consultants and advisory firms to collaborate on project engagements,” said Brown.

 

“With the expanded network of knowledge, clients can gain their desired insights, and the relationships between the different consultants are mutually beneficial.”

 

For organizations that prefer one-stop shopping, Black Book identified eight comprehensive consulting firms that scored at least 9 out of 10 on all 20 key performance indicators monitored by the group, including technical support, optimization and implementation skills, system selection advice, and planning and analytics.

 

Among 142 comprehensive advisory firms ranked by customers, only Chartis, ECG Management Consultants, Huron Consulting, Impact Advisors, Leidos, KPMG, Optimum Healthcare IT, and The HCI Group received perfect or near-perfect scores from their customers.

 

The survey supports the results of a previous Black Book poll from May of 2018 that also tracked a significant uptick in reliance on outsourcing and consultants among physician groups.

 

At the time, more than two-thirds of physician groups with ten or more members were planning to hire a consultant by the middle of 2019, closely mirroring the interest outlined in the latest assessment.

 

A whopping 93 percent of the physician executives participating in the May survey admitted that they needed external help because their organizations lacked a strategic value-based care transition plan.

 

Less than 7 percent had started the process of choosing the health IT and analytics tools that would equip them for success with population health and revenue cycle improvements.

 

The lackluster preparedness landscape may be worrisome for providers, but it is good news for consultants looking to take advantage of multimillion-dollar opportunities to set organizations on the path to population health management, mature analytics architecture, and financial success with value-based care.

 

Provider, payer, and developer organizations that find themselves behind the value-based care curve will have ample opportunities to take advantage of consultants in a rapidly expanding market for specialist health IT skills.

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Kareo Integrates EHR with GoodRx to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs

Kareo Integrates EHR with GoodRx to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Kareo, a cloud-based EHR provider for independent medical practices has launched Kareo Rx Saver, an integrated solution with GoodRx that seamlessly delivers prescription cost savings to patients of physicians.

 

Prescription drug prices often vary significantly across pharmacies, making it difficult for a patient to select the least costly option. To address this problem, Kareo has integrated its clinical EHR with with prescription and drug savings provider GoodRx to present real-time cost comparisons between local pharmacies during e-prescribing while also delivering money-saving coupons. With KaroRx Saver, independent physicians can directly and instantly help lower the cost of care for their patients when prescribing medication.

 

Kareo, a cloud-based EHR provider for independent medical practices has launched Kareo Rx Saver, an integrated solution with GoodRx that seamlessly delivers prescription cost savings to patients of physicians.

 

Prescription drug prices often vary significantly across pharmacies, making it difficult for a patient to select the least costly option. To address this problem, Kareo has integrated its clinical EHR with with prescription and drug savings provider GoodRx to present real-time cost comparisons between local pharmacies during e-prescribing while also delivering money-saving coupons. With KaroRx Saver, independent physicians can directly and instantly help lower the cost of care for their patients when prescribing medication.

 

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Don't Overlook EHR Communication

Don't Overlook EHR Communication | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Through all of the planning and preparation that goes into an Electronic Health Record (EHR) implementation, EHR communication is often overlooked and undervalued. With everyone focused on delivering the system, building applications, testing hardware and validating workflows, end user preparedness, outside of training, can be overlooked.

 

Sure, they’re going to be trained on the system, but it’s important to remain engaged with end users in the months and weeks leading to go-live, but also beyond go-live. In many aspects, post-live communication is more vital to day-to-day operations throughout the organization.

 

In this post, we’ll discuss the primary types of communication that must be considered, carefully planned for and thoughtfully executed to serve end users best as they prepare for and live in the new world of the EHR.

 

Types of EHR Communication

 

Internal Marketing, pre- go-live
Transitioning to an EHR is daunting for everyone. It’s exciting and new, but it is scary. It’s a daunting task for leadership and project teams, but for end users, this new technology will completely disrupt their professional lives – especially those that have never used the technology.


The merits of the new system, how it will help them in the long run, and how it will benefit patients must all be sold to end users who, in most cases, have always worked a certain way – without technology. The system must be sold to them because there will be resistance, some kicking and screaming, all the way through go-live.


Change Communications
Don’t listen to anyone that tells you that you’ll be able to relax once the system goes live. If anything, the importance of clear, concise communication escalates exponentially after go-live.


Technology, by its nature, evolves. And electronic health records are not exempt. One of the primary features of the technological age we live in is that the systems we use can, and will, be updated.
When changes are made to the system, there must be a coordinated Change Management procedure featuring robust communication to all impacted employees.


System Updates/Downtime Messaging
EHR’s and the infrastructure they run on are fallible. No matter how well the system is designed and built, there will be issues and downtimes that negatively impact end users, and if not planned for accordingly, patients.


System Update (SU) and Downtime procedures must be carefully developed and communicated throughout the organization to ensure that employees know the protocols that are in place in the event of a system outage.


Additionally, communications processes and protocols must be installed throughout the organization to ensure that vital information can be delivered to end users crisis situations – and that end users can communicate what’s happening on the ground with leadership and IT.


Ultimately the goal here is to ensure that clinicians can continue to care for their patients in the event of a system outage and proper communication is key.


Targeted Messaging
This comes down to a simple realization – clinicians are extremely busy people that don’t have time to wade through waves of content to find what pertains to them.
Messaging designed with a specific user group in mind that includes a concise, actionable message works best. Think providers or nurses.


This audience also benefits from a well-known or trusted sender. They don’t pay attention to mass emails from generic inboxes. Their bosses, Chief Medical Officers, Chief Nursing Officers, or a department head usually garner the most respect, and the most attention, in clinical circles.


Patient Communication
This change is disruptive for patients as well, especially during go-live. Taking the time to thoughtfully communicate the change to patients will help ease the transition for them as well.
They’ll have questions. Why is my doctor on that computer so much? Is my medical information online? Is it secure?
Without going into the minutia around the EHR, device integration, real-time data, secure servers, firewalls, data centers, etc. – take the time to explain the change to patients, at least at a high level. They will appreciate it.


myChart & Meaningful Use
On the surface, Meaningful Use and MyChart communication don’t immediately come to mind when thinking of the EHR communications plan. They should, though. Soon after go-live, the focus shifts to stabilization and optimization, which includes myChart and Meaningful Use.


While they’re paired together here because they’re add-ons that don’t necessarily fall under the initial communications scope, these two are very different and need their own comprehensive communications plans and delivery methods as the content, audience, and implications are drastically different.


While not explicitly responsible for building or activating the EHR system that will revolutionize your organization, it’s important to have a person or team dedicated to communicating with your end users – at all stages of the system’s life cycle. Uninformed end users are disgruntled end users, and it pays to have communications people that have experience with IT and EHR delivery as it is a world unto itself.

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Workflow Analysis, Ease of Use & Best Practices

Workflow Analysis, Ease of Use & Best Practices | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

As a healthcare organization, innovation and change can be a challenge. And while many changes are forced, either by government mandate, financial incentive, or patient care necessity, each organization must make a series of decisions that will dictate their technological, financial and cultural future. Though the EHR journey, from selection and implementation to maintenance and upgrades, is not easy. It is necessary. In this series, we reached out to Terri Couts, VP of Epic Application Programs at Guthrie Clinic, for her thoughts on the end-to-end EHR journey.

 

Workflow Analysis, Ease of Use & Best Practices
A major part of any EHR installation is workflow analysis. Every organization practices, functions, and cares for patients a little differently largely due to training, culture, and patient demographics that they serve. Knowing all of this, there is still an unrealistic expectation that healthcare technology is plug-and-play. Being trapped in this misconception can lead to end-user frustration, delays in care for patients, delayed revenue or revenue loss, and an overall mistrust of the product and the IT implementation team.

 

Workflow analysis should start the day you sign your vendor contract. Of course, during the implementation, each vendor will have suggested workflows but most only consider the technological use of their product. They do not address any policies or procedures established by your institution. They do not include any State or local regulatory requirements that your organization is bound to. Finally, they do not consider the culture of your organization including the providers’ independence of practice. When I state providers’ independence of practice, I am not suggesting that standard tools and workflows should not be implemented and encouraged. What I am suggesting is that identifying workflows at your organization and having the tools to support those workflows is the first step to a successful go live and sustainability.

 

To accurately collect and document workflows, your IT team will need to heavily engage the subject matter experts. These include registration staff, transporters, nursing, physicians, surgeons, back office staff, medical records, pharmacists, radiologists, and the list goes on. Once the analyst understands how each of the users practice within the organization, they can start to configure the technology to support the workflow.

 

Technology should never define the workflow. But it should support and enhance the work, drive patient outcomes, and increase patient safety.


While performing workflow analysis, ease of use and best practices should always be considered. Most electronic health record (EHR) early adopters implemented their systems with the driving desire to fill the Meaningful Use agenda to ultimately receive incentives and avoiding penalties. Thankfully, those days are behind us and there have been many lessons learned. Physician burnout is one effect stated to be caused by EHR requirements and we have all heard the complaint about “too many clicks”. The role of the provider should not be defined by the number of clicks in the EHR. Be careful to design technology for ease of use, clean and intuitive workspaces, and to not take away from the patient experience.

 

In my opinion, users should not only be involved in the definition of the workflows and design of the product, but also the testing of the design. Usability testing is just as important as the initial workflow analysis. This gives us the chance to identify gaps in the design and user adoption before implementation.

 

The product and documentation that comes from the workflow analysis should also serve as the foundation of training for the system. I have found that EHR training cannot just be about the technical aspects of the system. It should also include relevant scenario-based training to include policies, and procedures held at the organization. End users want to know how this affects them personally. They also need to know the effect of not completing or performing a particular workflow. For example, if the system is built to drop a high dollar charge only if a particular box is clicked, how would the clinician know the downstream impact of revenue loss if they are not educated on the entire workflow. Finally, build the scenario training to include scenarios that the providers can relate to. If something does not seem realistic to a provider, he or she will be lost in that concept and not focused on learning the system.

 

The EHR journey can span years and effectively dictates, at least in part, the healthcare organization’s path and culture. This series examines the experiences of healthcare leaders that have been through it. Whether you’re selecting an EHR for the first time or replacing an existing system, the EHR journey is a daunting one. These lessons learned could be priceless to you and your organization.

 

Check back soon as the next post in this series will cover change management and governance and their importance throughout your EHR Journey.

 

Make sure to subscribe to our blog for the latest thought leadership in healthcare IT delivered directly to your inbox. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to join the conversation. Check back for our next Center Stage feature in the coming weeks.

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3 Reasons Physician Practices Need a Cloud-Based EHR

3 Reasons Physician Practices Need a Cloud-Based EHR | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Cloud-based EHRs are becoming a key requirement for medical practices looking for a new electronic health record (EHR) system. According to a Black Book survey, nearly 85 percent of physicians shopping for a new EHR required mobile access from their new system.

Why have cloud-based EHRs become increasingly popular? Many small to medium size medical practices who’ve transitioned to this type of software are realizing the benefits. Let’s look at three reasons web-based EHR systems are a great solution for physician practices.

Benefits of a Cloud-Based EHR

  1. Cloud-based EHRs offer cost-savings and scalability. 

Unlike costly server-based systems, cloud-based EHRs are centrally hosted and do not require any hardware installation, maintenance or software licensing, making them much more affordable and easily scalable for practice growth.

Cloud-based EHRs are offered as software as a service (SaaS), meaning practices simply pay a monthly fee to use the software. Practices also don’t have the headache of worrying about updating the system, as updates are made automatically. Additionally, when a practice expands, new users, physicians or locations can easily be added.

  1. Cloud-based EHRs result in better accessibility and patient care.

Cloud-based EHRs are a win-win scenario for physicians and patients. With cloud-based systems, physicians always have important information at their fingertips, allowing them to provide better, more efficient care to their patient. Imagine a scenario where a physician is out of office but needs to follow up on an emergent case. With a web-based system, the physician could still log in to the EHR remotely and access the patient record as well as integrated clinical decision support. Having access to that pertinent information, at the right time makes it possible for the physician to provide better patient care.

Cloud-based systems also provide an opportunity for better patient interaction and engagement. Most cloud-based EHRs are accessible via an iPad, laptop or mobile device, meaning physicians are no longer tied down to a computer screen. Cloud-based systems allow for better mobility and patient interaction. For example, a physician can easily go from exam room to exam room with a handheld iPad and even engage the patient by showing them certain diagrams, charts or health information.

  1. Cloud-based EHRs improve communication.

Cloud-based EHRs provide greater flexibility than ever before. With cloud-based systems, small practices have secure access to their EHR whenever they want, from whatever device they want, as long as there’s internet access. The ability to access the system remotely, whenever necessary, allows for better communication and collaboration between physicians, staff, and patients. While patients won't have access to the EHR they do have 24/7 access to an online patient portal where they can send a secure message to the practice. Depending on the scenario, the practice can then log in to the EHR to follow up with the patient immediately or respond accordingly. The practice also has access to important patient information for scenarios that occur outside of office hours that will help them make more informed decisions for follow up procedures.

Cloud-based EHRs provide a lot of advantages for physician practices. Many who’ve already made the transition to a cloud-based EHR are experiencing the benefits.

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Practice EHR Success Story: Cooperative City Chiropractic

Practice EHR Success Story: Cooperative City Chiropractic | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Transitioning to an electronic health record (EHR) can be a daunting task for any healthcare organization, especially for small practices. However, going electronic can also have numerous advantages.

 

Situation

 

Coop City Chiro, a five-physician chiropractic facility in Bronx, NY, manages 3,000 patient visits per month. With a growing patient load on top of the maintenance associated with existing medical records, Coop City Chiro needed a better way to manage their practice on the back end without disrupting patient care. In order to find the right EHR for them, Coop City Chiro started their search with the following needs in mind:

 

  • Find an EHR that organizes and optimizes patient documentation.
  • Implement an EHR without causing distractions or unnecessary obstacles for their patients and staff.
  • Train staff and doctors on an EHR without disrupting their busy schedules.
  • Adopt an EHR that fits their practice’s budget and capacity.

 

The chiropractic facility chose to implement Practice EHR, an EHR system priced for small practices and built specifically for each specialty.

 

Results

  • Live within minutes. Coop City Chiro implemented Practice EHR within minutes and without any disruption to patients or staff because the EHR is so easy-to-use.

 

  • Improved efficiency of documentation and billingCoop City Chiro noticed an immediate improvement in practice management and overall efficiency because they could easily log patient care and bill for all their patients in one single platform.

 

  • 50,000 in cost-savingsAfter implementing Practice EHR, Coop City Chiro reported $50,000 in cost-saving by going electronic and eliminating postage, ink, toner, envelopes, paper, etc.

 

 

 

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Three Reasons Practices Should Be Using a Patient Portal

Three Reasons Practices Should Be Using a Patient Portal | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

If your practice hasn’t implemented a patient portal, chances are you and your patients are missing out on some convenient features. Patient portals are a necessity for medical practices today, benefiting both the patient and practice overall.

 

Patient portals can be a primary tool for engaging patients and improving inefficiencies in office workflow, reducing costs and meeting meaningful use requirements. Medical practices who’ve implemented portals are using them effectively to cut down on phone calls and time-consuming scheduling; communicate with patients more efficiently; share patient education/information and cut down on costs while also driving revenue.

 

Let's take a deeper look at why medical practices should be using patient portals in their practice today:

 

Patient Engagement

Portals empower patients to take more of an active role in their healthcare and promotes a more patient-centered relationship, resulting in better outcomes, patient satisfaction, and engagement. As a place for patients to conveniently access and provide health information, schedule appointments, see test results, request medication refills, send secure messages and pay for care, patient portals are a key driver in patients feeling more engaged in their healthcare. Portals, in general, create a more engaging environment for your patients while also fostering better relationships.

 

Office Workflow

Imagine the time saved for your staff when a patient uses the patient portal to schedule an appointment or send a secure message to ask a question, as opposed to calling in over the phone. Tasks being completed online by the patient presents significant time savings for a medical practice. According to Medscape, patient portals enable medical practices to work more efficiently and use resources more effectively, simultaneously improving office workflow. A good patient portal will be user-friendly for your patients and your staff, allowing them both to conveniently and efficiently complete tasks.

 

Costs

From a cost perspective, portals allow your staff to work more efficiently and decrease overhead costs. For example, by sending lab results or patient statements electronically via the portal, practices can cut down on paper, envelopes, and postage. In some cases, practices can also improve the collection of payments by sending electronic statements that can be paid online. Recent studies have shown that patient portals can also improve revenue during slow periods and reduce patient no shows.

 

Benefits of Patient Portals

  • Communicate securely, efficiently with patients
  • Easily share patient education material
  • Send automated reminders, alerts, and other important information
  • Improve payment collections by sending statements electronically
  • Facilitate Meaningful Use compliance
  • Efficient scheduling and prescriptions refills
  • Cut down on costs, wasted resources and inefficiencies
  • Improve revenue and patient engagement

Patient portals get patients more involved in their care in a modern, convenient way, while also eliminating redundant work, wasted resources and inefficient and costly processes for your practice.

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3 EHR Features to Improve the Patient Check-In Process

3 EHR Features to Improve the Patient Check-In Process | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

While the patient experience begins long before a patient steps into the examination room, it’s important to make a good impression the moment a patient steps through the doors of your medical practice. Starting off on the right foot during the check-in process can positively impact the patient experience and determine the pace of the patient visit.

There are many moving parts to an office visit that all demand attention. With the help of technology, patient check-in can be less of a burden for patients and staff. Here are a few EHR features your practice can use to improve patient check-in.

Patient Kiosk

One of the most popular features being used to improve patient check-in is kiosk. This technology is similar to what is used today at airports and fast-food chain restaurants. In a medical practice equipped with the Practice EHR kiosk, patients can check in on an iPad or tablet using interactive forms that guide them through the check-in process, collecting medical history info, patient information updates, signatures for consent forms and payment. Once the patient completes check-in, the information collected is automatically integrated into the EHR. Medical practices who implement a kiosk can reduce the resources required for check in at the front desk and improve efficiency.

Patient Portal

Medical practices looking for an alternative to the kiosk model can implement a patient portal. With a patient portal, patients provide information and complete forms online, prior to the visit, eliminating the need for paperwork when they arrive. Portals typically provide additional time-saving features, such as online scheduling, secure messaging and easy sharing of test results and medical information. Medical practices who’ve implemented portals are using them effectively to reduce costs and the amount of time it takes for a patient to check-in.

ID Scanner

An ID scanner will quickly become a favorite for your front desk staff. With this technology your practice can capture the front and back of patient cards and documents digitally in seconds, eliminating paper copies from the workflow. Medical practices who use ID scanners can significantly speed up the patient registration process. There are several ID scanners in the marketplace. However, Practice EHR is integrated with Ambir Technology, ensuring captured information gets populated automatically in the EHR.

As the healthcare industry shifts to a value-based and consumer-driven model, it’s important that medical practices review current processes and work to improve the patient experience 

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Practice EHR Success Story CareMed

Practice EHR Success Story CareMed | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Situation

CareMed is a multi-location practice offering a unique blend of primary care and urgent care to the Suffolk County of New York. After an increasing patient demand for access to convenient healthcare, CareMed expanded into a second location and realized the EHR system they had in place could no longer support the needs of their growing practice. To achieve long-term success, CareMed knew they needed to consider a more modern and comprehensive EHR solution with features designed to support a busy practice with multiple locations. 

Results

  • Decreased costs. Priced at only $149 per month, per provider, Practice EHR is one of the most affordable and cost-effective systems on the market. By switching to Practice EHR, CareMed decreased costs by 40 percent. For a growing practice like CareMed, this significant amount of savings was hugely beneficial to their practice.

 

  • Improved efficiency. CareMed quickly realized the benefits of Practice EHR’s simple workflow. With such an easy-to-use system, CareMed could easily onboard new staff members and train them on the EHR system in minutes. The simple workflow also helped CareMed save valuable time on daily tasks.

 

  • Improved operations. The Practice EHR reporting tool also became a fundamental feature, providing CareMed with a detailed view of their practice. The Practice EHR reporting tool gave CareMed essential clinical and financial insights about their practice that was instrumental in their growth and success.

 

  • Improved patient engagement. With the help of Practice EHR’s integrated patient portal, CareMed also experienced improved patient engagement. An increasing amount of patients were using the portal to make payments, schedule appointments and communicate with the practice. The patient portal became a favorite feature, resulting in benefits for both the patient and the practice.

 

 

About Practice EHR

Practice EHR is a fully-integrated, cost-effective and easy-to-use electronic health record (EHR) and practice management (PM) solution exclusively designed to support small practices and drive a healthy practice. With no startup costs and free data migration, training, and support, Practice EHR is perfect for startup practices and growing medical practices.

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4 Tips for Making the Most of an EHR Demo

4 Tips for Making the Most of an EHR Demo | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Selecting the best electronic health record (EHR) for your medical practice can be an overwhelming process. With so many healthcare technologies on the market today, how can you confidently choose the right solution for your practice?

Similar to many other advisors, we believe the product demonstration (demo) is a critical tool in the selection process. In order to make an informed decision and find the right EHR for your medical practice, it’s helpful to see and experience the software first hand.

An EHR demo is a helpful evaluation tool. There’s lots to cover—and uncover—so come prepared with questions. Here’s four tips for making the most of your next demo:

  1. Have a good understanding of how the EHR aligns with your practice’s needs.

    Before the demo, establish a list of your must-have features and requirements and evaluate how the EHR matches up. In general, a good EHR should provide features that support better practice operations and simplify daily tasks. Is it user friendly? Is it designed for your specialty? Does it include features that will help your practice operate more efficiently? Ask specific questions about how features work and how they’ll make your work life easier; uncover whether or not the EHR is designed to support you day-to-day and for the long term while also helping you achieve government requirements.
  2. Know pricing and exactly what’s included.

    There’s a variety of price points and pricing structures for EHRs. Most likely you will find general pricing information on the company website, but the demo is a good time to confirm any additional costs. Not all vendors are transparent about fees, so it’s important to get specific about what’s included in the price and what’s not. Upcharges vary from vendor to vendor but are commonly related to specific feature functionality, set up, data migration, implementation, training, support or system maintenance.
  3. Understand the process for implementation, training and support.

    Understanding processes for implementation, training and support and setting expectations early, prepare you for a smooth transition. In addition to knowing if the vendor charges for startup costs and support, ask the vendor the standard length of time for implementation and training and what means of support are available. Practices looking to implement quickly should consider cloud-based EHRs systems that eliminate having to invest in hardware and complete cumbersome training.
  4. Confirm the EHR is certified.

    To receive incentive payments under the ongoing EHR adoption program, eligible providers are required to use certified EHR technology. Ask vendors about their certification and how the software supports meeting government-sponsored program requirements. Most EHRs will have certification information available on their website (like we have done here) or you can also visit the ONC website for the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL).

EHRs are necessary for better practice management, care delivery and patient outcomes, but not all EHRs are created equal. Asking the right questions during a demo will help you make informed decisions and find an EHR that’s right for your medical practice. 

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6 Advantages of Using a Cloud-Based EHR

6 Advantages of Using a Cloud-Based EHR | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Healthcare has shifted certain operations to be cloud-based so that patients can be provided with both the best and most convenient delivery of healthcare services. One prominent advancement is the advent of cloud-based EHRs (Electronic Health Records). With cloud-based Electronic Health Records, practices have boosted their operational efficiency while patients have increased confidence about the accuracy and safety of their clinical information. These records offer a wide array of features that facilitate the handling of clinical data and ease the lengthy and cumbersome documentation process, which improves the patient management process. The following six points summarize the advantages of cloud-based EHRs:

Cloud-Based EHR Software Advantages

  1. Enhanced Accuracy and Accessibility of Data

Cloud-based EHRs have the primary objective of making patient medical data available to the patient and providers 24-7. These records can be accessed on-the-go by way of any smart device. And, all of the information contained in these records is accurate, complete, and all-encompassing, which enables providers to determine the most appropriate diagnosis for future ailments and prescribe effective medication with a reduced chance of error.

 

  1. Networking Opportunities

Cloud-based EHRs have features that allow patients and providers to have a constant and uninterrupted stream of contact between them. Providers can view their scheduled appointments in there and they will also be updated about the date and time of upcoming appointments. If providers want more information about the patient, it can be obtained by simply clicking over the patient’s name. Additionally, patients can be reminded automatically by phone or email about their appointments with their doctors as well. With cloud-based EHRs software, as a provider, you can stay connected to all the pharmacies, labs, and clinics your practice might be affiliated with, thereby enhancing your network, too.

 

  1. Cost-Efficient Data Management

Cloud-based EHRs make thorough and accurate documentation possible. You get to avoid stacks of papers yet have the ability to create useful formal reports out of the data stored in the EHR. You will also notice a reduction in the number of redundant or duplicate tests once you adopt these cloud-based EHRs. They have all the ICD and CPT codes integrated to help the providers reach the most suitable diagnosis and treatment in the quickest amount of time possible. These codes make the insurance claims more specific and clear, hence easing the billing process. And, with comprehensive and carefully filed insurance claims, you’ll lessen the chances of denial or rejection. With that, cloud-based EHRs considerably reduce the associated costs of data management.

 

  1. Increased Efficiency and Productivity

Prior to the introduction of cloud-based EHRs, providers worldwide spent a lot of time sifting through documents and finding relevant data for delivering quality patient care. There used to be room for unexpected errors which negatively impacted the quality of medical services and also caused delays. Cloud-based EHRs have helped to increase efficiency, and make it easier for providers to achieve maximum productivity throughout the workday.

 

  1. Information Security

Cloud-based EHRs software store data on external servers which makes it accessible by way of any internet-enabled device. The software as a service (SAAS) provider maintains the system so the provider does not have to worry about the installation cost or ongoing maintenance hassles. Patient’s data security on cloud-based EHRs is a shared responsibility of both the SAAS provider and the physician. All the patient information in cloud-based EHRs is considered electronic protected health information (ePHI) and it is fully covered under strict regulations of the HIPAA act. Cloud-based EHRs heavily safeguard this sensitive information while ensuring easy access for authorized persons.

 

  1. Participation in Quality Programs

Most of the cloud-based EHRs nowadays are put together with strict adherence to quality standards. These and other features make cloud-based EHRs part of the Meaningful Use Program and other quality programs ensuring that patients and providers get the optimum healthcare experience. These programs enable the electronic prompts that make sure all the required information is entered into the EHR, and when required. These records can also help the data analysts figure out the population-related trends from the dataset and improve the healthcare policies, especially for different social segments.

Tagged Cloud-based EHR
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EHR Optimization as a Bridge to Population Health Management 

EHR Optimization as a Bridge to Population Health Management  | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

In the quest to meet value-based care, population health and quality reporting goals, healthcare leaders face an array of avenues and tactics. While the strategies differ, one constant in virtually all efforts to bring structure to new care delivery models is the improved use of technology and systems, and the troves of data they store and transmit.

 

Analytics has a pivotal role in meeting healthcare’s triple aim of reducing the per capita cost of care, improving patient experience (including quality and satisfaction) and improving population health. Without the support of the clinicians using these technologies and the information they hold, however, it is difficult to succeed. This has prompted some healthcare organizations to champion a quadruple aim that also seeks to improve the work life of healthcare providers.

 

To develop and execute on a quadruple – or even triple aim – healthcare leadership teams must answer the question:

 

How can our organization capture the information needed to deliver effective, data-driven care in a manner that benefits patient outcomes and compliments provider workflows?

 

Through a disciplined EHR optimization methodology, a structured plan, and input from providers and clinicians on goals and practical ways to meet those goals, it is possible to adopt a data-capture care strategy that minimizes impact on provider workflow while maximizing return on reimbursement.

 

Optimization in Action
Consider how EHR Optimization can aid population health management efforts.

 

Many healthcare organizations are analyzing patient data to identify high-risk and/or high-utilization patient populations that could pose savings opportunities if their care interventions are migrated from high-cost emergency department and inpatient settings to preventive and primary care, but how many are truly looking up-stream at how the configuration and use of the EHR impacts their success?

 

When developing and deploying an organization’s population health goals and identifying target patient populations, consider how your organization can engage and support your clinicians in this evolution. What clinical workflow supportive functionality is available in your EHR to aid and prompt care team members to ask the right patients the right questions, proactively screen, and implement low-cost interventions to quickly put population health management into action? How can these opportunities be implemented without disruption of patient care flow?

 

Here are specific strategies for building an EHR Optimization plan targeted toward enabling population health while supporting your providers:

 

  • Engage your clinicians early on. Including your providers and allowing them to tell you how they work and what will work for them to support your effort makes a successful initiative.
  • Integrate with established workflows when possible. Data entered correctly into your EHR supports your analytics needs. You will depend upon your providers to capture this for you.
  • Prioritize your target patient populations. Which initiatives will yield the highest return? Start with a single impactful goal and fine tune processes, measurement and engagement around it.
  • Ensure consistency in design. Provide consistency in data standards and naming conventions. This can go a long way to eliminate redundancy in documentation for clinicians. This is particularly important when planning to expand your program

 

EHRs and supporting technologies are an incredible data source and the key to value-based care and population health management success. EHR implementation and optimization strategies that keep the quadruple-aim top-of-mind can support organizational initiatives while enhancing, or at very least not burdening, clinical workflows of your EHR users. Engaging your end users in the process inspires a collaborative, supportive environment while encouraging a successful outcome to organizational directives.

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Getting the Most Out of Your EHR  

Getting the Most Out of Your EHR   | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

No matter how much your organization has invested in an EHR, there will always be opportunities to improve its performance—especially when considering the ways individuals interact with and are impacted by it. If you are interested in learning how to ensure your implementation goes well or to better leverage your current EHR, check out four popular blog posts about getting the most out of your system.

 

8 Best Practices for Building Better Relationships During EHR Implementation and Training
EHR implementations and trainings can be highly stressful for end-users, especially those in patient-facing roles. Minimizing that stress can result in more engaged training sessions and better long-term retention, which is why in this article an experienced principal trainer shares how to streamline these processes through relationship building.

 

EHR Training: How to Help Users End Frustration, Overcome Fear and Engage
EHR training should include more than technical skills instruction—it should instill in end-users confidence that they will be able to adapt to a new system (even if they forget a few details post-training). In this blog post, an experienced training consultant explains how to create an environment of positivity conducive to learning.

 

EHR Optimization as a Bridge to Population Management
Healthcare organizations already analyze patient data to identify savings opportunities, but what often goes overlooked is how the configuration and use of the EHR can make a significant impact on cost and care. This article examines how organizations maturing their population health and value-based care programs can use their existing technology to meet their goals.

 

Quality Reporting: What Your Healthcare Organization Needs to Know About Measure Selection and EHR Configuration
For healthcare organizations with limited resources, participation in pay-for-performance plans like MACRA’s Quality Payment Program (QPP) is challenging. They often lack the time and expertise to retool their EHR implementation to document new metrics and recognize when a measure has been met. In this post, we discuss important data management issues and the repercussions of waiting to address them.

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AI Platform with Epic EHR to Support Clinical Workflows

AI Platform with Epic EHR to Support Clinical Workflows | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

M*Modal integration with Epic EHR supports virtual assistants and nursing applications for an advanced workflow in Epic

 

M*Modal, a provider of clinical documentation and Speech Understanding solutions, announced that it is integrating its artificial intelligence (AI) powered platform with the Epic EHR to support clinical workflows. Creating time to care through smarter, more unified workflows, M*Modal® speech and AI enabled solutions are designed to significantly improve the productivity of the entire care team while driving quality-centric outcomes.

 

Leveraging M*Modal’s long history of delivering industry-leading, cloud-based conversational solutions integrated with the Epic EHR, M*Modal further simplifies documentation tasks for clinicians with fully speech-driven workflows. The two companies have worked together over the years to enhance the user experience of joint clients by improving physician adoption and satisfaction, as well as the overall quality of clinical documentation with AI-powered solutions such as Computer-Assisted Physician Documentation (CAPD).

 

M*Modal is currently working on the following integrations to enhance the clinical documentation experience:

 

· M*Modal integration with Rover: Using embedded M*Modal technology, nurses will conversationally engage with flowsheets as the AI-powered system automatically finds the right row to record patient information such as vitals. Taking the nursing workflow to the next level, Epic’s task management module is designed to enable nurses to conversationally create task reminders that help streamline the workday and reduce care gaps.

 

· M*Modal integration with Haiku Voice Assistant: Furthering the experience of clinicians using the Haiku mobile app with embedded M*Modal Speech Understanding, clinicians can use the EHR’s Voice Assistant with M*Modal AI technology to also speech enable physician tasks such as querying the patient record, performing scheduling functions, placing orders, and more.

 

· M*Modal integration with Hyperspace Voice Assistant: In this next-generation EHR workflow, clinicians can benefit from a fully speech-driven and interactive experience (powered by M*Modal technology and hundreds of speech commands) to document the entire patient encounter and navigate the EHR. Bringing the Voice Assistant to Hyperspace creates an entirely new way of interacting with the EHR, which enables physicians to spend more and better time with patients.

 

· M*Modal integration with NoteReader CDI: Already installed at several healthcare facilities, NoteReader CDI can utilize embedded M*Modal market-leading CAPD technology to proactively deliver quality-focused insights to physicians at the point of care. Additionally, it uses the M*Modal CAPD infrastructure and robust reporting capabilities to monitor and improve physician engagement with the system.

 

“We are delivering on the critical necessity for bringing clinician-assistive technologies to market to improve efficiency and ease of documentation for multiple caregivers while also providing proactive insights on patient care in real time,” said Michael Finke, President of M*Modal.

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Pro-Active EHR Optimization is a Necessity

Pro-Active EHR Optimization is a Necessity | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Everyone knows that routine maintenance is required to keep a home, car, or even a person in good shape and performing well. The same is true in regards to our electronic health records (EHR). To meet the requirements and capitalize on the benefits of meaningful use, the US market has seen an unprecedented amount of EHR implementations. However, many organizations aren’t seeing the expected benefits. Factors such as rushed, system-focused implementations, lack of standardization or focus on workflows, end-user and physician dissatisfaction, high ticket, and request volumes, and/or sub-optimal training are major drivers for optimization needs. Routine maintenance and pro-active EHR optimization are a constant and ongoing necessity and should be treated that way from a planning, budgeting and prioritization perspective. Here are some key areas to consider in a post-EHR go live world.

 

Thorough Assessment, Prioritization, and Management of Current Issues and Complaints

 

Most organizations use a ticketing system to log EHR issues. Following an EHR activation, ticket volumes often increase to the point where an organization cannot manage the volume and cannot differentiate priority issues from common, organizational issues. This is exacerbated by the constant “pull” of resources that are now needed for other organizational objectives and projects.

The truth is, your EHR “project” doesn’t go away when the system goes live. Rather, a program management organization, complete with an integrated Governance structure, must remain to manage upgrades, maintenance, and optimization. A great first step is understanding issues and prioritizing ongoing efforts for your teams and your organization. A thorough review, cleanup, validation, and categorization of all issues should be conducted. This requires the establishment and ongoing execution of a ticket intake and review process that identifies the priority and necessity, understands the source of the problem (e.g., user proficiency, workflow inefficiency, build defects) and reconciles that against the objectives of the organization. It is critical to include operational and clinical leaders in this process and often requires time for interviewing and even shadowing clinical and operational users to fully understand and accurately document issues.

 

Categorizing, Prioritizing, Integrating and Approving Effort

Most issues can be categorized into four areas:

 

Break/Fix
Break/fix are issues with the software functionality that need to be fixed by either the IT analysts or vendor.

 

System Enhancement
Enhancement issues pertain to desired functionality that is either not yet developed by the vendor or not yet implemented by the IT department.


Workflow
Workflow issues arise when a process or procedure is inefficient.

 

Training
Training issues occur when the system is functioning as designed but the end user is unaware of how to use it properly. Training may also be needed to teach advanced functionality.


After categorization, issues should be prioritized. The prioritization process should be carried out through the Program Management and Governance structure and is typically not simply an “IT” process. Understanding the issues and requests, prioritizing them against the organizational objectives and then including them in the ongoing capital and operating plans allows adequate focus, funding, and validation for the work. This may be simple and quick – break/fix items, refresher training, etc. However, the focus may be more complex and cross multiple areas of the organization – new system functionality, upgrades, workflow redesign, etc. The latter often requires the organization to move back into “project mode” with a detailed timeline, project plan and in some cases, capital funding.

 

Optimization Implementation and Ongoing Maintenance

Now that a structure is in place, resources are adequately funded and work is prioritized, the organization can move forward knowing that the EHR can be properly maintained, but also leveraged for its true functionality. There will be many moving parts that may involve system configuration, system upgrades, workflow redesign, and end user training. Having a dedicated optimization team and project manager that interacts and coordinates with the key operational and clinical leaders is key to ensuring success, but also aides in optimizing an EHR solution that supports the organization’s objectives as well as the patient experience.

 

Optimum Healthcare IT provides optimization services that are customized to meet our client’s needs whether a full assessment and plan are needed or just hands on resources. An example of our streamlined methodology is shown below:

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The EHR Journey – Selecting an EHR Vendor

The EHR Journey – Selecting an EHR Vendor | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

As a healthcare organization, innovation and change can be a challenge. And while many changes are forced, either by government mandate, financial incentive, or patient care necessity, each organization must make a series of decisions that will dictate their technological, financial and cultural future. Though the EHR journey, from selection and implementation to maintenance and upgrades, is not easy, it is necessary. In this series, we reached out to Terri Couts, VP of Epic Application Programs at Guthrie Clinic, for her thoughts on the end-to-end EHR journey.

 

EHR Vendor Selection
The easiest part about selecting an EHR vendor is making the decision that you need one. The selection itself can be, and in my opinion, should be a challenging task. No matter what vendor you choose, you can be sure that it will be a large financial investment. In the past, organizations would tend to steer towards the “best of breed” approach. This approach can lead an organization down the path of silo systems and disjointed processes creating additional work and costs.

 

There are many vendors who deliver an excellent product, but do you understand what your requirements are of the system? Defining the scope, requirements, and the desired outcomes are all part of the first step. Many users look to the technology to address a need and ask questions like “what can Epic do for me?” However, I would challenge our users to understand their requirements ahead of time and use those requirements to drive your selection process. List out the requirements and make sure to have a rating scale for each when you meet with vendors.

 

I have found that attending several vendor demos can help you identify the requirements that you ultimately want to have in your EHR. If they are good vendors, they have already done a great deal of research for their development. Use their investment to your advantage. Participate in as many demo sessions as you need to come up with a robust and complete RFP.

 

Also, make sure you have the right stakeholders at the table when defining the requirements. Be careful not to get sidetracked by the shiny new object and focus on how it can align with the organization’s goals, value, and mission. Vendors are good at showing the functionality around the new buzzwords such as big data, population health, and the newest artificial intelligence features. However, if they cannot meet the organization’s core function needs, none of that will matter.

 

Every organization’s needs are different based on their type of patients, variation in care, location, and finances. Therefore, there is not a single checklist that all organizations can use. However, I have found that the more integration the system offers, the better. Taking away silos within departments allows for the highest level of transparency driving an increase in patient safety and outcomes.

 

Again, I believe the hardest part of selecting a new EHR is identifying what you want out of the system. Once you know that, you can make the system work for you and instead of you working for the system. The decision to implement a new EHR is one you will have to live with for a long time. It’s an investment in your organization’s future. Put the effort and work in ahead of time to be sure the investment is something you can live with and scale.

 

The EHR journey can span years and effectively dictates, at least in part, the healthcare organization’s path and culture. This series examines the experiences of healthcare leaders that have been through it. Whether you’re selecting an EHR for the first time or replacing an existing system, the EHR journey is a daunting one. These lessons learned could be priceless to you and your organization.

 

Check back soon as the next post in this series will cover workflows and their importance throughout your EHR Journey.

 

Make sure to subscribe to our blog for the latest thought leadership in healthcare IT delivered directly to your inbox. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to join the conversation. Check back for our next Center Stage feature in the coming weeks.

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