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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4 Ways To Automate Your Practice And Improve Productivity

4 Ways To Automate Your Practice And Improve Productivity | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

There’s a lot of work that goes into running a medical practice. From scheduling to phone calls to seeing patients, there’s most likely not a lot of downtimes. In order for medical practices to operate smoothly, it truly takes a team effort and the right technology.

 

There are many ways to streamline operations and improve productivity by using automation. And it doesn’t have to be costly or complicated. With the help of an electronic health record (EHR) practices can automate some of the daily processes that slow them down.

Here are four ways practices are automating their practice with Practice EHR:

 

  • Appointment Reminders - Appointment reminders eliminate the inefficiencies that come with calling every patient to remind them about their appointment. Most likely, you don’t get them on the first ring anyway and are leaving a voicemail. With appointment reminders, you can improve this whole process and remind patients about their appointment with an automated, customized message.

 

  • Eligibility Checks - Automated eligibility verification improves productivity for your front desk staff, while saving your practice time and money. Automated eligibility allows you to verify patient coverage more efficiently, without having to call to verify by phone. Instead, the system will automatically pull a patient’s insurance status 24 hours before a scheduled appointment, freeing up your phone lines and your staff.

 

  • Patient Portals - Patient portals are great for your patients and great for your practice, and they are gaining popularity. Patient portals improve productivity for the entire team by automating tasks like scheduling, check-in paperwork and sharing of health records and patient results. This gives your staff the ability to make better use of their time and dedicate resources to other activities that need more attention. Portals give patients more ownership and at the same time reduce the workload of the practice by eliminating a lot of unnecessary phone calls and time spent on activities that can ultimately be handled more efficiently through the portal.

 

  • Claim Scrubbing - Claim scrubbing is a win-win for physicians and billers. Using an integrated clearinghouse, codes are automatically checked for errors and warnings, before it gets sent to be billed. With automated claim scrubbing, physicians code with more confidence and spend less time on the phone with their biller, while simultaneously reducing denials and ensuring quick payment.

 

From the front office staff to the physician, every team member is busy with daily responsibilities within a medical practice. There’s no need to sacrifice any more time, productivity and profitability than necessary. As you look for ways to improve productivity and efficiency in your practice, consider the benefits of an EHR that can provide automation.

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Speed Up Healthcare Practice Office Management Using an EHR Solution

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.

 

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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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5 Essential Benefits of Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology in EHR's

5 Essential Benefits of Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology in EHR's | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Machine learning is a promising domain that has positively impacted many industries and now healthcare is witnessing its powerful emergence. The progress of Artificial Intelligence-based technology, along with other advances in EHRs is bringing a new wave of interest in how this latest technology is going to change the shape of health and healthcare. EHR platforms are at the forefront of using artificial intelligence within the healthcare arena. This is because of the widespread use of EHR software and the capability of EHR software to categorically store real-time patient data. These data sets can be used by artificial intelligence to make predictions and suggestions for the future.

 

This fast-growing digitalization has created major opportunities for the use of artificial intelligence. Industry experts and innovators see the potential and continue to gradually improve AI-based features within updated EHR systems. The widespread use of this digital health data advances health outcomes and there is no doubt it will eventually reshape the healthcare industry. Let’s have a look at some more unique benefits.

Benefits of Using AI Technology in EHR Software

  1. Better Diagnosis & Treatment

Newly developed AI diagnostic systems can help providers diagnose and treat different diseases. This advanced system uses the historical data and patient symptoms to predict future illness. EHRs are more intelligent now and can suggest the high paying CPT codes for the identified disease so providers can maximize their earning potential as well. In the future, this AI-based diagnostics system could possibly even lead to self-diagnosis tools and treatment facilities for common diseases.

  1. Reduces Human Error

talkEHR is a good example of a self-learning electronic health record system that comes with an integrated medical voice assistant named “Allison”. This intelligent voice assistant lets you talk with your EHR, and performs the requested functions you tell her to. This saves charting time and reduces human errors. Also, the longer you use the system, the more this self-learning software is able to provide you with an improved, personalized experience.

  1. Cost-Efficient

Artificial intelligence based EHR software automate the normal workflow of medical practices and, to some extent, eliminate the need for additional support staff. Auto reminder calls, appointment scheduling, and other task automations are improving the workflow of medical practices, as well as reducing overhead expenses.

  1. Better Medical Imaging Analysis

Artificial intelligence-assisted medical imaging analysis is much better than a manual one. It analyzes and compares the cell structures and also tissue segmentation to identify disease and suggest treatment.    

  1. Improves Productivity

AI-based EHRs improve the productivity of medical practices as they significantly reduce the administrative complexity, clinical waste, malpractice likelihood, and help to save the staff time they would otherwise spend on repetitive tasks.

Healthcare facilities are making necessary investments in AI-based EHR development, and over time, the AI algorithms will continue to improve and fully transform the healthcare industry. How closely will this transformation resemble the vision of medical futurists? We look forward to seeing how it takes shape. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment box below!

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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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VA's EHR project is 'yellow trending towards red,' says report obtained by ProPublica

VA's EHR project is 'yellow trending towards red,' says report obtained by ProPublica | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The Department of Veterans Affairs' EHR contract with Cerner has been plagued by multiple roadblocks during the past year, including personnel issues and changing expectations, according to a ProPublica investigation.

 

Former VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, released the agency's plan to scrap its homegrown EHR VistA for a Cerner system during a news briefing in June 2017. Almost one year later, the VA finalized a $10 billion no-bid contract with Cerner to implement its EHR systemwide over a 10-year period, beginning with a set of test sites in March 2020.

 

However, a recent progress report by Cerner rated its EHR project with the VA at alert level "yellow trending towards red," according to ProPublica. To investigate the underlying factors that have contributed to the EHR project's problems, the publication reviewed internal documents and conducted interviews with current and former VA officials, congressional staff and outside experts.

 

Here are five details from ProPublica's investigation:

1. When Dr. Shulkin initially announced his plan to implement Cerner at the VA, he emphasized the EHR would provide "seamless care" to veterans, since the Department of Defense had also recently signed a contract with Cerner. However, in September 2017, the VA convened a panel of industry experts who objected to this claim, noting two health systems using Cerner doesn't mean they will be able to share all data with one another.

 

2. At another meeting, Cerner representatives gave a presentation on how their software would be able to share data with private providers, three people present told ProPublica. However, Dr. Shulkin noticed the representatives were only talking about prescription data, rather than the full record of health data, lab reports and medical images that the VA would need. Dr. Shulkin reportedly cut the meeting short and told Cerner to come back with a better solution.

 

3. Cerner's off-the-shelf product didn't match the VA's EHR needs, according to ProPublica. While Cerner's software successfully helps private hospitals bill insurers, the VA doesn't need these same functionalities, since the agency serves as the sole payer for its patient population. Cerner's product also didn't have features for some of the VA's core specialties, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, since these conditions aren't as common in the general population.

 

4. Dr. Shulkin, who left the VA in March, reportedly wanted to find a CIO with a background in healthcare and experience leading major software transitions to helm the EHR project. The VA enlisted two search firms, which identified several qualified candidates, according to sources who spoke with ProPublica. However, the Presidential Personnel Office rejected them, and the White House instead proposed candidates who had worked on the Trump campaign but didn't have a background in health IT.

 

5. At a recent subcommittee hearing, some lawmakers questioned the VA's work on the Cerner project and asked whether the DOD should head up its implementation. Instead, the VA and DOD secretaries opted to sign a joint statement Sept. 26 pledging to align their EHR strategies. However, industry experts warned ProPublica that the agencies have different medical priorities, as the DOD treats young people with acute injuries while the VA provides long-term care to those with complex illnesses.

 

VA spokesman Curt Cashour declined to answer specific questions from ProPublica, saying that "efforts thus far have been successful and we are confident they will continue to be successful." The White House didn't provide answers to a list of questions ProPublica sent, and Cerner also declined to comment.

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Stanford Launches App That Connects to Epic EHR & Healthkit

Stanford Launches App That Connects to Epic EHR & Healthkit | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

tanford Health Care today announced its new iOS 8 MyHealth mobile health app for patients. Developed in-house by Stanford Health Care (SHC) engineers, MyHealth connects directly with Epic’s EHR, Apple’s HealthKit and cloud services for consumer health data monitoring.

The SHC MyHealth mobile app is designed to make it quick and simple for patients to manage their care right from their iPhones, including:

• Make appointments

• Get test results – your lab results are automatically made available in the palm of your hand

 

Communicate with your care team through a secure messaging system where your information is always kept confidential

• Have a video visit with your doctor through the new ClickWell Care clinic which gives you the convenient option of a “virtual” appointment

 

• Manage your prescriptions and medications

• View your health summary

• Access and pay your bills

• Share your vitals with your doctor via HealthKit integration

Secure Messaging


With the new MyHealth app, patients can communicate directly with their care team through a confidential and secure messaging system. In addition, the app automatically syncs with wearable and wireless products, allowing patients to take vital signs at home or on the go. That data is automatically and securely added to the patient’s chart in Epic for their physician to review remotely.

“The SHC MyHealth app allows patients to connect their lives with their health care,” said Pravene Nath, MD, Chief Information Officer, Stanford Health Care. “By integrating with companies like Withings, our physicians have access to meaningful patient data right in Epic, without having to ask the patient come in for an appointment. We believe this is the future of how care will be delivered for many types of chronic conditions.”

 

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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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Why Are Some EHR Systems Confusing and Inefficient?

Why Are Some EHR Systems Confusing and Inefficient? | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

In theory, EHR systems can alleviate informational errors, increase efficiency and allow doctors to spend more time with patients. The reality, however, is that many EHR solutions can talk the talk, but they can hardly walk the walk.

 

Why is this?

Some EHR companies in the marketplace have produced software without doing their due diligence to completely understand what a doctor’s real day looks and feels like -- they’ve produced generic platforms that don’t address doctors’ real concerns.


Any EHR System Must:

  • Be Scalable
  • Integrate Seamlessly with Other Software
  • Have a Simple User Experience
  • Priced Fairly for the Practice

The third bullet, ‘Have a Simple User Experience,’ is the benefit we’re going to be discussing today because it’s often taken for granted. 

A Simple User Experience

Inputting data into a computer is easy, but the problem arises when EHR solutions can’t correctly identify a doctor’s workflow. Doctors have hundreds of patients, and since no two are alike, thousands of records of unique data are created. This data demands distinct form fields to capture a patient’s specific information. EHR systems must be prepared to capture, organize and file this data away so that a doctor can easily recall it when needed. And when it is recalled, this information must be easily understood by the doctor who may have forgotten exactly how he inputted it.

The solution is intuitive form fields and workflows.

EHR systems should allow for any doctor or office manager to easily understand where to input the right data into the right field. This may sound simple, but most EHR systems just do not comprehend the gravity of proper user experience.

When form fields are misunderstood and unobvious, data finds itself into the wrong reports. In the healthcare industry, this is alarming. Not only does this open up practices and doctors to lawsuits, but before you know it, the EHR system that was supposed to save your practice time and money is now doing the exact opposite.

The Power of Practice EHR
Next-generation, cloud-based software can and will improve a doctor’s day, but not every EHR system is created equal. The Practice EHR team was frustrated by the poor quality of the very EHR systems that were supposed to be improving doctors’ day-to-day lives. So we went and built a better one.

Practice EHR is a solution built by doctors for doctors. It’s specialty-specific, meaning it comes out of the box purpose-built for your specialty practice. It’s also the perfect system for smaller practices of about 1-3 doctors and it was made to alleviate time and hassle in doctors’ busy schedules.

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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: 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Making the Case for Patient-Generated EHR Data - Healthcare IT Consulting

Making the Case for Patient-Generated EHR Data - Healthcare IT Consulting | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The proliferation of wearable and mobile health devices from Fitbit, Apple Health, Google Fit, Nokia Health/Withings and others is bringing patient-generated data into the digital health fold. Health-savvy patients amassing this information are increasingly looking for ways to share the data with their providers.

 

Epic is one Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendor looking to bridge the gap between patients’ device app data and the patient health record. Patients can integrate data tracked on Apple iPhone devices into Epic’s MyChart patient portal; with an active MyChart account, patients can sync data such as weight, steps, pulse, blood pressure, and more back to the EHR for providers to review.

 

For example, let’s say I am a patient with hypertension and I’m on a new medication. I’m interested in monitoring how that medication impacts my health over the next month. Epic’s Apple integration enables me to track my vital signs daily for a month and share that information with my provider without the requirement of an in-office visit or sending the information via fax or postal mail. The data captured via my smartphone will already be with my provider by the time I have my next follow-up visit.

 

The Benefits of a Patient-Generated Data Strategy

Technology that supports bringing patient-sourced data into healthcare assessments poses benefits to both providers and patients. Providers can more easily track and monitor patients between visits. This offers clinicians a fuller picture of a patient’s health beyond lab results, problem lists, allergies, and medications. Patient lifestyle data beyond the walls of institutionalized care can reveal where patients are doing well and where there is room for improvement.

 

Patient involvement in personal health monitoring between visits promotes patient accountability in reaching health goals. If I’m an overweight patient with a weight reduction goal, for example, my doctor can recommend I use a Fitbit that allows me to track step data. I can routinely review that data and provide feedback to my provider with real-time updates on whether I’m reaching my daily goals or not.

 

Wearables and personal tracking devices drive patient accountability with empirical data that is captured automatically. Patients become more active participants in their health and in the creation of their health record.

 

Both patients and providers benefit from improved access to quantifiable health information. Shared visibility into patient health trends over time improves patient access and engagement, mitigates trust issues, and strengthens the patient/provider relationship.

 

Considerations When Integrating Patient-Generated Data

hile the integration of patient-sourced data into EHRs poses clear patient engagement and accountability wins, implementing this exchange of information does come with unique challenges. Here are a few key considerations healthcare organizations need to address along their journey.

 

Patient awareness. Promoting the availability of device data integration is key to usage. To build awareness some healthcare organizations may set up “health bars” in waiting rooms or lobbies to offer patients a tangible experience of offerings. These health bars typically feature devices like iPads, iPhones, and Fitbits with information on the various integration points available to patients.

 

Patient technical aptitude. Another hurdle healthcare organizations may face when rolling out device data integration is patient technical aptitude. Support teams dedicated to helping less tech-savvy patients successfully sync devices can help drive adoption.

 

Provider adoption. Driving provider awareness and adoption of device data integration is another challenge healthcare organizations may need to tackle. Clinicians need to be aware of the offering, how to make it available to their patients, and how to use the information when received. Educating providers on the how, what and why through tip sheets, medical staff meetings, and other venues is essential.

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Physician viewpoint on How to remove 'stupid stuff' from EHRs 

Physician viewpoint on How to remove 'stupid stuff' from EHRs  | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

It's time to cut unnecessary work from the EHR, according to a perspective in The New England Journal of Medicine by Melinda Ashton, MD, a physician with Hawaii Pacific Health in Honolulu.

 

In the article, Dr. Ashton describes a program she and her colleagues launched in October 2017, called "Getting Rid of Stupid Stuff." In an effort to engage clinicians and reduce burnout, the program team asked all employees at the healthcare network to review their daily documentation practices and nominate aspects of the EHR they thought were "poorly designed, unnecessary or just plain stupid."

 

Along with fielding nominations from physicians and nurses, the team also conducted its own review of documentation practices, and removed 10 of the 12 most frequently ignored alerts the EHR pushed to physicians. The team also removed order sets that had not been used recently.

 

Dr. Ashton acknowledged the specific changes likely aren't relevant for other hospitals, but she advocated for the shift in mentality the "Getting Rid of Stupid Stuff" program initiated. "It appears that there is stupid stuff all around us, and although many of the nominations we receive aren't for big changes, the small wins that come from acknowledging and improving our daily work do matter," she wrote.

 

Here are four of the categories Dr. Ashton and her colleagues deleted from the EHR as part of the program:

 

1. One nurse who worked with adolescent patients asked to remove a physical assessment row labeled "cord," meant to reflect care of the umbilical cord remnant in newborns. The row, which was supposed to be suppressed for those older than 30 days of age, had still been present for other ages.

 

2. A nurse who cared for newborns said she had to click three times whenever she changed a diaper, as a result of EHR documentation for incontinence requiring the clinician to indicate whether the patient is incontinent of urine, stool or both. The team created a single-click option for children in diapers.

 

3. Multiple nurses highlighted the frequency of "head-to-toe" nursing assessments, which they are expected to complete upon assuming care of each patient. However, in some units, the EHR prompted nurses to document several of these assessments during a 12-hour shift.

 

"We sought to identify standards in the literature and found that some of our practices were in keeping with those standards," Dr. Ashton wrote. "In other units, we reduced the frequency of required evaluation and documentation."

 

4. An emergency medicine physician questioned why the EHR prompts employees to print an after-visit summary before scanning it back into the system. He hadn't noticed the patient was expected to sign the summary, which was stored in the record.

 

"His question led us to query other health systems and our legal team about the value of the signature, and we were able to remove this requirement," Dr. Ashton wrote. "The physician was delighted that he had been able to influence a practice that he believed was a waste of support-staff time."

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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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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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