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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 Common Misconceptions About Implementing an EHR Platform

5 Common Misconceptions About Implementing an EHR Platform | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

As manager of the front office of a small healthcare practice, it’s your responsibility to do your research. Since 2009, when the HITECH Act mandated the adoption of EHR and supporting technology, administrators have been tasked with finding the best EHR solution for their practice. It’s important to note that if you have formed preconceived opinions about EHR features and functionality, you may end up with a platform that doesn’t actually meet your needs as well as one could.


In an effort to avoid patient record errors and keep costs down, here are five common misconceptions about implementing an EHR, which will help your small practice remain as efficient as possible.


1. EHRs aren’t easy for an entire practice to adopt.

A common pushback of implementing an EHR solution is that it will be too complicated, time-consuming, and counterproductive for all of the practice staff to adopt a new technology and process.

The good news is, you’ve got options. There are flexible EHR platforms that will actually make your job a lot easier, fast. Furthermore, specialty specific EHRs will automatically adapt to your practice specialty and ensure an accurate workflow.


2. An EHR solution will be myopic.

While people may think that whichever EHR you choose will serve one function, comprehensiveness is actually a major benefit that you can take advantage of.

Comprehensive EHR platforms will enable you to perform a number of activities — like scheduling, charting, and E-prescribing — from one central location. Not only will this allow you to fulfill all of your practice’s needs from a single place, but it’ll help you avoid using disparate systems and keep costs down.


3. Your process will not improve.

If you think that implementing an EHR platform will decrease the efficiency of your workflow and your practice’s profitability, think again. Using a comprehensive, closed-loop system will actually enhance communication and transparency among your staff, boost productivity, minimize risk for error, and ultimately ensure better patient outcomes. The right EHR solution will simplify and streamline your process.


4. You will see no ROI.

If you’re hesitant to adopt an EHR because you don’t think you’ll see a return, know that this route can actually save you significant time and money. Improving your workflow efficiency with an adaptable EHR will allow you to optimize your resources and run a much more productive practice.

Remember that a cost-efficient EHR is an option. Also, some platforms even include practice management, which can help enhance transparency in your practice and measure ROI instantly.


5. EHR implementation will take away from the patient experience.

Your patients require your utmost attention — and an EHR can help you ensure your patient relationships are strong. Flexible, cloud-based, specialty-specific EHRs will help you uphold the level of personalization and comprehensiveness that your patients expect, and also minimize errors and improve patient satisfaction.

Understanding that an EHR solution with these capabilities is step one; opening the door to a brand new solution is step two. If you’re ready and willing to see how an EHR platform can benefit your practice, start your free trial of Practice EHR by clicking below!

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
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Vignard Sophia's curator insight, August 23, 9:36 AM
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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: 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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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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What Your Healthcare Organization Needs to Know About Measure Selection and EHR Configuration

What Your Healthcare Organization Needs to Know About Measure Selection and EHR Configuration | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Participation in pay-for-performance plans like MACRA’s Quality Payment Program (QPP) poses new challenges for resource-strapped healthcare organizations. Many provider sites lack the time and technical expertise needed to retool their EHR implementation to document new metrics under value-based reimbursement models like the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

Nonetheless, that is precisely what clinicians must do to deliver on quality reporting requirements. When using EHR documentation tools, many factors must be considered for a provider to get credit on having met clinical quality measures (CQMs). How that information gets stored in the EHR directly affects reporting. Many healthcare organizations are finding that customizing an EHR to recognize when a measure has been met—preferably in a manner that poses as few interruptions to patient engagement as possible—is easier said than done.

 

Overcoming EHR Limitations

Many outpatient and inpatient settings still struggle with common EHR data management headaches. As clinicians bring new quality measures into the EHR, those underlying data management issues can foil even the best-laid reporting plans.

Discrete Data Capture

The push to better document clinical quality is causing a transition in EHRs to focus more on structured or discrete data that is easier to trend over time. Unfortunately, many healthcare providers still receive patient data from healthcare affiliates via fax. Those faxed documents show up as attachments in the patient chart and are not fully integrated into the patient data file. If that information was sent via HL7 interface instead, details on the care rendered by that hospital or other healthcare entity would flow into the EHR as discreet data variables. For many providers today, capturing that information in a manner that makes it usable in reporting and analytics still requires timely, manual data entry.

Documentation and Data Consistency

Provider sites with multiple clinicians may also encounter issues related to the slightly different way that each EHR user documents care. MIPS and other quality programs require consistency and a high degree of specificity in clinical documentation. If a clinician does not get diagnosis specifics into the patient chart, that patient may not be included in the CQM calculation they need to be included in. Many clinicians are having to modify their documentation process during patient encounters so they and the staff can capture all the necessary information in the EHR.

Clinical documentation will have even bigger repercussions under the Cost component of MIPS, which is slated to be factored into performance scores in coming years. Take, for example, a patient that is in for the flu. That patient has a certain anticipated cost impact (the average Medicare spending per beneficiary), calculated based on past medical history and services rendered. If a patient goes to a physician and has the flu but also has diabetes, heart failure, and asthma, that flu patient is probably going to cost more to care for. If the physician only submits the flu diagnosis and fails to document patient co-morbidities then the healthcare organization will not get the same allowance under the MIPS Cost category and could be labeled as “higher cost” than a comparable provider encounter for a patient that required fewer resources to care for.

Clinicians, coders, and staff need to make a mental transition away from “we’re submitting claims” to “we’re submitting data” to better serve clinical reporting initiatives and patient care analysis.

 

Making Informed CQM Selections

Beyond adapting to new data management processes, clinicians reporting under value-based programs also have a great deal to learn as they layer in additional quality measures under MACRA. One of the biggest challenges clinicians and administrators face is selecting the best measures for their specific healthcare organization. With limited spare time on their hands, many healthcare teams are leaning on outside expertise to help them evaluate the implications of various measure selections.

Measures Without Benchmarks

Many quality measures under MACRA are carry-overs or “relics” from other reporting programs. For these CQMs, providers can look to prior performance averages to evaluate the likelihood of success should the healthcare organization elect to report on those measures. That data does not exist for some CQMs, which are referred to as “measures without benchmarks.” On measures that have no benchmark data available, providers will be limited to a maximum of three reporting points instead of the ten points available on measures with benchmarks established.

To further complicate things, details on the availability of some benchmark data will not be calculated until after the March 2018 QPP reporting deadline. Providers may wish to further diversify or report on additional measures that could help offset low point earnings on measures without benchmarks.

Topped Out Measures

Another CQM caveat that providers should be aware of relates to “topped out” measures. These relic measures from other reporting programs are very engrained in many healthcare settings. Medication reconciliation, for example, was a requirement under Meaningful Use. Widespread adoption and universally high compliance rates on that measure makes it more difficult for clinicians to out-perform peers. Achieving maximum points on such measures requires a perfect or near-perfect score.

Keep average performance thresholds in mind when evaluating CQM selections, not just the healthcare entity’s individual performance track record. Look at a broader set of measures to maximize MIPS score potential. Clinicians could earn more points by scoring 70 percent on a non-topped out measure than they would earn scoring 95 percent on a topped out measure. Some topped out measures will likely be eliminated in future years to help diversify CQMs, as was the case under Meaningful Use.

Understanding the intricacies of CQM selection and EHR data management will be vital to success under value-based payment programs. Healthcare administrators and clinicians who proactively work to better understand the impact of various measures and streamline EHR processes will be best positioned to maximize program incentives.

 

Does your organization have the resources it needs to successfully navigate MIPS? Learn how Pivot Point can help with your value-based strategy.

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Philips Launches EHR-Integrated Patient Monitoring Solution for Clinicians

Philips Launches EHR-Integrated Patient Monitoring Solution for Clinicians | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Philips has announced the launch of their next-generation Patient Monitoring solution, an enterprise-wide system that consists of bedside, transport, mobile and central station monitoring technology backed by a new approach of consulting, training, service and customer support.

Helping Clinicians Improve Patient Care

When patients are admitted to the hospital, they are frequently transferred between departments, which can make it difficult for clinicians to obtain complete data from monitoring systems that operate independently of one another. Incomplete data not only limits clinicians’ view into the patient’s condition, but can put a patient’s safety at risk. In a recent Philips-sponsored study, results revealed patient safety is still a top concern for physician and nurse leaders in the U.S.

In an effort to alleviate this concern, Philips designed this solution to help clinicians improve patient care, drive clinical performance and assist health systems in lowering costs, by harmonizing monitoring system updates and improved service agreements.

IntelliVue X3 Patient Monitor

The IntelliVue X3 is a highly portable, dual-purpose monitor with intuitive smart-phone-style operation. With this monitor, there is no need for caregivers to change patient cables during transport or at bedside, allowing them to spend less time dealing with equipment and more time caring for the patient. With alarm fatigue a top concern for healthcare professionals, the Patient Monitoring solution also includes IntelliVue bedside monitors with Alarm Advisor, a tool that tracks how clinicians respond to alarms and alerts them when set thresholds may be too sensitive.

EHR-Integrated Patient Monitoring

As a comprehensive system, the Patient Monitoring solution captures a steady stream of detailed patient data from monitors and medical devices, and feeds it securely to the hospital’s EMR for virtually gap-free patient records from admission to discharge, even during transport. The integrated solution fits securely into health systems’ existing IT environment, delivering vital signs, waveforms and alarms directly to caregivers.

By incorporating these clinical decision support tools and advanced algorithms, caregivers have better visibility into a patient’s changing condition. All Philips bedside, transport, and mobile monitors share the same look, feel, and interface for consistency and to reduce complexity, accelerate care, making it easier for clinicians to provide the best quality care throughout patients’ transports around the hospital.

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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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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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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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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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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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EHR Data Architect: A successful conversion and data integrity

EHR Data Architect: A successful conversion and data integrity | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Over the last decade, adoption of EHR systems has increased dramatically among providers. While many healthcare providers have made the shift from paper to electronic health records, there has simultaneously been a growing need among healthcare organizations to change EHR providers. The two largest reasons for this change in systems are dissatisfaction and mergers and acquisitions.

When changing EHR systems, many healthcare organizations turn to experienced EHR Data Architects to help ensure the integrity of their patient data. For those EHR Data Architects, it is the process, not the EHR provider, that allows them to guarantee a successful conversion and data integrity. 

As is true with the initial adoption of electronic records, changing EHR providers is a very large project. As healthcare organizations work to convert legacy records and adopt new systems, patients continue to generate more data.

It can be quite challenging to determine the best method for maintaining and storing legacy date while also utilizing a new system. As a result, most healthcare organizations opt to incorporate legacy data into the new EHR system from day one. Out of the myriad of options available for guaranteeing data integrity, the best way to accomplish this is through an automated EHR data conversion.

What is EHR data conversion?

EHR data conversion utilizes a process known as ETL to move patient data from one EHR system to another. During an ETL conversion, patient data is EXTRACTED from the legacy system, TRANSFORMED to align with the map created for the new system, and LOADED into the new system. EHR data conversion can either be performed manually or through an automated process.

 

Manual data conversion carries a significant risk of data manipulation. As a result, many healthcare organizations choose automated EHR data conversion when working with large sets of data.

During an automated data conversion, not a single record is touched. Companies who specialize in healthcare data conversion utilize a failsafe ETL methodology specifically designed to mitigate clinical risk.

What are EHR Data Architects?

EHR Data Architects are the specialists who structure and run an automated data conversion. They are experts in extracting data out of any source system/database, using the necessary means specific to that system. EHR Data Architects have customized toolsets that allow them to transform the data to meet the specific needs of the target system.

An EHR Data Architect has experience working with all genres of data. The process and tools allow for the Data Architect to perform an ETL for data from any system and to any system. They ARE NOT specific system experts, or specialists, in any specific system's operations, usability, or recommended workflows.

While they are not subject matter experts (SMEs) in any EHR system, they are in the process of data conversion. As a result, they are able to successfully convert data no matter what systems are being utilized.

It is important that your data conversion partner has developed a failsafe process for extracting, transforming, and loading data. A strong partner will have experience in many different EHR systems and potentially have extensive experience working with your EHR provider and system. However, experience working with your EHR provider is not enough.

Without a failsafe process and methodology, your patient data is still at risk. Furthermore, when the right process is in place, an EHR Data Architect can convert from any source system to any target system and ensure the integrity of your data.

To learn more about how you can adequate assess a potential EHR data conversion partner’s experience, download the EHR Data Conversion Guide and Workbook.

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Trends in EHR Software, 2017 and Beyond

Trends in EHR Software, 2017 and Beyond | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

As the transition to electronic health records continues, we’re beginning to see how the use of EHR software can transform the ways that care is provided, as well as the quality of that care. With increased adoption, EHR software is becoming an integral part of the healthcare experience for both providers and patients.

In the U.S., changes to HIPAA regulations and incentives for providers have had tremendous impact on the landscape of electronic health records. As EHR software matures, interoperability and ease of access, improved patient portals, and a move toward cloud-based solutions are going to be some of the biggest trends in electronic health records.

One of the key features of electronic health records is ease of access. Ideally, both providers and patients will be able to utilize EHR software in ways that maximize access to information and create smoother workflows. That also extends to full interoperability between systems.

 

Ideally, practitioners will be able to quickly share information with other healthcare providers inside and outside their organizations, streamlining care for patients, and making sure that practitioners have full access to health records at all times. Improved interoperability also has long-term benefits outside of individual patient interactions. For example, researchers could use pools of patient records to identify trends, or use of the large datasets that improved EHR software interoperability would provide for large scale real-world studies of treatment outcomes.

Along with interoperability comes the need for improved patient access to their own electronic health records. The United States Congress enacted regulations in 2009 to provide financial incentives to encourage adoption of EHR software, and HIPAA regulations also require that electronic health records also allow for patient access to stored data. According to a 2015 report, the number of people accessing their electronic health records via a patient portal is on the rise. In 2014, 38 percent of Americans had access to their health information, an increase of more than 33 percent over the previous year. Of those patients who had access, more than half—55 percent—had accessed information contained in their medical record. Clearly, the trend is toward improving and increasing patient access to personal medical information via continued development and improvement of EHR software.

 

Like most other modern technologies, the shift toward mobile devices is also playing a key role in shaping EHR software. Consumers are more comfortable using mobile devices, which makes cloud or mobile EHR more important for practitioners and EHR software providers.

But there are also many upsides to cloud EHR solutions for healthcare providers, including reduced costs, better scalability and improved data security. Without the need for large onsite IT departments to manage software and hardware, cloud EHR software allows healthcare providers of all sizes to focus resources on patient care, which is in the best interests of providers and patients alike.

 

Healthcare is changing, and electronic health records will continue to be a driving force in the evolution of the industry. We’ve already seen some of the tremendous benefits that EHR can provide, and look forward to the innovations in EHR software that will empower healthcare providers to offer better, more streamlined care to their patients.

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