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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Points to Consider for EHR Optimization

Points to Consider for EHR Optimization | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

It is often said that implementing a new electronic health record (EHR) is just the beginning of a journey that will lead to better patient care, greater efficiencies and improved return on investment. It is true that the work will continue, so it is worth pondering how you will approach the post go-live world.  It’s not enough to install EHR software.  


It could be argued that tailoring the EHR to your organizational needs and implementing new functionality is where the real work lies.  This much is clear though, EHR optimization is vital to your organization’s successful long-term use of the EHR.  Below are some tips to help you think through the challenges ahead.


Plan Early

Start planning for how you will approach and manage your IT investments early.  Putting your plan together even before your implementation begins is not too soon.  Your plan should include an outline of what you will undertake during the implementation and what can wait, or should wait, until after the implementation phase is complete.  For example, it may make sense to wait and deploy some population health tools after go-live.


Tie Plans and Programs to Organizational Strategy

IT strategies should mirror the strategies of the organization.  For example, many organizations are actively exploring mergers and acquisitions.  IT leaders should understand the outlook for the organization and any challenges that lie ahead and have a plan to grow the IT environment appropriately when the EHR optimization phase begins.


Establish Strong Governance

Having a strong governance structure from the beginning is critical, but tweak the structure as needed during both implementation and post go-live phases.  The decisions that need to be made post go-live will likely be different from those made during the implementation phase.  Adjust the membership on the committee when needed to ensure that the proper stakeholders are represented and engaged.


Manage Change

Change management is a necessary activity throughout the implementation and as the EHR evolves post go-live.  Not only will the business practices and workflows change but people’s roles will change as well.  It is important to communicate early and often regarding changes so that employees understand the “why” of the change and “how” the change will affect them.


Standardize and Innovate

This topic may seem like an oxymoron – it is not.  Standardizing where it makes sense such as standardizing workflows, project management toolsets and methodologies, will allow for a stable environment post go-live. Stability lends itself to innovation because chaos is contained and a certain amount of predictability occurs.


This stability will allow creativity and innovation to thrive.  One area to pay close attention to is enterprise reporting.  Resist the temptation to merely recreate your current reports and instead approach report development and distribution as a way to improve operations and show off the power of your new system.


Contain Costs

Once the initial, and substantial, cost of implementation is behind you, the CFO and other executives will look for cost containment, even reductions.  Consider strategies to contain costs such as targeted outsourcing. Explore cost reduction strategies as well, such as consolidation and eliminating legacy systems as quickly as possible.


IT Shift

The IT staff will be exhausted after many months of intense pressure to get the system up and running smoothly.  The pressure will continue post go-live as EHR optimization becomes the focus.  Be sensitive to your staff’s needs, both inside and outside of IT, as they refresh and regroup.  Have a plan in place to maintain proper staffing as well as give your teams some much needed time away. 


HR departments can help with this plan. Also, added skills such as reporting and analytics, will be in higher demand during the EHR optimization phase as greater emphasis is placed on data and its value in improving patient care and operations.


Conversion and Archiving

Have a plan for the method and technology needed to convert data from your legacy systems to the new systems early on.  You need to specify the minimum data set that you will convert.  In addition, some departments, for example, Oncology, may have special conversion requirements.  


Also, figure out an archiving solution well ahead of time.  The archiving solution should account for easy access to the data that did not convert to the new system.


As with all EHR changes, proper guidance and preparation can be the difference between success and failure.  The outline above can get you started, but also consider outside resources such as those at Optimum Healthcare IT. Experts in the art of EHR Optimization bring insights that can only be gained through experience.




Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details : or 877-910-0004

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Practice EHR Success Story: Cooperative City Chiropractic

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

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.




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.



  • 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.




Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details : or 877-910-0004


5 Steps to EHR Data Conversion

5 Steps to EHR Data Conversion | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

EHR data conversion is the process of moving patient data from legacy EHR system to a new EHR system. While automated EHR data conversion seems like a complex affair, it doesn’t have to be. When an experienced vendor partners with strong internal leadership, the data conversion will follow a proven, 5-step process, and the data will undergo a failsafe ETL.

Why Change EHR?

Healthcare providers are expected to document patient encounters. Traditionally, this documentation has been completed on paper and stored in file cabinets. However, the last decade has seen significant growth in provider adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The combination of government incentives, advances in technology, and improved outcomes and operations have fueled this growth.

When healthcare providers have access to complete and accurate information, patients receive better care and have better outcomes. EHRs improve providers’ ability to diagnose disease and reduce medical errors. EHRs further help providers meet patient demands, provide decision support, improve communication, and aid in regulatory reporting.

While EHR adoption has increased, so too has the need to change systems while maintaining the access to and integrity of patient health information. Healthcare administrators point to provider dissatisfaction and mergers and acquisitions as the primary contributors for changing EHR providers within their organization. In preparing for the implementation of a new EHR, healthcare organizations have been grappling with how to handle the data in the legacy systems.

What is EHR Data Conversion?

In response to this challenge, many healthcare organizations are turning to automated EHR data conversion to maintain data integrity. An automated ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) process avoids risks related to data manipulation, because not a single patient record is touched.


In an automated conversion, source values are extracted from both the legacy (source) system and new (target) system to create a conversion map. That map is entered into a conversion utility software. Data from the legacy system is run through the conversion utility and transformed to meet the needs of the new system. While it is being transformed, the conversion utility is monitoring for errors and estimated completion. After the data has met the standards, it is then loaded into the new system.

The process of an automated EHR data conversion may seem like a complicated and difficult undertaking. It doesn’t have to be when it is handled by an experienced vendor working with strong internal leadershipundergoing a recognized data conversion process.

5 Steps to EHR Data Conversion

1. Discovery

During the discovery phase of the process, the healthcare organization team will play a large role. An EHR vendor will ask internal IT staff to extract all data from the current system. Working together with an internal designated leader, IT staff, and Physicians Advisory Committee (PAC), the data conversion vendor will work to identify how much data is available, what data needs to be converted, and the accuracy of the legacy data.

2. Scope Definition

The scope definition phase of the process is the point at which both parties come to an agreement on which portions of the data need to be converted, the method of the conversion, and the prioritization of the data. During this time, the two teams should schedule time to review the records, format them to meet the new formatting requirements, and set the processes to updated record fields not available in the conversion.

3. Testing

Once the scope has been fully defined, and the formatting requirements are completely understood, the primary responsibility of the conversion then shifts to the vendor. Based on the input gathered during the scope definition step, the data architects working for the vendor will map the data fields and formatting from the old system to equivalent data fields and formatting in the new systems. After the map has been created, the data architects upload the test conversion data to a testing site.

4. Validation

This step is a shared responsibility between the healthcare organization and EHR data conversion vendor. Once the data has been loaded to the test site, the data architects validate the data. Then the healthcare organization leaders review the content, validate the records, and sign off on the final data set. This step may require several cycles. However, it is imperative for the success of the conversion.

5. Migration

Once the data has been validated, the vendor will executive the final migration. While the data is migrating, the vendor’s conversion utility should be monitoring total errors, parsing errors, mapping misses, percent complete, date/time to finish, and success rate. When all the data is converted and migrated to the new system, the healthcare organization will go live!

Throughout the EHR data conversion process, healthcare organizations are tasked with making important, and often tough, decisions about how to handle data, the methods of conversion, and data prioritization. It is important that healthcare organizations plan ahead, schedule the necessary time, and work closely with EHR data conversion vendors who are well versed in the each step of the process.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details : or 877-910-0004

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why most EHR’s will fail, is yours next? - referralMD

The main goals when it comes to the healthcare industry today, the care of the patient in the most efficient manner possible. Time is also a factor in both the care and efficiency.

The purpose of EHR – Electronic health records is to get the needed information quickly and make sure the patient is on the right path for his or her medical care. The other big concern is the safety of these records.

The traditional EHR has its challenges

In an article on Government Health IT (July 16, 2012), Craig Collins, wrote about the problems involving the management of health records in a traditional data-center. His concerns are listed below.

Forty percent of large patient health data breaches involve lost or stolen devices, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The actions of insiders – negligence or willful misconduct by employees and contractors – accounted for nearly three times as many patient record security breaches as external attacks, said a report last year by the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
Less than 2 percent of healthcare data breaches were from hacking. More than 10 percent were from insider theft or data lost or stolen when being physically transported somewhere else, according to a 2011 survey by the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Insider attacks are more costly than outsider attacks, both in dollars and damaged reputation, said a cyber-security survey by CSO magazine last year.

Robert Rowley, MD, also writing for the same site on (July 18, 2012) talks about how the EHR Market is being flooded with vendors.

As a result, large established EHR companies, some of whom have been around for 15 years or more, are experiencing competition from a wave of smaller start-ups – some successful, others not.
The beginning of the end – EHR failures

This scenario seems ripe for consolidation. Market forces, however, are rather Darwinian – novel approaches abound (“mutation”), but many will not achieve market penetration (“selection”). Failure of products, even well-designed ones, are part of the start-up experience – true in all market spaces, not just health care.

These companies are reaching out to two distinct categories of EHRs, ambulatory and the hospital. Dr. Rowley goes into detail in his July 15th article, Comprehensive EHR market analysis.

It is important for all medical practices on any level to do as much research as possible to make sure that their investment is a solid, well-chosen one. Attention to Security, by means of a Secure socket layer (SSL) and AES-256 bit encryption should be used. Accessibility, and integration with other networks is critical in our hi-tech world.

According to EHR Scope, in their article, “Is an EHR Usable” (May 25, 2012), there are three main components.

User Satisfaction
Check out this article we wrote called “When was the last time you gave your practice a Checkup” and learn some ways to make your office more efficient

All of this helps to keep lost time under control. Lost time, lost reports mean lost money and that is not needed in today’s economy. Efficiency, effectiveness, action as well as follow through are the keys to keeping it all under control. Make sure you know how the system functions so you can recognize the benefits you will get through using an electronic health records system.

When it comes to user satisfaction, does it fit your needs? Are you able to personalize settings in the system menus, in the screens and reports? When these are available “their comfort level improves.”

What can develop over time is a smoothly functioning network of physicians, specialists and outpatient testing. As everyone becomes more familiar with how efficient the system functions, it will build up a solid rapport among them. There will be more satisfied patients as well.
Concerns about the current system?

What are your main concerns? Do you have any questions to ask as you seek to move forward and upgrade your practice to electronic health records?
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CMS Extends Hospital 2014 Meaningful Use Reporting Deadline |

CMS Extends Hospital 2014 Meaningful Use Reporting Deadline | | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

While this week marks the end of one and beginning of another year, those in the healthcare industry should take note of all that transpired in the previous year to avoid similar setbacks in 2015. This is especially true for matters scheduled to have been addressed over the last 12 months.

ICD-10 delays, meaningful use changes, health IT vendor competition, and EHR implementation gaffes. Based on the interest of our readers, those were the most popular topics of 2014 on

ICD-10 transition delay one more year

More than any other topic on our news site, ICD-10 garners the greatest amount of our readership’s attention and given its high stakes, it makes sense. This past October was supposed to usher in a new era of clinical coding — the move from ICD-9 to ICD-10 — and put the United States on par with other leading nations in terms of healthcare documentation.

The Congressional debate over the sustainable growth rate (SGR), however, swiftly dashed those visions. Close to one week after expectations began to build that Congress would vote on an SGR patch that included a one-year ICD-10 compliance delay, the Senate voted in favor of the bill. While the rest of the nation took this as business as usual on the Hill, the healthcare industry scrambled to put new plans together for postponing their 2014 ICD-10 implementation activities.

What the delay meant to providers depended on where they practices. Larger healthcare organizations reported high levels of ICD-10 readiness while some smaller physician groups and practices were completely unsure where they stood. No matter their view of the most recent ICD-10 delay, most are committed to removing ICD-10 implementation pain points to be ICD-10 ready by Oct. 1, 2015.

The bending but not breaking of meaningful use

This past year began with eligible professionals and hospitals working to achieve Stage 2 Meaningful Use, but that is hard to do when certified EHR technology is unavailable.

Early hints of changes to meaningful use reporting in 2014 emerged as early as February when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduce a new meaningful use hardship exception dealing with a lack of available CEHRT.

In September, the federal agency finalized a rule intended to give providers greater flexibility in meeting meaningful use requirements in 2014 — known as the flexibility rule. However, this did not turn out to be CMS’s final move.

The flexibility rule was followed by the reopening of the meaningful use hardship exception application submission period for both EPs and EHs and the extension of the 2014 meaningful use attestation period for EHs and critical access hospitals through the end of the year.

Despite their intentions, neither has put to rest repeated calls for 2015 meaningful use reporting requirement changes by industry stakeholders.

Heading to a showdown

Prognosticators in health information technology (IT) have foreseen consolidation in the marketplace over the next few years. But it is unlikely that they saw things playing out as they did in 2014.

Cerner’s acquisition of Siemens Health Siemens over the summer is an example of how quickly and dramatically the market can change. Most viewed the maneuver as a power play by the Kansas City-based health IT company to contend with Epic Systems and its market share among health systems and hospitals.

While the growth of both Cerner and Epic continues to loom large over the industry, they still have to contend with numerous other players in the ambulatory care space, especially given Epic’s recent loss to athenahealth as the top overall software vendor over the past year.

Expect more to come.

Squeaky wheel gets the grease

When EHR implementations go well, those involved in the process are more than willing to share details of their experiences. When they don’t, it is like pulling teeth.

Poorly managed EHR implementations can prove costly. The University of Arizona Health Network saw red of a different variety as a result of its Epic EHR adoption. Whidbey General Hospital felt the financial effects of a software glitch in its MEDITECH EHR that crippled its billing system and left it short on cash. Meanwhile, a Cerner EHR implementation gone awry led to the dismissal of Athens Regional Medical Center’s CEO.

If 2014 was a busy year, then 2015 is only likely to be busier. Stay with us as we continue our coverage of meaningful use, EHR and ICD-10 implementation, and anything else health IT-related that comes our way.

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Does your EHR meet your organization's unique needs? | Healthcare IT News

Does your EHR meet your organization's unique needs? | Healthcare IT News | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

Different healthcare specialties have different electronic health record (EHR) requirements as there is significant variation in care processes, clinical content and decision support across care settings. For example, a primary care facility’s EHR “must-haves” are dramatically different from those of outpatient surgery center. While the primary care provider sees many patients for a variety of reasons, the surgery center delivers more focused, predictable and short-term care with unique workflow requirements. In the same vein, an ophthalmology practice requires technology to capture data from a number of instruments—often more than many other specialties. Likewise, a dermatology provider often completes numerous procedures in one visit, and an inpatient behavioral health setting with group counseling demands yet another approach to capturing and collecting patient care information.

Despite their diverse EHR needs, there is a commonality among these and other medical specialties: each requires a robust EHR that enables providers to easily gather data, completely and accurately document care, smoothly share information and facilitate good communication to achieve the best patient outcomes. To select the right EHR, specialty practices must fully appreciate how the technology addresses their particular needs and requirements.

Five considerations for selecting a specialty-focused EHR

Verifying that an EHR has the features clinicians need to provide care and manage patients is critical to its success. The following five considerations can guide a practice when evaluating an EHR to ensure the technology meets the organization’s clinical and business specifications, strengthening care delivery while safeguarding the practice’s future.

1.    The right content. The first step—and probably the most important—is to look at the depth and breadth of content the solution provides and make sure it fully aligns with the specialty’s requirements. This becomes more complex for a subspecialty. For example, an EHR with strong cardiology features may not meet the distinct needs of a pediatric cardiologist. In these cases, it is also important to select an EHR that can be supplemented with additional subspecialty information to better meet their needs.

2.    Configuration flexibility. When specialty practices can easily configure their EHR to reflect workflow nuances, they can optimize data capture, streamline care and improve outcomes. The EHR should allow physicians to easily configure their own templates, yet provide consistency to maintain a high standard of care. For instance, an OBGYN facility needs EHR flexibility for visits ranging from prenatal care and reproductive endocrinology to annual wellness exams. Physicians should be able to customize these forms to match workflow, yet maintain alignment with ACOG (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) standards.

3.    Smooth integration with current technology. Specialty practices often have more diagnostic equipment feeding data into the EHR than primary care practices. For example, an ophthalmology group may have as many as 12 different devices capturing and sending data to the EHR. Because of this, a practice should closely review how well a potential solution interfaces with the practice’s current technology, particularly focusing on how the EHR incorporates the disparate data into workflow. Specialties linked to a hospital or health system should also assess how seamlessly the proposed EHR share key information with the larger organization. Ideally this is bi-directional!

4.    Facilitates the patient experience. Patients can be nervous when they see a specialist, and this can be exacerbated if the physician is more focused on navigating technology rather than talking with the patient. By choosing software that enables patients, medical assistants, nurses and others to capture as much data as possible in the EHR before the doctor enters the room, a practice can allow the physician to focus on the patient’s particular care needs instead of looking at a computer screen to input routine data. Remember, a good EHR gives physicians the right information at the right time to come to the right conclusion while they are in front of the patient. In other words, it keeps the patient at the center of the experience.

5.    Strong, Forward-thinking vendor. Not all vendors are equal, and spending time comparing the various options is a valuable exercise. As part of the vetting process, practices should gauge a vendor’s commitment to their specific clinical specialty and learn about plans for future technology development. In addition, consider the vendor’s organizational and financial strength to sustain the cost of supporting the specialty into the future and keeping up with regulatory compliance.

Although specialty practices have historically avoided jumping feet first into EHR technology, this is no longer an option for organizations that want to sustain and build referral volumes. In fact, by selecting and implementing a tool that consistently captures and shares specialty-focused data, providers can position themselves as the expert of choice for both peers and patients.

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Benefits of an EPCS Certified EHR

Benefits of an EPCS Certified EHR | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

In response to the nation’s climbing prescription drug abuse problem, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) finalized a rule in 2010, permitting electronic prescriptions for controlled substances (EPCS). Today, e-prescribing is legal in all 50 states, and becoming increasingly popular. According to SureScripts’ 2015 National Report, the number of e-prescriptions have doubled since 2012.


So why is EPCS becoming more and more of a standard practice? EPCS is a step in the right direction to fighting fraud and abuse of controlled substances and provides numerous benefits for physicians and their patients, outlined below.


Benefits of EPCS for Small Practices

  • Makes prescribing more efficient and secure - With EPCS, physicians can send prescriptions for patients directly to the pharmacy from within the EHR at the point of care, instead of having to handwrite a prescription that could potentially get lost or stolen or prompt a phone call from a pharmacist needing further clarification.


  • Reduces medication errors, fraud and abuse - By eliminating the need for paper prescription pads, EPCS ensures prescriptions are getting into the right hands. EPCS has also been proven to improve prescription accuracy by preventing drug to allergy interactions, incorrect dosing, illegible prescriptions, etc. With EPCS, long gone are the days pharmacies receive scripts they can’t read.


  • Added convenience and safety, for physicians and patients - With EPCS, physicians can confidently and seamlessly e-prescribe controlled substances to their patient’s pharmacy. EPCS ensures the prescription reaches the pharmacy and the patient can easily pick up their medication, also improving patient medication adherence.


EPCS has proven to be beneficial for physicians and although legal, EPCS has not been mandated nationwide with the exception of four states. The following have passed legislation, mandating electronic prescriptions for controlled substances:


  • Virginia
  • New York
  • Minnesota
  • Maine

Interested in EPCS?

Many small practices realize the benefits of EPCS and want to partake, even if not required by their state. To begin e-prescribing for controlled substances there are a few initial steps: (1) use an EPCS certified application (EPCS certified means the application has completed testing and certification through a third party auditor, required by the DEA) and (2) complete the provider authentication process.

Technical Dr. Inc.'s insight:
Contact Details : or 877-910-0004

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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 |

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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Are Providers Satisfied With Their EHR?

Are Providers Satisfied With Their EHR? | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

Physicians are expected to document encounters with patients. This ensures there is a record of crucial information for decision-making and dispute. A decade ago, around 90% of physicians updated their patient records by hand. By the end of 2014, 83% of physicians had adopted EHR systems. The combination of government incentives, advances in technology, and improved outcomes and operations fueled this growth.

When healthcare providers have access to complete and accurate information, patients receive better care and have better outcomes. Electronic Health Records (EHRs) improve providers’ ability to diagnose disease and reduce medical errors. EHRs further help providers meet patient demands, provide decision support, improve communication, and aid in regulatory reporting.

A national survey of providers highlights their perspective on the benefits of having EHR in their practice:

  • 94% of providers report that their EHR makes records readily available at point of care.
  • 88% of providers report that their EHR produces clinical benefits for the practice.
  • 75% of providers report that their EHR allows them to deliver better patient care.

As the adoption of EHR grew over the last 10 years, so too did the need to change EHR systems within health systems, hospitals, and private medical practices. Growth in M&A activity fueled many healthcare organizations to combine data through EHR data conversion. Provider dissatisfaction has played a key role in encouraging change in EHR systems, also increasing EHR data conversion activity.

A study completed by Health Affairs showed, by and large, providers recognize the important advances that EHRs enable. Fewer than 20% of all providers said they would return to paper records. That being said, providers also noted negative effects of current EHRs on their professional lives and on patient care.  While excited about the possibilities provided by EHRs, providers have ultimately found poor usability that does not match clinical workflows, time-consuming data entry, interference with patient interaction, and too many electronic messages and alerts.

According to a 2014 survey of physicians conducted by AmericanEHR Partners:

  • 54% indicated their EHR system increased their total operating costs.
  • 55% said is was difficult or very difficult to use their EHR to improve efficiency.
  • 72% said it was difficult or very difficult to use their EHR to decrease workload.
  • 43% said they had not yet overcome productivity challenges associated with their EHR implementation.

These concerns about EHR usability are in alignment with others, including the American Medical Informatics Association, researchers, and practicing physicians. Given the rate at which many healthcare organizations have adopted EHRs, these organizations find themselves unable to wait for the long-run fixes. Healthcare organizations are now looking to change EHR providers in order to fix many of the providers’ concerns.

As healthcare organizations begin the process of changing EHR providers, there is an increased need for solutions to provide access to and maintain the integrity of data stored in the legacy systems. When this need arises, healthcare organizations have the choice to archive the legacy data, run multiple systems simultaneously, or complete an EHR data conversion.

Given the complexity of the data and variety of potential solutions, one might suppose that handling legacy data would be a complex affair. In many ways, that is true. However, it doesn’t have to be. To learn more about the state of EHRs and potential solutions for maintaining access and integrity of legacy data.

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Physicians Still Sour on Meaningful Use Attestation Changes |

Physicians Still Sour on Meaningful Use Attestation Changes | | EHR and Health IT Consulting |
The adjustments involved in successful meaningful use attestation still get a thumbs-down from pessimistic physicians.

Physicians are still not sold on the idea of changing their daily workflows to meet the requirements of meaningful use, finds a new study in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making.  In a survey of 400 providers at 47 ambulatory practices, the researchers found a general unwillingness among all types of physicians to adapt to the needs of Stage 1 meaningful use (MU), and a general lack of confidence in their organization’s ability to rise to the challenges presented by EHR implementation.

The study cites the importance of effective change management strategies as a foundation for preparing healthcare providers for the impact of EHR implementation and meaningful use attestation.  “In busy practice settings, such change efforts are often difficult to implement effectively. In fact, experts have suggested that without sufficient readiness for change, change efforts are more likely to lead to unrealized benefits or fail altogether,” the authors write.  “With billions of dollars invested in MU and the countless hours spent by providers and clinical staff on MU implementation nationally, unrealized benefits from the program would carry significant financial and opportunity costs for health care systems.”

Resistance to the changes involved in meaningful use is nothing new in the healthcare industry.  The study adds to the anecdotal notion that physicians are particularly unwilling to embrace workflow changes due to new technologies and requirements.  While approximately 83% of nurses and advanced practice providers (APPs) indicated a willingness to change their workflow in response to meaningful use, just 57.9% of physicians reported the same.  Nearly 45% of nurses and APPs believed their organization would be able to address any problems that arose during meaningful use attestation, but only 28.4% of physicians were optimistic about overcoming issues.

Specialists were nearly three times more likely than primary care providers to believe that meaningful use would divert significant attention away from the practice of patient care.  Twelve percent of specialists thought their interactions will patients would suffer, compared to 4.4% of other providers.  However, specialists were no more likely than other providers to believe their organizations were unready to tackle meaningful use.

“These results suggest that leaders of health care organizations should pay attention to the perceptions that providers and clinical staff have about MU appropriateness and management support for MU,” the study concludes. “Change management efforts could focus on improving these perceptions if need be as it is feasible that doing so could improve willingness to change practices for MU.”

The authors suggest that organizational leaders invest in education for their staff about the benefits and opportunities involved in meaningful use.  Creating opportunities to provide guidance, demonstrations, and training for EHR proficiency and documentation measures required for attestation may help to ease trepidation among providers, while indicating a strong sense of support along with a clear implementation framework may help to make meaningful use attestation a more successful prospect.

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US Immigration Dept. Sees Advantages of New EHR Infrastructure |

US Immigration Dept. Sees Advantages of New EHR Infrastructure | | EHR and Health IT Consulting |
A centralized EHR infrastructure is promoting care quality improvements in the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement department.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) system is celebrating the completion its EHR infrastructure implementation, which transformed the agency’s paper-based healthcare system into a centralized, web-based system that allows health information exchange to improve care coordination while cutting costs.  For its quick and successful implementation, the team charged with developing the EHR infrastructure has received a 2014 Director’s Award for meritorious service for outstanding performance and inspiring accomplishments advancing the mission of ICE.

As with other governmental healthcare systems, the ICE Health Service Corps (IHSC) must track and coordinate care for persons that may travel between facilities or have a history of care at private providers.  IHSC, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, provides care to around 15,000 ICE detainees at more than 20 facilities, the department’s website says.  Patients in the system also receive care from external providers when necessary, which requires the 900-strong IHSC staff to exchange health data electronically in order to ensure continuity.

“The very nature of detainee health care requires sending medical information across different locations,” said Capt. Deanna Gephart, deputy assistant director of Operations for IHSC in a press release.  “Now that we have the capability to share data electronically, the detainee health care system is much more efficient, which translates into increased quality health care provided to detainees.”

“I couldn’t be more proud of the effort of the team who dedicated their time and effort to modernizing this system,” added Jon Krohmer, assistant director of IHSC. “In less than 15 months, they successfully acquired, installed, configured, trained and deployed the system to all 22 IHSC-staffed facilities.  In the process, ICE has realized a $2 million annual cost avoidance.”

The EHR will allow ICE to better complete public records requests, including the release of data under the Freedom of Information Act, Congressional inquiries, and routine audits.  ICE also believes the new system will contribute to a reduction in the risk of medical errors, improved standardization of care, and the ability to better measure and achieve high performance on quality metrics.

Gephart previously noted that the department’s health information management system lacked sufficient interoperability “ICE has a frequent need to send medical information across different locations, which is cumbersome when each site has its own system,” she said in September.  In 2012, ICE completed 220,000 intake screenings and 104,000 physical exams while conducting more than 13,000 emergency room or off-site referrals, highlighting the need for robust care coordination throughout the busy system.

The successful EHR implementation comes amidst massive modernization efforts by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense (DOD), both of which operate on an even larger scale.  Interoperability and care coordination cross multiple facilities are equally critical to these projects, and are some of the major criteria for the vendor selection process as the DOD seeks to leave its legacy systems behind in favor of a newly centralized infrastructure.

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11 indicators that you need a new EHR

11 indicators that you need a new EHR | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

Often so deeply immersed in looking for ways to make their practice more efficient, physicians sometimes fail to see the most obvious hurdle preventing this very process from occurring; their EHR. If your Electronic Health Record (EHR) solution is not up to the mark, you might be losing out on precious profits, and incurring costs that you can easily overcome.

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CMS Releases Results from ICD-10 Acknowledgement Testing Week |

CMS Releases Results from ICD-10 Acknowledgement Testing Week | | EHR and Health IT Consulting |
The latest results from CMS ICD-10 acknowledgement show no flaws in Medicare FFS claims systems although acceptance rates are lower than March’s ICD-10 testing numbers.

The most recent run of ICD-10 acknowledgement testing by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) revealed no problems with the Medicare Fee-for-service (FFS) claims systems but did show a lower rate nationally of accepted test claims as compared to previous testing in March.

“Acceptance rates improved throughout the week with Friday’s acceptance rate for test claims at 87 percent,” the federal agency said in Medicare Learning Network (MLN) Connects update on Monday. “Nationally, CMS accepted 76 percent of total test claims. Testing did not identify any issues with the Medicare FFS claims systems.”

The ICD-10 acknowledgement testing week running the week of November 17 included more than 500 providers, suppliers, billing companies, and clearinghouses and close to 13,700 claims.

“To ensure a smooth transition to ICD-10, CMS verified all test claims had a valid diagnosis code that matched the date of service, a National Provider Identifier (NPI) that was valid for the submitter ID used for testing, and an ICD-10 companion qualifier code to allow for processing of claims,” CMS stated. “In many cases, testers intentionally included errors in their claims to make sure that the claim would be rejected, a process often referred to as ‘negative testing.’”

According to CMS, most rejected professional claims were the result of an invalid NPI while others contained future dates which the acknowledgement testing does not accept.” Additionally, claims using ICD-10 must have an ICD-10 companion qualifier code. Claims that did not meet these requirements were rejected,” the federal agency added.

These most recent results are from the first of a three-part ICD-10 acknowledgement testing series. The next two week-long sessions take place the weeks of March 2 and June 1.

Earlier this year, CMS celebrated the results of a March 2014 ICD-10 acknowledgement testing week, which saw the average of accept test claims nationally reach 89 percent with some parts of the country reporting acceptance rates to close to 99 percent. Acceptance rates for Medicare FFS claims averaged between 95 and 98 percent. Similarly, testing did not reveal any problems with the Medicare FFS claims systems. The March ICD-10 acknowledgement testing week involved an estimated 2,600 participating providers, suppliers, billing companies and clearinghouses and more than 127,000 test claims.

Unlike ICD-10 acknowledgement testing from earlier this year, CMS has provided fewer details about last month’s testing week such as how the acceptance rates of FFS Medicare claims compared to total acceptance rates or other regional comparisons. And beyond highlighting the use of negative testing practices, the federal agency does not include specifics about purposefully erroneous claims and their effects on acceptance rates overall.

The next scheduled ICD-10 testing activities led by CMS take place in January and focus on ICD-10 end-to-end testing.

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