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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How Cloud-based EHR Platform Improves Remote Monitoring

How Cloud-based EHR Platform Improves Remote Monitoring | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

One type of EHR system that could improve patient health outcomes and revolutionize basic health IT processes is the cloud-based EHR platform. Storing medical data on the cloud provides more opportunities for physicians and other healthcare professionals working remotely and allows the use of mobile devices to track patient health information.

Dr. Amy Hutchinson, an ophthalmologist from the Emory Eye Center, discussed with how adopting a cloud-based EHR platform from Modernizing Medicine has helped her organization succeed. The EHR system from Modernizing Medicine is specialty-specific and currently serves eight different specialties including dermatology and ophthalmology.Patient Portal and Meaningful Use

The cloud-based EHR platform is able to provide clinical decision support to clinicians at the point of care and offer a stronger mobile solution to each care setting. For instance, the system allows for remote patient monitoring, Hutchinson explained.

“We are able to access EMA Ophthalmology from any location, either on an iPad or on a desktop computer, and as such, can monitor our patients remotely in terms of viewing their clinic visit notes and other attachments to the medical record,” Dr. Amy Hutchinson stated. “We are also able to perform queries on patient data (such as view a list of patients who meet certain criteria, an ICD9 code, for example) from any location at any time.”

Hutchinson goes on to mention a specific mobile application that her facility uses to monitor patients through a tablet or other mobile health device.

“Currently, the only mobile app that we are using is the EMA iPad app,” Hutchinson explained. “EMA Ophthalmology allows us to access all of our patients’ records on an iPad, from any location, which is helpful to our enterprise since we have a number of locations and our doctors are constantly moving between them.”

Since Modernizing Medicine’s cloud-based EHR platform is specialty-specific, there are specific types of functions the EHR includes that benefits ophthalmology in particular. Dr. Amy Hutchinson discussed the “eye log” feature on the EHR system.

“The ‘eye log’ feature is a way to look at data trends, enabling us to review clinical results like visual acuity, intraocular pressure etc. over time,” Hutchinson said. “It is helpful to be able to see how a patient’s vision or pressure has been trending over time without having to open each individual visit note. In addition, the program is designed to improve efficiency in clinic and also allows physicians to customize visit notes and correspondence to other physicians.”

Additionally, Hutchinson mentioned that the Emory Eye Center attested to meaningful use requirements under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs in 2014. The cloud-based EHR platform was useful in helping the medical facility reach these requirements.

“We attested to meaningful use in 2014,” said Hutchinson. “Having EMA Ophthalmology absolutely made it easier for us to meet the requirements.”

Currently, Emory Eye Center has its own patient portal and focuses on increasing patient engagement among its consumer base. The portal allows the medical facility to meet the patient engagement objectives under both Stage 2 and Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements.

“Since we are part of a larger enterprise with a patient portal of its own, we are still optimizing our ophthalmology patient portal, but EMA Ophthalmology’s portal includes education handouts and provides patients with copies of their exam notes, both of which will serve to better engage patients,” Hutchinson concluded. “The system also provides a venue for secure messaging to other physicians in the practice and to the patients themselves.”

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Important Features For Your Practice Computers

Important Features For Your Practice Computers | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

Medical computers are an essential element of the modern health care system. They help increase efficiency in every setting from the front office to exam rooms, surgery, and radiology departments. Choosing computers for your practice is an important task, so here are some features to look for:

Sanitation Promoting Features

A clean environment is indisputable in health care facilities, and a critical component of a medical grade computer is their ability to support one. Hygiene-promoting features on your practice computers should include the following:

  • Sealed enclosure resistant to liquid and can be cleaned with disinfectant.
  • Antimicrobial coating on keyboards and monitors or all-in-one computers.
  • Fanless design to reduce dirt accumulation in the system and dust from circulating.
  • Minimal crevices that are potential homes for bacteria.

Mobility and Accessibility

When medical computers are mobile and accessible, health care organizations can save time, money and improve patient care. Nurses and doctors can bring computers with them on patient rounds or during check-in. This accessibility in medical computers lets doctors and nurses focus on patients, not hardware, during appointments. Look for computers that fit into a variety of settings, whether they can be placed on wall mounts, medical carts or nursing stations. VESA mountable computers are the preferred industry standard. The medical computer supplier you choose should offer assistance in installing your computers where you need them. Also, check for an internal lithium battery that allows for mobility without interrupting data management.

Touchscreens are another significant option that lets caregivers focus on patients. When they are easy to use, caregivers can easily enter data and interact with the computer, while still giving attention to patients. Medical Computer touchscreens are also more hygienic since they can come with an antibacterial coating.

Administrative Tools

A high performing and efficient hospital or clinic has central coordination, and medical grade computers reinforce this. With medical grade computers, administrative staff can enter and edit a patient’s medical, insurance and billing information in a patient environment. Each computer on the network should have access to this information, with a setup that allows for HIPAA compliance. Elimination of redundant inputs, reduction of errors and the switch to electronic rather than paper billings all save costs.

Low-Cost Installation

While changing to a medical computer system or getting an overhaul of your current system will undoubtedly involve some expense, you can minimize it in a few ways. One is by choosing a system compatible with as much of your existing systems as possible. For example, inquire about the extent of inputs and outputs that would be necessary with a new system; you may be able to make use of parts of your current system and thus save trouble and money from redundant equipment purchases.

Another way to reduce the initial investment cost is to consider the time and resources required to get doctors and other employees able to operate the system. First, software should be easy to use. Look for medical grade computers that support your preferred software programs or that come with new software that is simple to learn. Insist on getting a free trial before committing to a purchase.

Second, be sure to train employees before your upgrade is complete. Extra time from tutorials is expensive to a hospital or clinic, so find out how long it typically takes for users to master the system. If possible, purchase your medical computers from a company that provides follow-up support..

Cloud-Based Systems

Your practice computers need to be compatible with the cloud. As recently explained on this site, 96 percent of health care organizations are using or considering the cloud. Those who do can hope for average cost savings of 20 percent each year.

Using the cloud has additional advantages over cost savings. It allows for unlimited storage and frequent backups. Also, storage on a remote server rather than a large server on site prevents the risk of losing data in case of a flood, fire, etc. Check for a computer with EN/UL 60601 medical certification with which protects against power surges, failures and improves on-site safety.

A quality medical grade computer has a number of important characteristics that allow for reduced costs and upgraded patient care. Keep a list of necessary features in mind when you shop for your new computer or system, and your health care organization may soon see benefits.

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How the Cloud Targets Meaningful Use Requirements

How the Cloud Targets Meaningful Use Requirements | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

The medical sector is geared toward adopting EHR systems and enhancing data exchange among hospitals and physician practices in order to improve care, lower costs, and increase positive population health outcomes. One health information exchange system called Healthcare Access San Antonio (HASA) has recently adopted a cloud platform to better engage patients and more effectively meet meaningful use requirements.

One common concern with HIE organizations is the potential for data breaches and violation of patient privacy and security measures. Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Access San Antonio Gijs van Oort spoke with and mentioned the typical protocols the HIE follows to ensure data security standards are met.Cloud Platform and Meaningful Use Requirements

“We’re following protocols and standards federally as well as state-wide. We have a whole series of those in place that we’re checking on a regular basis,” Van Oort said. “We capture security not only in our processes and the way we operate but also in contractual agreements with the customers. That’s probably where we see most of the likelihood [of data breaches] if a physician is using the HIE and does not necessarily use the appropriate protocols or security levels. That’s where we see most of the risk with us. In general, we are working very cautiously and carefully with our customers and, so far, things have gone well.”

HASA CEO Gijs van Oort also spoke about the patient engagement measures the recently implemented ManaCloud platform from Mana Health has helped the organization achieve. The HIE was able to meet the patient portal objectives under Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements.

“We’ve been able to meet many of the patient portal requirements for Stage 2. With Stage 3 just coming out, we’re starting a dialogue with ManaHealth as well as our analytics portal, which is the trigger for the population of the patient portal to evaluate which particular measures we can meet,” he said. “So far, we are getting positive feedback from CMS.”

“The patient portal needs to be patient-oriented. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a medical application. When we found ManaHealth, we were very excited about their capabilities and their history in social media. We’ve learned over the years, that if you put a medical application in front of a patient with the hope that the patient will adopt it, we won’t be very successful.”

Health Information Exchange“Currently, our patient portal is able to view, download, and transmit medical information, which is one of the requirements. It also adds the education component which is very intuitive. It adds proxy access so parents, with the approval of a child, can get access to a child’s medical record. It has direct messaging and we’re working on building out these kind of services so that the portal will indeed become meaningful for the patient and not only to meet meaningful use criteria.”

Gijs van Oort continued by explaining the stages and objectives under the EHR Incentive Programs that the ManaCloud platform enabled the HIE to achieve.

“So we’re still trying to finalize Stage 2 Meaningful Use measures. Stage 3 measures are not final yet. We are looking collectively how we can best meet them and which ones we can meet,” Van Oort stated. The HASA CEO also mentioned how HIEs may be able to help providers meet Objective 5 under the Stage 3 Meaningful Use requirements.

“One of the things that we’re interested in is to find out if you look at Objective 5 in Meaningful Use Stage 3, there is no mention of HIE being able to meet some of these criteria,” Van Oort stated. “The HIE would be the perfect place for that in the fact that it aggregates patient data and it would be a patient-friendly way to provide the patient copies of their medical record. We’ve made some preliminary inquiries with CMS to ascertain whether an HIE would be a qualifying source for meeting those particular objectives. So far, it seems to be positive.”

“Objectives five and six, which have to do with patients having access to their record and the engagement of the patient” are met with the help of this cloud platform.

“HIE capabilities are under objective seven, which we’re doing through our other application. From an HIE perspective, I feel that we can provide plenty of support to these providers,” Van Oort said.

Cloud PlatformWhen asked what benefits the cloud-based system has offered their organization, Van Oort stated, “We are looking at reducing duplicate testing and identifying unnecessary emergency department visits. We’re working closely with a local Medicaid HMO who has been receiving daily updates about ED visits. It allows them to more quickly develop innovations and case management [decisions].”

When asked how implemented health IT systems at HASA improve care coordination, Van Oort stated, “In order to provide value, we need to put multiple functionalities in place so that our community gets optimal benefit from it. We started with a provider portal, which is a typical HIE functionality where data is brought in from different sources and aggregated and homogenized.”

“We then coupled that with an analytics portal that provides real-time and clinical data back to the community. That has benefits for public health. Thirdly, the ManaHealth portal is linked to our analytics portal to pull data for the patient, so that patients get a copy of their medical history. With these three platforms tied together and data flowing in near real-time, we now can support clinicians in the community, the hospitals, public health, and patients.”

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