EHR and Health IT Consulting
33.7K views | +0 today
Follow
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
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scoop.it!

Solving Problems that Arise Due to EHR Use

Solving Problems that Arise Due to EHR Use | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

In plastic surgery, we live by the maxim that to correct a problem in one area is to create (or expose) a problem in another area. That is what I see happening with the transition to EHRs. The use of EHRs has rapidly increased and expanded over the past five years. The HITECH Act and the onset of meaningful use have provided significant incentives to assist practices and providers to implement EHRs in their practices.

Many initiatives to improve care delivery and patient handoffs have also expanded the emphasis on EHRs, leading to expanded use in both emergency departments as well as outpatient settings. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the use of EHRs in the emergency department nearly doubled from 46 percent to 84 percent in the five years preceding 2011. The growth on the outpatient side was even more significant with a change of 29 percent in 2006 to 73 percent in 2011.

EHRs allow us to leverage the power of computers to provide a better quality of service to the patients who rely on us for their care. They provide great benefits to care delivery, including automated evaluation of drug interactions, preventative healthcare suggestions, persistent patient problem lists, and electronic prescribing, among other components.

While there has been fantastic progress made toward the goal of successfully implementing EHRs at all levels of the U.S. healthcare system, we still have work to do to ensure the process works smoothly for patients and providers.

Problems are arising as they are being solved.

Providers have expressed concerns about needing to refine the EHR process to enhance productivity, not decrease it, as well concerns about perceived reduction in patient satisfaction and attentiveness to patients.

Another issue is the very real problem with fraudulent documentation. The EHR was created to assist providers and hospitals for properly documenting the care that is delivered in support of appropriate, higher level coding. However, a small but significant level of falsification of records is occurring, facilitated by the utility of the EHR, that is driving up healthcare costs. To combat this, insurance carriers and CMS are employing increasingly sophisticated tools to detect fraud in the EHR, and going after providers and facilities to recover fraudulent reimbursement, among other penalties.

I still believe in the promise of the EHR. I’m confident that the EHR will fulfill its potential to become one of the more valuable tools that we have in modern medicine to improve the care we give to patients.

How can we combat some of these problems that are arising due to EHRs? Here’s my prescription:

• Provide more and continuous training resources for providers in the use and utility of EHRs.
• Clearly define and explain how EHRs can contribute to and result in fraudulent and nefarious practices. It is also the responsibility of the provider to understand this issue, as ignorance of the laws and regulations is no defense.
• Provide more tools to make it easier for providers to focus on patient care, and not the process of charting and ordering in EHRs. Examples include biometric log on to systems and enterprise level medical dictation to cut down on the time drain that EHRs represent in the current deployment.
• Be patient. A transition is a change from one paradigm to a new one. It takes time, money and resources to change something as significant as the way in which we document the care that we provide.

I discover additional utility in the two EHRs that I use daily by being inquisitive, and working with IT and the representatives of the software providers. It can seems like a daunting task due to the time pressures under which we all operate in our respective clinical environments, however, the benefits will be far worth it in the long run. With the proper training, and support, we can reach our potential and get the focus back where it belongs — on patient care.


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Securely Disposing Medical Practice Equipment

Securely Disposing Medical Practice Equipment | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

It goes without saying that computers are expensive. Medical practices will often gift used office equipment to employees or family members; or donate them to vocational programs. Risk management attorney Ike Devji says that donating old equipment like scanners, fax machines, and computers at the end of the year is very common. "At the end of the year practices will rush to spend money so that it is not taxable. They buy [new] equipment … and computers are replaced."

There's just one small problem. Deleting sensitive patient data will not permanently eliminate it from the hard drive of the device. And if you've donated your practice's scanner to the local thrift store, it still contains sensitive patient data that "a well-trained 12-year-old kid with access to YouTube can get … off the hard drive," says Devji.

Devji points out that a high-end digital scanner can store up to 10,000 pages of patient data. And equipment that is synched to your EHR, even smartphones and tablets, needs to be destroyed or disposed of in a secure manner.

If you have old equipment that you'd like to get rid of, contact your IT consultant. He should be able to point you in the right direction. Or you could follow Devji's approach: He uses his old equipment for target practice in the Arizona desert.


more...
No comment yet.