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 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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Why Should Your Practice Have a Cloud-Based EHR? - HITECH AnswersHITECH Answers

Why Should Your Practice Have a Cloud-Based EHR? - HITECH AnswersHITECH Answers | EHR and Health IT Consulting |

If you’re still debating whether to go with a web-based EHR or a server-based EHR, you should know why a growing number of practices are choosing to go with a cloud EMR.

How does a web-based EMR differ from the older technology of a client server-based EHR system?

A cloud EMR is different (and better, in our opinion) due to the following factors:

Your software is always up to date
With a web-based EMR, the software is always up to date, usually at no additional charge. No more expensive upgrades causing delays; just open the SaaS-based software and you have the latest version.

Rest easy on HIPAA data requirements
Data security is much easier to manage with a web-based system. Cloud EHR vendors can provide much more security for your data than you can internally with office servers. As reported by the Business Insurance site, “Data breaches seem to be everywhere these days except the one place everyone fears—the cloud.” That could be because cloud EMRs offer financial-level security for your data.

Accessibility—work from anywhere
One of the things many users love about the cloud is the ability to work from anywhere—whether it’s e-prescribing from a smartphone or checking a patient record from the beach while on vacation. We don’t recommend you work on your vacation, but we understand the realities of medical practice.

Cloud-based EHR systems allow continued functioning during and immediately after disasters
Hospitals and physicians discovered the benefits of cloud-based data first after Hurricane Katrina and again after Super Storm Sandy; with a web-based system, you can practice (and bill) from anywhere.

Reduced expense for both software and hardware
A cloud-based system is more cost-effective, particularly for small to medium sized practices, since there are no large hardware expenditures and the software expense is a consistent, low subscription rate. You won’t have to plan for large hardware and software expenditures.

Better IT support
Damn it, Jim, you’re a doctor—not an IT person. And you will probably not be able to hire IT support of the same caliber as the staff of a web-based EHR vendor. Why not make use of their resources and eliminate your headaches?

You can use a cloud-based EHR on a mobile device such as an iPad or other tablet
A survey of physicians by web-based EHR review group Software Advice showed that 39% of physicians want to use their EHR on a tablet such as iPad, and in another survey, a majority of patient respondents indicated that they find use of an EHR on a tablet in the exam room to be “not at all bothersome.”

Satisfaction levels are higher among mobile EHR users
A recent survey by tablet-based EHR review group Software Advice found that providers using a mobile EHR expressed twice the satisfaction levels of those using EHRs via non-mobile systems. And as mentioned above, an effective mobile EHR needs to be cloud-based.

It’s particularly important to note that cloud-based systems are nearly always more secure than any system you could set up in your office. For most practices, data security and HIPAA best practices are not their area of expertise—excellent patient care is. But for cloud EMR systems, those areas are key to our success. We are better at it because we must be in order to continue in business. And as mentioned above, the proof is in the lack of data breaches among cloud-based companies.

One proof of the idea that a cloud-based EHR is the best choice is the fact that most EHRs that were originally server-based have since developed cloud-based offerings as well. If server-based technology is state of the art, why are those vendors switching platforms?

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