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AHA Explains Industry Challenges for EHR Interoperability

AHA Explains Industry Challenges for EHR Interoperability | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

EHR use presents many healthcare benefits, including coordination of care and increased patient engagement. However, , the lack of EHR and health IT interoperability is posing a serious threat to other healthcare initiatives, according to a recent report published by the American Hospital Association.

The report, entitled Why Interoperability Matters, discusses the various aspects of the healthcare industry and care delivery that are negatively impacted by a lack of interoperability. Among those aspects include care coordination, patient engagement, and public health and quality measures reporting.


Care coordination


The exchange of health information is critical for the coordination of care, according to AHA. When patients receive care from multiple different providers, physicians should be able to securely send relevant patient information to the practicing physician. However, that tends not to be the case because EHR systems are not interoperable and cannot exchange information.


Furthermore, care coordination and successful interoperability are vital for provider finances. As accountable care organizations and bundled payments continue to grow more prevalent, the AHA maintains that interoperability and the ability to see all of the care a patient in receiving is crucial in preventing unnecessary treatment.


Patient Engagement


Patient engagement and the shared decision-making between providers and patients is critical in achieving the aims of the healthcare industry, the authors of AHA report maintain. Further, patient engagement is a central part of federal regulations on using an EHR. However, the agency states that many patients are unable to access their electronic health information, hindering the practice of patient engagement.


“The real problem is that the vast majority of patients cannot access their health information in a holistic, meaningful way. Instead, they must go to each of their providers’ patient portals and download unintegrated data. Making sense of this, particularly for patients with multiple chronic conditions who frequently have many health encounters a year, is difficult,” the report states.


Public Health and Quality Measures Reporting


EHR use also provides the opportunity for enhanced public health reporting. Because patient data is aggregated on one, electronic system, healthcare professionals can track healthcare trends and analyze information about population health. But without adequately interoperable systems, that process is significantly hampered.

“Hospitals are happy to report this data to improve public health but must contend with a wide variety of reporting formats and transmission technologies to do so, including faxing, mailing, e-mailing, web forms and secure file transfer protocols,” report reads.


This cumbersome process results in wasted time and resources. Similarly, practices face issues with quality measure reporting. Quality measures reporting is another federally mandated practice for EHR use, however without properly interoperable systems, health systems face challenges.


Interfaces and HIEs as solutions


Healthcare providers have created a few solutions to this interoperability problem, including interfaces and health information exchanges.


Interfaces are programs that allow a facility’s EHR to pass along information from one system to another, yet practices face challenges when using interfaces for more than one provider.


“...in health care, each interface currently is like a snowflake: it must be built to meet the unique requirements between two providers and cannot be reused,” the authors explain.


Because practices would need to adopt multiple interfaces, they are not always a financially stable solution to interoperability.


Like interfaces, health information exchanges (HIEs) have presented themselves as potential solutions to interoperability problems. Although HIEs can be successful in securely transmitting health information between providers, they too are quite costly. Furthermore, AHA explains that many HIEs are installed via federal grants, and that when the grants run out, many practices are unable to maintain their HIEs.


Health IT standards need more specificity


Although there are a set of standards identified for the use of EHRs and other health IT, they are not specific enough to be effective, the authors note. Creating uniformity in how data is collected and stored on an EHR, however, would be a drastic step forward for interoperability, the report states. Increased health IT standards would cause data to be input in the same way across the healthcare delivery spectrum, making information sharing more feasible.


Although the authors acknowledges the potential that health IT standards have in increasing interoperability, the agency maintains that much work in defining those standards and developing other platforms needs to be done before the industry can achieve nationwide interoperability.

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3 Roles to Support EHR Optimization

3 Roles to Support EHR Optimization | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Technology should make it easier for Physicians to get their work done, right?  I mean, it seems to work in all other industries and most other aspects of our lives. So, why should healthcare be any different? Well, the fact remains that healthcare is very different. Physicians are trained to be independent thinkers using all available data. Each patient looks for a personalized decision to improve their health and wellbeing.

 

This autonomy of clinical practice is generally not compatible with most of today’s electronic health record (EHR) systems, which has led to a decrease in clinical efficiency and growing frustration for all care team members. While this individualized approach may seem beneficial, advances in medicine and surgery have identified uniform diagnostic and treatment protocols that lead to better patient outcomes in all disease categories.

 

Further, regulatory and payor data collection requirements have added layers of additional burdens to health systems that require the use of standardized technology systems. Optimization is making the best or most effective use of a situation or resource. Within healthcare, this means EHR Optimization.

 

As healthcare systems look to optimize Physician workflows, they should invest in three key supporting roles to help ensure success.

 

1. Process Improvement Specialists - In general, to reliably achieve results, you need a standard approach. A variation in approach leads to a variation of results; this applies to clinical practice as well. Before any new tool, whether it’s a scalpel or an order set, is given to a Physician, all care team members, especially the Physicians, need to understand how that tool will make them more efficient and why it’s effective in driving a particular outcome.

 

If that tool does not enable both tasks, it will likely not be adopted. High performing healthcare organizations understand that concept and intentionally leverage Process Improvement Specialists to focus their efforts on the process before implementing a transformation initiative.

 

They carefully map out the steps for each standardized process and look to understand how technology and insights can provide value along the way. Once a new process is defined, a change management education plan is formulated based on the gap between current and future state.

 

This is an absolute requirement before considering implementing new IT functionality. Otherwise, end-user adoption and optimization will be much more challenging.

 

2. Application Solutions Analysts - As successful organizations design standardized processes, they look to technologists to help them work smarter and not harder.  Typically, Application Solutions Analysts serve in that capacity.

 

These individuals are not only well versed in the functional capabilities of the core EHR system but are also in tune with the industry's best practices for a given process. The “out of the box” functionality promoted by EHR vendors rarely fit ideal workflows and almost always require some amount of configuration to meet the organization’s best practice process.

 

Furthermore, there is often decision support logic or machine learning algorithms that Physicians can leverage to enhance the diagnosis and treatment of patients. To drive innovation, healthcare teams must understand the “art of the possible” from their core systems and incorporate new capabilities into their workflows.

 

3. Insight Engineers - The third leg of the optimization stool is the measurement.  If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Many health systems fall short with the adoption of change simply because they lack the data needed to measure the on-going success (or failure) of their initiatives. Insight Engineers, skilled in measuring lead and lag key performance indicators (KPIs), are valuable participants to the change management process as they bridge the divide between the care delivery teams and the IT analytics/informatics teams.

 

They work with subject matter experts, Applications Solution Analysts, and Process Improvement Specialists to define actionable KPIs that care teams will use to achieve their goals and work with the IT teams to deliver them before go-live.

 

Clinicians and operators need to understand compliance and variation to process in real-time or near-real-time to achieve sustainable clinical outcomes.

 

For example, knowing which Physician is deviating from a specific component of sepsis protocol at the moment is much more impactful to course-correcting behavior than finding out 45 days later in an aggregated report. Without actionable dashboards, leadership will struggle to hold all teams accountable for the care delivered.

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How an Integrated EHR Enables Ease of Use For Doctors

How an Integrated EHR Enables Ease of Use For Doctors | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

As a physician in small healthcare practice, you value your time, your practice’s profitability, and, of course, your patient relationships. Success in these areas ultimately stems back to the efficiency of your processes — and the technology you’re leveraging to enable a simplified workflow.

 

When determining which type of EHR system would make the most sense for you and your staff, consider an integrated solution that will be easy for your entire practice to quickly adopt. According to a report on doctors and their EHRs recently released by Software Advice, 89 percent of doctors said that integration is an important feature in their decision-making process.

 

If you’re worried that implementing a new EHR system in your practice will hinder productivity, you’re not alone. An anticipated loss of productivity continues to concern physicians considering a transition to an EHR system. In fact, 59 percent of office-based physicians who haven’t yet adopted an EHR say the loss of productivity is one of the biggest barriers, according to a 2014 report published by the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC).

While this fear is understandable, the benefits associated with having connected and interoperable software in your practice outweigh the risks. Here are key reasons why implementing an integrated EHR will allow your practice to run more smoothly and increase efficiency with ease.

Quick and Accurate Data Entry

When doctors have software that combines their EHRs, Practice Management (PM), and billing into one comprehensive process, they can save time on repeatedly inputting the same data. Not only does this increase time savings and boost productivity, but it also minimizes the risk for error when transferring data.

Stronger Practice Management and Visibility

An integrated EHR solution can enable physicians and medical administrators to better oversee their practice. Integrated software provides doctors and office managers visibility into every step of an interaction with a patient. EHR platforms can help patients schedule their appointment, help doctors fill out the patient’s chart, and help accounts receivable track the claim being submitted and paid. Integrated software allows practices to submit cleaner claims and more easily schedule appointments.

Many EHR software even has a dashboard function that can report metrics, including revenue and the number of patients seen. This allows doctors to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their practice and how best to improve and capitalize on these analytics.

Consistency and Accessibility

Integrated EHR solutions allow doctors to be involved in every aspect of practice without switching between software. When the solution is cloud-based, physicians can help manage their staff and deal with any claim issues, even when working from another clinic or office.

Meaningful Use Time Savings

According to a recent National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, EHR systems that meet Meaningful Use (MU) criteria are more likely to save physicians time on certain tasks. Specifically:

  • 82 percent of physicians with an EHR system that meets MU criteria agree that E-prescribing saves them time, compared to 67 percent of physicians whose EHR system does not meet MU criteria.
  • 75 percent of physicians with an EHR system that meets MU criteria agree that their practice receives lab results faster, compared to 61 percent of physicians whose EHR system does not meet MU criteria.

If you are looking for a reliable way to save time and improve your practice simply and efficiently, a Meaningful Use certified, integrated EHR system could be the cure.

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Points to Consider for EHR Optimization

Points to Consider for EHR Optimization | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

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.

 
 

 

 

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Pro-Active EHR Optimization is a Necessity

Pro-Active EHR Optimization is a Necessity | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Everyone knows that routine maintenance is required to keep a home, car, or even a person in good shape and performing well.  The same is true in regards to our electronic health records (EHR).  To meet the requirements and capitalize on the benefits of meaningful use, the US market has seen an unprecedented amount of EHR implementations. However, many organizations aren’t seeing the expected benefits.

 

Factors such as rushed, system-focused implementations, lack of standardization or focus on workflows, end-user and physician dissatisfaction, high ticket, and request volumes, and/or sub-optimal training are major drivers for optimization needs. Routine maintenance and pro-active EHR optimization are a constant and ongoing necessity and should be treated that way from a planning, budgeting and prioritization perspective. Here are some key areas to consider in a post-EHR go live world.

 

Thorough Assessment, Prioritization, and Management of Current Issues and Complaints

 

Most organizations use a ticketing system to log EHR issues. Following an EHR activation, ticket volumes often increase to the point where an organization cannot manage the volume and cannot differentiate priority issues from common, organizational issues. This is exacerbated by the constant “pull” of resources that are now needed for other organizational objectives and projects.

 

The truth is, your EHR “project” doesn’t go away when the system goes live. Rather, a program management organization, complete with an integrated Governance structure, must remain to manage upgrades, maintenance, and optimization. A great first step is understanding issues and prioritizing ongoing efforts for your teams and your organization

 

A thorough review, cleanup, validation, and categorization of all issues should be conducted. This requires the establishment and ongoing execution of a ticket intake and review process that identifies the priority and necessity, understands the source of the problem (e.g., user proficiency, workflow inefficiency, build defects) and reconciles that against the objectives of the organization. It is critical to include operational and clinical leaders in this process and often requires time for interviewing and even shadowing clinical and operational users to fully understand and accurately document issues.

 

Categorizing, Prioritizing, Integrating and Approving Effort

 

Most issues can be categorized into four areas:

  1. Break/Fix
    • Break/fix are issues with the software functionality that need to be fixed by either the IT analysts or vendor.
  2. System Enhancement
    • Enhancement issues pertain to desired functionality that is either not yet developed by the vendor or not yet implemented by the IT department.
  3. Workflow
    • Workflow issues arise when a process or procedure is inefficient.
  4. Training
    • Training issues occur when the system is functioning as designed but the end user is unaware of how to use it properly. Training may also be needed to teach advanced functionality.

 

After categorization, issues should be prioritized. The prioritization process should be carried out through the Program Management and Governance structure and is typically not simply an “IT” process.  Understanding the issues and requests, prioritizing them against the organizational objectives and then including them in the ongoing capital and operating plans allows adequate focus, funding, and validation for the work.

 

This may be simple and quick – break/fix items, refresher training, etc. However, the focus may be more complex and cross multiple areas of the organization – new system functionality, upgrades, workflow redesign, etc.  The latter often requires the organization to move back into “project mode” with a detailed timeline, project plan and in some cases, capital funding.

 

Optimization Implementation and Ongoing Maintenance

 

Now that a structure is in place, resources are adequately funded and work is prioritized, the organization can move forward knowing that the EHR can be properly maintained, but also leveraged for its true functionality. There will be many moving parts that may involve system configuration, system upgrades, workflow redesign, and end user training.

 

Having a dedicated optimization team and project manager that interacts and coordinates with the key operational and clinical leaders is key to ensuring success, but also aides in optimizing an EHR solution that supports the organization’s objectives as well as the patient experience.

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Reduce the Pain of Switching EHR Software with These Four Steps

Reduce the Pain of Switching EHR Software with These Four Steps | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

There are days when you have to face that monster behind the screen. EHR replacement can be a significant challenge for any healthcare executive or IT administrator. The reasons vary—from performance issues to software being discontinued by the vendor.

 

Seeking the right EMR software solution to overcome these problems is becoming more difficult as companies innovate and evolve to meet the demands of an increasingly complex healthcare environment. The whirlwind of options can be confusing as you seek the best EHR software to improve physician productivity, financial outcomes, and patient satisfaction.The following tips will help you find the solution you need to achieve your organization’s goals.

Start your search for a new EHR vendor with these steps

Here are the top recommendations for choosing an EHR vendor to make this change something you only have to do once.

Step 1: Develop a Request for Proposal (RFP)

An RFP allows you to compare potential partners. It provides a framework for providing detailed information about your practice and listing specific requirements. It’s well worth the effort in making sure prospective vendors have guidelines to prepare a proposal that clearly addresses your needs.

Step 2: Give them a wish list

A wish list of key features, functions, and reporting needs gives prospective vendors a full picture of what you expect from a partner. When they respond, you’ll have a better understanding of how their services will fulfill your goals.

Step 3: Research, research, and more research

Go online to read blogs, customer comments, and third-party review sites. Talk with your clinicians and staff to get more details about what works and doesn’t work with the current EHR system. Reach out to peers in professional organizations to learn more from their experiences.

Step 4: Go beyond the sales pitch and get to know the vendor

An EHR solution goes beyond the software. EHR replacement involves the personalities that you’ll be working with on a regular basis. You need to take time to get to know the vendors and make sure they’ll be a good fit for your practice.

Have questions ready

Similar to how a business develops interview questions for to ask a candidate for an important position, your practice needs to prepare a list of specific questions for your potential EHR partner. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Does the EHR provide robust, specialty content out of the box?
  • Will the partner be able to meet the demands as my practice grows?
  • Does the EHR vendor offer the full end-to-end solution from when the patient arrives to when the payment is collected?
  • Does the EHR vendor ensure a true continuum of care?

A partnership built on trust every step of the way

Switching to the right EHR software to yield better results requires a partner you can trust. Managing the complexity and difficulty in keeping up with workflow demand is possible with a partner who will be there every step of the way. It’s essential that they share the same amount of passion and commitment you have in serving your clinicians, staff, and patients.

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Benefits of an EPCS Certified EHR

Benefits of an EPCS Certified EHR | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

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.

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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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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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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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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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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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Which Multiregional EHR Vendors Fared Well Globally in 2018?

Which Multiregional EHR Vendors Fared Well Globally in 2018? | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Among multiregional electronic health record (EHR) vendors, Epic and Cerner contracts accounted for the most new hospital beds in 2018, according to a new report from KLAS Research.

 

Last year, more than 180 healthcare organizations outside the U.S. made EHR purchase decisions—impacting 377 hospitals, according to the Utah-based KLAS, which released the report on May 9, a week after it released it’s U.S. hospital EHR market share report. Last week’s U.S.-based findings revealed that for the second year in a row, Cerner signed the highest number of new hospitals, but large private sector hospitals are almost exclusively choosing Epic technology.

 

The global EHR market share report for 2019 similarly discloses that Epic and Cerner are leading the way in terms of volume of beds contracted in 2018. Epic’s 2018 contracts were some of the largest in scope, accounting for more new beds than any other vendor. The majority of these beds came from a regional decision in Singapore in which Epic was chosen as the go-forward vendor in two of the country’s three integrated healthcare clusters, KLAS reported. In total, Epic signed four new contracts (across three regions), which was one of their lowest totals in recent years.

 

Cerner, meanwhile, was selected as the go-forward EHR platform by two counties in Sweden that will be migrating to Millennium from a legacy Siemens solution. These decisions represent two of the largest contracts signed in 2018, both in size and technology scope (they include population health management) and are Cerner’s first Millennium deployments in the Nordics. The Millennium platform was not purchased outside of Europe in 2018.

 

Other multiregional vendors such as Agfa HealthCare, Dedalus, and InterSystems were each selected in eight or more decisions, according to the KLAS findings.

 

Agfa HealthCare was selected in 10 separate decisions (more than any other multiregional vendor). The “wins” occurred in two regions and include a number of net new large multihospital decisions. Dedalus had the most hospital wins of any multiregional vendor; these wins came mostly through GHTs (territorial hospital groups) in France; additional wins came from other decisions in France, Italy, and Kuwait. InterSystems was third in terms of new contracts, with eight, and saw the most geographic diversity, signing contracts in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Oceania

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Planning for Successful EHR Training

Planning for Successful EHR Training | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

A successful EHR training program is the result of many months of planning and communicating organizational expectations. There is always a myriad of logistical elements that go into the EHR training planning process – identifying training locations, setting up classrooms and determining how registration and completion of courses will be tracked is essential to identify early on, as this will likely be one of the most significant training initiatives the organization has undertaken.

 

Identifying trainers who understand the system and workflows, and how different types of employees may require different types of learning, whether it be web-based, classroom or one-on-one training, is essential. Finally, communicating EHR training expectations for future users of the system will ensure that everyone is trained and ready for the system to go live.

 

Physician Personalization Labs - A key feature within Epic is the ability to personalize the software for each physician’s needs. The modules will be the same for all users, but Epic can be customized to accommodate an individual provider’s preferences when entering clinical documentation and orders, allowing providers to focus on time spent with their patients rather than time spent in the system.

 

In the weeks leading to go-live, personalization labs – an extension of training – should be set up where trainers can work with physicians to make sure their templates and orders are set up; Every step that can be taken to prepare for go-live helps ease the transition, and this is a big one.

 

Technical Dress Rehearsal - The technical dress rehearsal is a planned event where all equipment that will be used during the Epic go-live is checked before the actual event. This includes everything from servers to monitors, scanners and devices, printers, etc.

 

For example, printing is a common issue during Epic implementations, and Technical Dress Rehearsals allow your implementation teams to check and recheck printing processes before they go-live.

 

End-User Dress Rehearsal - Dress rehearsals allow end-users to marry the new EHR technology with what may be newly redefined processes to evaluate how well they are functioning together. End-users are asked to sign on to the EHR system, test their training, validate that they can accomplish what they need to achieve during a typical day’s work, ask questions and continue to learn in a safe environment.

 

It is an extension of training, allowing end-users to build much-needed confidence going into go-live. It is also an opportunity to address any last-minute quirks in the system’s setup. A constant dialogue between end-users, Super Users, application teams and IT is vital to taking advantage of this opportunity.

 
  

SuperUser Preparedness - Super User Preparedness, and to a great extent your Super User Program overall, maybe the most important personnel aspect of a successful go-live and sustained long-term success.

 

When establishing the parameters of a Super User program, organizations must look, think and plan for the long term. If your Super User program is only set up to get you through go-live, you’re doing end-users and your organization a significant disservice.

 

A well thought out and managed the Super User Program should serve as your primary source of knowledge transfer from implementation specialists and go-live consultants to in-house staff and full-time employees.

 

Super Users should be engaged during the planning process, implementation, optimization, and beyond. They should act as the liaison between the application teams and end-users. Super Users are distributors and gatherers of information as they communicate directly with end-users and report issues back to the application teams. When done correctly,

 

it’s one of the most effective ways to check the pulse of the end-users and ensure that you’re addressing the issues that matter to them the most.

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3 Reasons Why Medical Practices Should Embrace the EHR Dashboard

3 Reasons Why Medical Practices Should Embrace the EHR Dashboard | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The electronic health record (EHR) dashboard is an important tool for medical practices. It is often overlooked, but the dashboard provides valuable insights that can benefit your practice in many ways.

 

An EHR collects so much data, but it’s what you do with that data that will make the biggest impact. The dashboard provides a quick glance at information that can be used to improve your practice. Here are three reasons why medical practices should utilize the EHR dashboard:

 

1. It provides a holistic view of a practice in a way that’s easy to understand.

 

Dashboards give medical practices an accessible, easy-to-understand view of how their practice is performing in real-time. A dashboard enables a practice to quickly understand practice performance, uncover areas for improvement and make decisions based on real data, instead of assumptions.

 

2. Provides key insights for clinical, operational and financial success.

 

Dashboards provide insight that is instrumental to your practice’s success. A good dashboard will provide a consolidated view of clinical, operational and financial information. This allows practices to easily keep track of three key areas that need to be running smoothly in medical practice.

 

3. Improves productivity and efficiency.

 

Dashboards provide high-level information in real-time that helps practice managers, billers and physicians be more productive day-to-day and long-term. A dashboard should include information on practice financials, patient flow, and tasks that need to be completed so that everyone in a practice can do their jobs effectively. Here’s some of the information the Practice EHR dashboard provides to help optimize the practice workflow:

  • Appointment status provides an overview of which patients have been seen, no shows and canceled as well as how many have rescheduled.
  • Copay status: provides an overview of how many copays have been collected on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
  • Visit counts: provides the total number of patient visits and visits by payer types.
  • Key performance trends: provides an overview of important practice financial information such as charges, payments, and account receivables.
  • Aging by practice: provides an overview of account receivables that are current, 30, 60 and 120 days out.
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Operational Involvement in EHR Adoption

Operational Involvement in EHR Adoption | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Among many reasons why EHR implementations fail, one that comes up repeatedly is the perception that the project was an IT-driven project – a system chosen and implemented without significant input from those who would be using it most.

 

A lack of operational involvement. Three things are key to establishing governance, involving the operational team and gaining acceptance of the world that new EHR users will be expected to live and thrive in:

 

Getting the right people into the proper roles


The best physician champions are not ‘picked’ at the start of the project, the surface as the project begins to move forward. There are some people who not only have an interest in and aptitude for these types of projects, but their natural energy and positive excitement can conjure up the same enthusiasm in others.

 

Those are the people, or influencers, who you want leading and running these projects. In many instances, multiple application team members can excel at their jobs for very different reasons. You may have one that is exceptionally knowledgeable about the intricacies of the build while the other who came from Operations and possesses a detailed understanding of the workflow.

 

Later in the project, when a principal trainer needs to be chosen, which will make the better trainer? The decision may ultimately come down to a variety of factors including application or workflow knowledge, but the communication skill set and which one resonates better with end users and will help them adopt the technology better may be the deciding factor.

 

Empowering people to make and take responsibility for decisions


It’s imperative to find people who are not only empowered to make decisions but can accept the responsibility and accountability for those decisions. Create a culture where there is an acceptance of the concept that sometimes a decision is based on the best information available at the time to move forward, but that it may need to be revisited at a later date when more and better information is available.

 

When people are in decision-making roles, they must be experienced, knowledgeable and decisive with conviction. Some people are fit for that role while others are not. It is the responsibility of project leaders to determine which individuals possess the necessary leadership and decision-making skill sets to keep the project moving forward successfully.

 

Communicating with and ensuring operational involvement in project activities including, but not limited to, workflow design, content development, and standardization, testing, and training.


Involving operations in project activities is one of the most critical pieces to a successful EHR implementation. While IT team members may know the ins and outs of the system, operational team members are the folks who will be using it daily to do their jobs.

 

Who better to ask when it comes to workflow decisions and content development? When the time comes to create test scripts and training materials, involving the operational folks will ensure that you are testing the most relevant ‘day in the life’ scenarios and using examples for training that is relevant to their practice — cross-functional planning and vetting help to ensure success in both.

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Why an Integrated EHR Improves Patient Relationships

Why an Integrated EHR Improves Patient Relationships | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The doctors we know say there are never enough hours in the day. Sound familiar? Well, we’re here to help. As integrated EHR systems are adopted in the industry, doctors seem to peel off a few more hours each day. And more time means a better doctor/patient relationship. Here’s why:


Time is of the essence.

 

It’s no secret that physicians are strapped for time and patients value efficient, yet, thorough appointments. Balancing productivity and quality care is a task, but very manageable with the right tool.

 

When doctors leverage software that integrates their EHR, Practice Management (PM), and billing into one comprehensive process, they can save time on manually inputting data. Not only does this increase time savings and boost productivity, but it also minimizes the risk for error when transferring data.

 

Some integrated EHR systems even have a dashboard function that can report metrics, including revenue and the number of patients seen. This allows doctors to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their practice and determine how to capitalize on these analytics.


We are living in an on-demand world.

Integrated EHR solutions provide physicians instant access to patient information and billing. They will also be involved in every aspect of a practice without switching between software, which saves them precious time. When the solution is cloud-based, physicians can help manage their staff and deal with any claim issues, even when working from another clinic or office.

 

An integrated EHR also helps enable a transparent process. Patients are now getting answers to their healthcare questions online and on-demand. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that 72% of the U.S. adult population looks online for health information. Thankfully, doctors can now meet this new wave of patient behavior in stride.

 

Your patients will appreciate a workflow that allows them to pay any outstanding charges on-demand, and this will help you build trustworthy relationships with your patients.

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3 Key Areas to Address During EHR Optimization

3 Key Areas to Address During EHR Optimization | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

If you have ever purchased a new home, you are rarely 100% satisfied when you move in. You may want to add some new furniture, paint a few walls, update the flooring or even do a complete remodel. When implementing a new Electronic Health Record (EHR), many times the need to “get the system live” as soon as possible, results in a rushed implementation of basic functionality and “out of the box” workflows.

 

There is not always time to look at current issues and identify ways to improve processes. Many times the current problems are merely transferred into the new system. Even if you love everything about your new EHR, Optimization of the system will always be necessary due to factors such as advances in medical treatment, compliance & regulatory changes, adding of new specialties and more.

 

Whether it is your existing EHR or a new system, for optimization to be effective, experts with clinical, operational and technical experience will need to look at how the system is working. You may have such experts employed, or you may need to bring in consultants. Either way, these experts will assess how users are interacting with the EHR and if they are having functionality and/or workflow issues. Sometimes, problems can be addressed by merely providing additional training, especially if new features and functionality have been deployed.

 

By taking a thorough look at the system and its users, experts can determine what improvements need to be made.

Below are three areas to take into consideration: 

  1. Governance: A strong governance structure is critical to having a successful optimization plan. Requests for changes to the EHR must be prioritized and evaluated.  An agile governance group made up of the right members, should meet monthly to review all requests and prioritize according to the overall needs of the organization.
  2. Training:  A comprehensive training program is a critical factor that impacts the usability of the EHR. Many times organizations provide new employee training but do not offer any “ongoing” or “refresher” training. Supplemental training can increase basic and advanced knowledge of the system and improve efficiency. As system upgrades and new functionality are implemented, users should have an option to attend classroom training. eLearning can be helpful, but there is no substitute for hands-on classroom training where the user can ask questions and get answers.
  3. Communication: Organizations should have effective and comprehensive communications regarding training, new functionality, and any other changes to the EHR. The creation of a formal enterprise-wide communication plan using a variety of forums and a broad spectrum of communications resources is essential. Being proactive versus reactive such as having the EHR topic as a standing agenda item at a section and other scheduled MD meetings can be very useful.
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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!

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Why Are Some EHR Systems Confusing and Inefficient?

Why Are Some EHR Systems Confusing and Inefficient? | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

In theory, EHR systems can alleviate informational errors, increase efficiency and allow doctors to spend more time with patients. The reality, however, is that many EHR solutions can talk the talk, but they can hardly walk the walk.

 

Why is this?

Some EHR companies in the marketplace have produced software without doing their due diligence to completely understand what a doctor’s real day looks and feels like -- they’ve produced generic platforms that don’t address doctors’ real concerns.


Any EHR System Must:

  • Be Scalable
  • Integrate Seamlessly with Other Software
  • Have a Simple User Experience
  • Priced Fairly for the Practice

The third bullet, ‘Have a Simple User Experience,’ is the benefit we’re going to be discussing today because it’s often taken for granted. 

A Simple User Experience

Inputting data into a computer is easy, but the problem arises when EHR solutions can’t correctly identify a doctor’s workflow. Doctors have hundreds of patients, and since no two are alike, thousands of records of unique data are created. This data demands distinct form fields to capture a patient’s specific information. EHR systems must be prepared to capture, organize and file this data away so that a doctor can easily recall it when needed. And when it is recalled, this information must be easily understood by the doctor who may have forgotten exactly how he inputted it.

The solution is intuitive form fields and workflows.

EHR systems should allow for any doctor or office manager to easily understand where to input the right data into the right field. This may sound simple, but most EHR systems just do not comprehend the gravity of proper user experience.

When form fields are misunderstood and unobvious, data finds itself into the wrong reports. In the healthcare industry, this is alarming. Not only does this open up practices and doctors to lawsuits, but before you know it, the EHR system that was supposed to save your practice time and money is now doing the exact opposite.

The Power of Practice EHR
Next-generation, cloud-based software can and will improve a doctor’s day, but not every EHR system is created equal. The Practice EHR team was frustrated by the poor quality of the very EHR systems that were supposed to be improving doctors’ day-to-day lives. So we went and built a better one.

Practice EHR is a solution built by doctors for doctors. It’s specialty-specific, meaning it comes out of the box purpose-built for your specialty practice. It’s also the perfect system for smaller practices of about 1-3 doctors and it was made to alleviate time and hassle in doctors’ busy schedules.

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3 Reasons Physician Practices Need a Cloud-Based EHR

3 Reasons Physician Practices Need a Cloud-Based EHR | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Cloud-based EHRs are becoming a key requirement for medical practices looking for a new electronic health record (EHR) system. According to a Black Book survey, nearly 85 percent of physicians shopping for a new EHR required mobile access from their new system.

Why have cloud-based EHRs become increasingly popular? Many small to medium size medical practices who’ve transitioned to this type of software are realizing the benefits. Let’s look at three reasons web-based EHR systems are a great solution for physician practices.

Benefits of a Cloud-Based EHR

  1. Cloud-based EHRs offer cost-savings and scalability. 

Unlike costly server-based systems, cloud-based EHRs are centrally hosted and do not require any hardware installation, maintenance or software licensing, making them much more affordable and easily scalable for practice growth.

Cloud-based EHRs are offered as software as a service (SaaS), meaning practices simply pay a monthly fee to use the software. Practices also don’t have the headache of worrying about updating the system, as updates are made automatically. Additionally, when a practice expands, new users, physicians or locations can easily be added.

  1. Cloud-based EHRs result in better accessibility and patient care.

Cloud-based EHRs are a win-win scenario for physicians and patients. With cloud-based systems, physicians always have important information at their fingertips, allowing them to provide better, more efficient care to their patient. Imagine a scenario where a physician is out of office but needs to follow up on an emergent case. With a web-based system, the physician could still log in to the EHR remotely and access the patient record as well as integrated clinical decision support. Having access to that pertinent information, at the right time makes it possible for the physician to provide better patient care.

Cloud-based systems also provide an opportunity for better patient interaction and engagement. Most cloud-based EHRs are accessible via an iPad, laptop or mobile device, meaning physicians are no longer tied down to a computer screen. Cloud-based systems allow for better mobility and patient interaction. For example, a physician can easily go from exam room to exam room with a handheld iPad and even engage the patient by showing them certain diagrams, charts or health information.

  1. Cloud-based EHRs improve communication.

Cloud-based EHRs provide greater flexibility than ever before. With cloud-based systems, small practices have secure access to their EHR whenever they want, from whatever device they want, as long as there’s internet access. The ability to access the system remotely, whenever necessary, allows for better communication and collaboration between physicians, staff, and patients. While patients won't have access to the EHR they do have 24/7 access to an online patient portal where they can send a secure message to the practice. Depending on the scenario, the practice can then log in to the EHR to follow up with the patient immediately or respond accordingly. The practice also has access to important patient information for scenarios that occur outside of office hours that will help them make more informed decisions for follow up procedures.

Cloud-based EHRs provide a lot of advantages for physician practices. Many who’ve already made the transition to a cloud-based EHR are experiencing the benefits.

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Practice EHR Success Story: Cooperative City Chiropractic

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

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.

 

Situation

 

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.

 

Results

  • 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.

 

 

 

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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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3 EHR Features to Improve the Patient Check-In Process

3 EHR Features to Improve the Patient Check-In Process | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

While the patient experience begins long before a patient steps into the examination room, it’s important to make a good impression the moment a patient steps through the doors of your medical practice. Starting off on the right foot during the check-in process can positively impact the patient experience and determine the pace of the patient visit.

There are many moving parts to an office visit that all demand attention. With the help of technology, patient check-in can be less of a burden for patients and staff. Here are a few EHR features your practice can use to improve patient check-in.

Patient Kiosk

One of the most popular features being used to improve patient check-in is kiosk. This technology is similar to what is used today at airports and fast-food chain restaurants. In a medical practice equipped with the Practice EHR kiosk, patients can check in on an iPad or tablet using interactive forms that guide them through the check-in process, collecting medical history info, patient information updates, signatures for consent forms and payment. Once the patient completes check-in, the information collected is automatically integrated into the EHR. Medical practices who implement a kiosk can reduce the resources required for check in at the front desk and improve efficiency.

Patient Portal

Medical practices looking for an alternative to the kiosk model can implement a patient portal. With a patient portal, patients provide information and complete forms online, prior to the visit, eliminating the need for paperwork when they arrive. Portals typically provide additional time-saving features, such as online scheduling, secure messaging and easy sharing of test results and medical information. Medical practices who’ve implemented portals are using them effectively to reduce costs and the amount of time it takes for a patient to check-in.

ID Scanner

An ID scanner will quickly become a favorite for your front desk staff. With this technology your practice can capture the front and back of patient cards and documents digitally in seconds, eliminating paper copies from the workflow. Medical practices who use ID scanners can significantly speed up the patient registration process. There are several ID scanners in the marketplace. However, Practice EHR is integrated with Ambir Technology, ensuring captured information gets populated automatically in the EHR.

As the healthcare industry shifts to a value-based and consumer-driven model, it’s important that medical practices review current processes and work to improve the patient experience 

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Practice EHR Success Story CareMed

Practice EHR Success Story CareMed | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Situation

CareMed is a multi-location practice offering a unique blend of primary care and urgent care to the Suffolk County of New York. After an increasing patient demand for access to convenient healthcare, CareMed expanded into a second location and realized the EHR system they had in place could no longer support the needs of their growing practice. To achieve long-term success, CareMed knew they needed to consider a more modern and comprehensive EHR solution with features designed to support a busy practice with multiple locations. 

Results

  • Decreased costs. Priced at only $149 per month, per provider, Practice EHR is one of the most affordable and cost-effective systems on the market. By switching to Practice EHR, CareMed decreased costs by 40 percent. For a growing practice like CareMed, this significant amount of savings was hugely beneficial to their practice.

 

  • Improved efficiency. CareMed quickly realized the benefits of Practice EHR’s simple workflow. With such an easy-to-use system, CareMed could easily onboard new staff members and train them on the EHR system in minutes. The simple workflow also helped CareMed save valuable time on daily tasks.

 

  • Improved operations. The Practice EHR reporting tool also became a fundamental feature, providing CareMed with a detailed view of their practice. The Practice EHR reporting tool gave CareMed essential clinical and financial insights about their practice that was instrumental in their growth and success.

 

  • Improved patient engagement. With the help of Practice EHR’s integrated patient portal, CareMed also experienced improved patient engagement. An increasing amount of patients were using the portal to make payments, schedule appointments and communicate with the practice. The patient portal became a favorite feature, resulting in benefits for both the patient and the practice.

 

 

About Practice EHR

Practice EHR is a fully-integrated, cost-effective and easy-to-use electronic health record (EHR) and practice management (PM) solution exclusively designed to support small practices and drive a healthy practice. With no startup costs and free data migration, training, and support, Practice EHR is perfect for startup practices and growing medical practices.

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