Certified EMR – An Absolute Necessity

When discussing the health IT sector today, certified EMR is the hottest and most talked about topic of conversation. Before delving into why it’s so significant in the industry, we need to understand what a certified EMR is first. To put it down bluntly, any EMR which meets the requirements set by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT), a body established by the Office of National Coordinator for health IT (ONC) for testing and evaluation purposes, is considered a certified EMR and allows physicians to receive incentives by complying with meaningful use. In lay man’s terms, a certified EMR is any EMR which fulfills the minimum requirements set by the governing bodies to qualify for incentives set by the government.

Talking of EMRs and certified EMR, there is a lot opposition evident towards the adoption process for several reasons; one of the major ones being that physicians have become too comfortable with traditional methods of practicing medicine. Human nature is as such that by and large we’re resistant to change. The startup and training costs on any EMR are other important aspects which have their weight in this regard. Having said that, in order to avoid the inevitable penalties without conforming to set guidelines and in order to achieve meaningful use incentives, application of a certified EMR is unavoidable.

Clinicians’ only just began to fulfill Stage 1 of Meaningful Use requirements and it was  already time to get ready for Stage 2 Meaningful Use, where a fundamental anticipated requisite is to enhance the volume, as well the quality of electronic information shared between clinicians and their patients. When one analyzes the industry it’s easy to observe that patient portals aren’t a fresh concept. They have been here for over a decade now. It’s just that usage of patient portals remained latent until the concept of meaningful use came in the picture and revitalized it.

Physicians can meet two suggested central measures of Stage 2 via proper application of the patient portal. First of all through the patient portal, clinicians can fulfill the requirement of provision of a clinical summary as per total patient visits, to a minimum of half of their patients within three working days. Secondly, doctors can submit medication lists, personal medical history, lab results and so forth electronically to patients upon their request.

Basically, physicians can communicate with their patients round the clock and vice versa through the patient portal electronically; a method for a clinician to provide information on a secure channel to their patients quickly and easily. A number of supplementary benefits can also be achieved through patient portal such as prescription renewals, clinical summaries, secure SMS messaging, test results etc. In cases where doctors have been initially reluctant to go for a certified EMR, post training and application of the software feedback has generally been positive. The end result being the provider’s office being more productive and furthermore, greater satisfaction in clinicians and patients alike.


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