Are Electronic Health Records Saving Time for your Practice and Patients?

Although deadlines for adopting Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems are fast approaching, a cloud of uncertainty over these cloud-based systems still looms large. Here’s how EHR systems would save would save time for both your patients and you:


With just a laptop and an internet connection, you can view your entire clinical data in addition to connecting with patients, hospitals, other providers, labs, payers and etc.

To guide you through the automation-process, consider a patient Alex, for example. Alex sets up an appointment and comes to your practice complaining of a stomach ache. After the nurse completes the objective portion of the visit, which includes his taking his vitals and other basic information, you assess this objective and subjective data and give your diagnosis before recommending what needs to be done next.

EHR systems allow you to document this entire process online, and readily forward relevant information to labs, pharmacies, etc. Moreover, With all your patient records safely stored on the password protected cloud EHR, a few clicks and you’ll know Alex’s entire patient history; what he’s is allergic to, the results of his last test and the ones before that, his previous pharmacy visits, and virtually every specification you require. The result, improved accuracy and enhanced patient care, readily available and accessible information which saves valuable time and money for both Alex and his physician and an exponential drop in duplicate tests and faulty prescription-based allergic reactions and accidents.

Furthermore, patient portals on EHR systems allow for increased interaction and patient engagement, by which you can respond to Alex’s medical queries online, and allow him to view lab results, prescriptions and other information via the portal, depending on the access you allow.

Read more on Patient Portals.

Accelerated revenue cycle, productivity and compliance are some other benefits of EHR systems.

Meaningful Use Deadline Almost Upon Us

Why is the fast approaching October 1, 2014 Meaningful Use (MU) deadline the talk of the healthcare industry? What happens if you do not start reporting by July 1? This article provides a simple breakdown of the situation.


MU defines the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) within an organization. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) gives financial incentives via Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs to providers who demonstrate the “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology. The incentive programs have three stages which beginning by meeting the Stage 1 requirements and subsequently progressing to the next stages.

Stage 1 has to do with data capturing (vitals, demographics, etc), while stage 2 is for advanced decision making (advanced clinical support) and stage 3, which will begin 2017 onwards, will focus on quality measures.

This is the last year to receive Medicare incentives for MU Stage 1 for which reporting begun as early as 2011.  If a provider does not start reporting by July 1, 2014, he will not be able fulfill the 90-day reporting requirement, and hence attest by the October 1, 2014 deadline. Consequently, he will not be eligible for the Medicare incentives.

Additionally, the Medicare penalty for providers who fail to start MU even in the last quarter of 2014 will be subjected to a 1% penalty (in 2015). The penalty will rise by one percent in subsequent years until 2017 after which the penalties are set to vary depending on the percentage of eligible professionals who are meaningful users.

See more on Meaningful Use.

Furthermore, while Medicare is taxable, Medicaid is not. The last year for receiving Medicaid Incentive Program benefits is 2016, however, there is no penalty for this program.

By adopting Meaningful Use and complying with the CMS requirements, practices will be able to enhance quality, safety, efficiency, care coordination, population and public health, reduce health disparities, and engage patients and families for their benefit, all while adhering to privacy and security norms.