5 EHR Infographics that every provider must read


EHRs are an important element of the healthcare market. It is vital to realize the importance of EHRs and the direction the entire industry is headed in. With the help of info-graphics it is easier to show marketing trends, the following article will show you some of the best info-graphics relating to healthcare, ranging from subjects like; when to get a new EHR? What share do different vendors in the market hold? Does technology really improve the way a practice is run? Find out with below amongst many other important subjects.

1) Electronic Health Records Infographic

How do electronic health records (EHRs) connect you and your doctor? In the past, medical data was only stored on paper, making it difficult for your health care providers to share your information. Read more

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2) The 20 Most Popular EHR Software Solutions

As the deadline for implementation in the U.S. draws near, talk of electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR) software is a hot topic at the doctor’s office lately. These systems assist medical practitioners in the creation, storage, and organization of electronic medical records, including patient charts, electronic prescriptions, lab orders, and evaluations (just to name a few common features).  Read more

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3) Why are EHR users replacing EHR SOFTWARE?

 This infographic created for Honeywell depicts the top reasons why hospitals and medical practices are replacing their EHR software. See more

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4) 11 indicators that you need a new EHR

Often so deeply immersed in looking for ways to make their practice more efficient, physicians sometimes fail to see the most obvious hurdle preventing this very process from occurring; their EHR. If your Electronic Health Record (EHR) solution is not up to the mark, you might be losing out on precious profits, and incurring costs that you can easily overcome. Read more

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5) The Convergence of Big Data and EHR Infographic

“In the next 10 years, data science and software will do more for medicine than all of the biological sciences together,” said venture capitalist Vinod Khosla. Data science holds great promise for patient health, but patient data is only actionable in so far as it is digital. Read more

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Why EHR customer satisfaction is the highest among big groups?


The health IT market is flooded with government certified EHRs to meet the Meaningful Use program. The task is to find out the right medical vendor that fulfills practice requirements. This is particularly difficult for small to medium practices, as it appears vendors pay more attention to providing flawless services to large practices. According to Black Book Rankings 2014 Survey, practices having 25 or more physicians are more satisfied with vendor customer support than practices catering to small/medium groups.(2-5, 6-25). Among the respondents, 90.2% of physicians from large practices reported satisfaction with their vendors as compared to 72.5% of physicians from small or medium sized practices.

One of the major reasons is the vendor resources that do not allow them to give proper attention to small practices. Health IT is a competitive market where large practices and hospitals are major buyers of technology. They drive the health IT market by creating technology demand for huge infrastructures. With sufficient financial backup to implement an EHR system, they partner with vendors for a long period. Similarly, vendors prefer to utilize their limited resources on big projects that promise maximum revenue. By doing so, they usually miss the opportunity to create loyal customers among small practices and provide most of their customer support to physicians in large practices, as highlighted by the Black Book Rankings 2014

Another reason for dissatisfaction among small practices is related to their efforts in vendor search and implementation of EHR. It’s fair to suggest that part of the blame is on the physicians with small practices. Instead of conducting a thorough research of the market, they rush into buying the first EHR they come across [EHR buyer tips]. On the contrary, large practices take their time in understanding the market, the products they offer, strengths and reputation of vendors and demands of their practice before selecting the right vendor. For them, it’s a business partnership that can only work when the vendor fulfills its side of bargain with impeccable technology and customer support.

However, one cannot blame small practices entirely for lack of customer support on the vendor’s part. Ideally, it’s the vendor’s responsibility to provide customer support during the implementation and post implementation phase of EHR. Before signing a contract with a new practice, vendors should make analysis of their available resources and capabilities, so that the customer does not have to suffer in the long run.

Three things to minimize challenges of Meaningful Use


Most physicians are using Electronic Health Records (EHRs) in the country to help them meet regulatory requirements, achieve Meaningful Use and improve quality of care delivered. However, the second objective, Meaningful Use, has been a tricky concept and with the introduction of Stage 2, it is becoming even more complex for providers.mu

One such product which is ready for Meaningful Use is “All-in-One” Cloud by CureMD.

While achievement of Meaningful Use may be a challenge, it can be an opportunity to improve business and enrich patient relationships. We are enlisting three things that you can do to minimize the challenges Meaningful Use presents.

1.       Evaluate your situation: First and foremost, each practice has its own varied challenges and the readiness to achieve Meaningful Use is different from one another. Each practice needs to know the requirements for Stages 1, 2 and 3 and how does achievement of those objectives align with the practice goals.

2.       Develop a plan: After analyzing practice objectives with regards to achievement of Meaningful Use, there needs to be a concrete plan as to how they will be achieved. Practices need to know their workflow from patient recruitment to examination and retention. They also need to be aware why achievement of patient engagement is important to them. When you make a comprehensive plan, it will be easier to implement throughout your practice and get you ready to achieve Meaningful Use.

3.       Use a certified EHR system: One of the most important things to achieving Meaningful Use is to use a certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) system. In case you are not using one, you need to make a very careful EHR adoption decision. Some of the vendors out there will not help you achieve MU while others may not have support for future stages of the system.

While achievement of Meaningful Use is a challenge, it is largely an opportunity to reinvigorate practice business opportunities. 

 

What are the Critical EHR Technology Infrastructure Issues?


Implementing Electronic Health Records is tricky procedure. Let’s look at some key Infrastructure issues that you have to face.

Space and recovery—Every practice needs to save cost and at the same time have a backup plan for system recovery. The demand is simple, when system crash they should be able to fall back to their primary data stored on their backup server and can be used when the system fails. Practices can buy redundant database servers of EHR. The cost of hardware is going down with the passage of time, and better storage systems are available at a much cheaper price than it would’ve been ten years back. Large storage devices with redundancy options are about $8,000 to $10,000 which may have a cost 10 times more a couple of years back. Weighing your cost of purchasing redundancies to the cost of losing your data on EHR, should be the focus of the practice. Having a web-based EHR technology can significantly reduce your costs.

Accommodating Growth—The issue of not making a sustainable system can be a major issue for the EHR technology in use. For that, the practice should use large storage devices. Scanning medical images, medical data can exceed the old storage devices quickly. The infrastructure needed to accommodate the growth for the EHR technology allows more users to be added to the database of the EHR. In other words it means more business opportunity.

Connecting—Since, every provider and staff requires access to the EHR, a lot of EHR installations go through problematic installations because the communication facilities are based on incorrect numbers of the users. This causes delay in the normal functioning of the EHR.

Major EHR technology infrastructure issues needs to be solved at the nascent stages of their development so that they may not be the cause of hindrance when it comes to performance of the practice.

 

EHRs under Fire: Fraud or Increased Accuracy?


Recently, there have been many calls from around the industry that medical coders are using Electronic Health Records (EHRs) software to overstate their collections and as a result, boost their payments. However, the government has taken notice of this and is taking steps to ensure that this does not go on any further. The government is investigating the potential of EHRs to aid in fraud and abuse due to an increased rate of payments to those who have adopted EHR software.

But looking at the other side of the picture presents a different story. The healthcare professionals are of the opinion that EHRs allow them to actually better document their claims and more accurately, thereby increasing the rate of payments.

So who is at fault? Are EHR systems really prone to these loopholes or there is no such grey area? Do EHR systems really increase accuracy of claims filed and improve payments? Someone who is going to adopt the EHR technology might be concerned with both aspects. The fact of the matter is, EHR systems do in fact help physicians document their services more accurately. However, up-coding for the sake of receiving higher payments might be a problem area, but nothing that cannot be controlled.

You must adhere to coding guidelines. In order to minimize your risk of exposure to RAC audits, make sure multiple patient notes do not contain identical text. This will help in having specific information about every patient and will reduce chances of any fraud.

You must educate yourself on the latest HHS coding guidelines in order to have a better understanding of how it is done.

Another important method to avoid any frauds is to conduct regular internal audits by an independent coder to know if there are any grey areas.

 

The Future of Health I.T


The Health IT industry has been booming over the last few years, especially since the introduction and widespread implementation of Electronic Medical Records (EMR).  In the United States, health IT got a major boost in 2009 when the government introduced the Meaningful Use program through the HITECH Act (Health Information Technology for Economic & Clinical Health).

Enacted under the American Recovery & Re-investments Act of 2009 (ARRA), the HITECH Act is seen as an instrumental legislative achievement by the U.S government and health policy-makers. It is the foundation through which the implementation and execution of Electronic Medical Records EMR all across the nation is deemed possible. It stands as a road through which providers and their patients can communicate regardless of location. There are some who remain skeptical about the government’s backing of health IT, however most view the role of health IT and EMR as the primary step towards in making care more affordable, accessible and ultimately saving lives.

The Meaningful Use program is an initiative through which providers can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentives. By utilizing approved and certified Systems, eligible providers can earn up to $44,000 for Medicare and $63,750 for Medicaid over a period of five years starting from 2011.

As with any new method, recording medical information electronically may seem challenging for users. It is not easy for physicians to change their existing workflows that they have developed over many years, so the process of implementation and training is the most important step in converting to Electronic Medical Records.

With proper training physicians can avoid any loss of productivity, which is one of their major concerns during the process of conversion. It is also important for them to select customizable systems, that can conform to the existing clinical and administrative workflows. Link to health information exchange networks is another important capability of the system that providers should look for when selecting an EMR.

There is a general consensus within the healthcare community that the communication between all parties involved in the care delivery process is essential to extract the maximum from Electronic Medical Records. MRI scans, lab results, clinical summaries and other information can easily be shared between hospitals, doctors, payers, labs and patients within seconds. This ultimately saves the patient’s time and streamlines the care delivery process with an audit trail being maintained at each juncture.

Patients are not the only beneficiary of the EMR systems (Read more), as providers can also save time by managing their entire practice from anywhere and remain connected with their patients at all times. With the advent of integrated solutions, providers can use the same EMR system to monitor their clinical, administrative and financial performance. The inclusion of innovative tools like the patient portal ensures communication between patients and doctors, while clinical decision support systems help doctors focus more on their patients as the system checks of errors, drug interactions and in some cases even suggest the appropriate codes for billing purposes.

It is clear that not everyone in the care community is realizing the true potential of EMR systems, but recent trends indicate a significant improvement in the overall process of care delivery. The influx of providers adopting this technology suggests that it is only a matter of time before we can see a significant improvement in population health and handling pressing issues like chronic disease management across the nation.

 

One Nation, One EHR –The Direct Project


The essence of Health Information Exchange (HIE) lies in easily accessible health information to improve the quality of care delivered by the healthcare community. Complicated formats intrinsic to many EHR systems are generally counterproductive to this basic nature of HIEs and can prove to be a hindrance against delivering quality care. So the natural question arises, what can be done to remove such blockades in the inherent design of these EHRs to facilitate their intended requisites? A popular solution proposed to answer this query is to develop a holistic system of sharing health information between healthcare providers and other concerned entities on a national level within the healthcare continuum.

With the expected level of complications in developing such a system, a lot of critics would say that the notion of a national EHR system is far-fetched and would dismiss the idea altogether. Their objection would be justified if we considered the amount of time invested into the development and implementation of health information interoperability throughout the nation and still not attaining the desired results. Not even a single developed country so far has managed to go a hundred percent electronic with their clinical documentation. That being said, we have examples of numerous countries that have successfully devised and kicked off a national EHR system including France, Singapore, Sweden and Germany. These systems have been successfully deployed for quite some time now and are functioning with improved efficiency while acquiring a larger database of patients by the day.

 

When one ponders over the matter, the ideal solution would be to implement such a system in the United States as well. It wouldn’t matter which hospital you visited or if you switched providers, your private health record would be accessible in a secure format no matter where the point of care is located. Reflect on the example where your physician refers you to another specialist. Imagine if the specialist already had your health information upon your arrival instead of you having to remember your previous tests, medications and diagnoses. Wouldn’t that be much more convenient and helpful as compared to the alternative?

The fact of the matter is that the government is not oblivious to the huge potential which lies in developing such an interface on a national scale. Significant efforts have been made towards achieving such a system. The government’s endeavors came to fruition in March of 2010 when the Direct Project was launched and furthered the struggle to form a robust nationwide health information network. The Direct Project was developed in order to create a secure, simple and scale able platform which is standardized to send/receive authenticated health information to trusted entities over the internet. More than fifty different organizations and 200 participants are currently employing the Direct Project to their benefit. These participants consist of PHR and EHR vendors, system integrators, medical organizations, federal organizations, health IT consultants and many more. We will try to illustrate some implemented instances pertaining to the Direct Project with some examples in this extract.

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Florida

The Newborn Hearing Screening Program (NBS) in Florida mandates the state’s hospitals to monitor all newborn babies to check for any potential hearing impairment which the infants might be experiencing. This process is carried out in order to make instant interventions in case a problem is detected so that any undesirable effects of hearing loss may be countered. Conventionally, the NBS processing was largely accomplished through fax. This meant that hospitals were required to present screening results to the state and NBS had to provide a compilation of results which were accumulated back to the hospitals through fax. One can imagine the inefficiencies as a consequence of using such an outdated medium. Right now, Florida is employing the Direct Project to make electronic transmissions for NBS and the results have spoken in volumes. The cost incurred for paper during processing has virtually been eliminated along with the hassle of using paper which accompanies it. Furthermore, it has created a sizeable increase in the efficiency of workflows for audiologists and various other professionals conducting the screenings.

California

The St. Joseph Health System and Redwood MedNet in California are collaborating to implement the Direct Project to enhance care delivery for newborns. Maternity wards inside different facilities will make use of the Direct Project to deliver newborns’ health information to their concerned pediatricians. Moreover, this health information will be transmitted to the patients’ HealthVault accounts as well which will enable parents to view their babies’ health data even prior to their discharge from the hospital. Redwood MedNet takes this even a step further; using the leverage of the Direct Project Redwood MedNet is providing hospitals the capacity to share clinical summaries once patients are discharged from the hospital. This gives hospitals the capability to demonstrate proposed Meaningful Use requirements which direct providers to electronically share care summaries during a patient’s transition from one clinical setting to another.

Guam

Guam HIE is tackling several distinct aspects in their implementation of the Direct Project for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA and Guam HIE are at present referring VA patients in Guam for mammography by means of the Direct Project. They are looking towards using the resourcefulness of the Direct Project in making all future referrals for VA patients, providing a simple mechanism to expedite test results and imaging results alike. Guam HIE is also planning to employ the Direct Project to exchange military patient information with the Department of Defense as well.

Approximately 30 states across the country have gone live with the Direct Project with numerous others to follow. Providers may now share confidential patient health information electronically to ensure informed referrals and safer care transitions to other care delivery organizations via the Direct Project services presented by the ONC. Unnecessarily spending money on duplicated results is abolished once this innovation is adopted. The Direct Project will undoubtedly prove to be an innovative tool to enhance patient care and become a time saver for both doctors and patients.