EHR MU Stage 2 Compliance Race

Posted on: October 29th, 2012 by admin 2 Comments

Stage 2 meaningful use requirements for electronic health records system compliance can be set to be akin to a race to me. 2014 is the year that it begins and EHR vendors need to update their systems to meet these new requirements. The key aspect of these new rules is that they will require more patient engagement within the EHR through patient health record portals. I really like that patient portals will basically be a given when providers go shopping for EHR systems. The new standards require hospitals and individual “eligible providers” to offer 50 percent of their patient’s access to their own health records through a portal, up from 10 percent in Stage 1 according to Neil Versel of Healthcare IT News. Also, 5 percent of patients actually have to use the portal. This is great because web-based electronic health record systems like Panacea have a patient portal as part of its standard offering. Do you think the Stage 2 rules for meaningful use of EHR will help further patient engagement or is only a surface level thing?

Meaningful Use of EHR’s Should be More Meaningful

Posted on: October 25th, 2012 by admin No Comments

I read the other day about how Dr. Mostashari believes that the Meaningful Use of EHR’s should not just be limited to technology use but to use the data that comes out of the technology to make meaningful decisions. I definitely concur with the ONC Coordinator. I think that if you do have a system such as a web-based electronic health records system, it is easier to interact with the web and share data cross platform. Also, not only should the data be generated in one location, but should also be shared across an organization in a way that doesn’t require multiple doctors entering in multiple variables on blood pressure at multiple locations. I am glad that EHR’s such as Panacea, a web-based electronic health records system, allows for the storage of population health, syndromic information, as well as reporting on meaningful use metrics. In this way, EHRs will be utilized in a more meaningful way.

EHR’s and Improved Healthcare

Posted on: October 22nd, 2012 by admin No Comments

According to the The Journal for General Internal Medicine, cited in an article by Ken Terry of Health IT News, EHR (electronic health record) use by community doctors is actually related to an increased quality of healthcare delivery! This article actually blew me away because a study is actually correlating a link between use of technology like EHR and improved healthcare delivery. The main distinguishing factor was on using the EHR to order tests for their patients. As with most web-based EHR’s like Panacea™, a provider can set alerts based on a specific range of criteria. Whenever they see a patient with a specific condition, the EHR will flag the provider and instruct him/or her to order the test. Well, we now have a specific study (which Im sure is only another out of many that have been done before) that supports use and adoption of electronic health record technology. When used meaningfully, providers are even incentivized financially to use EHR’s through the EHR incentive program established by the government. So the question remains: why not use EHR’s if they are linked to improved healthcare delivery? Any thoughts?

The Case for Web-Based EHR

Posted on: October 19th, 2012 by admin 2 Comments

It dawned on me today how many expenses a small physician practice has to incur in the daily course of the month. Imagine if the same small practice doc is also forced to buy over ten thousand dollars worth of hardware and software for his EHR investment? I would not recommend such a burden.  What I would make the case for is investing in a web-based electronic health record product. With a web-based EHR, the following advantages just cannot be beaten:

  • Shorter implementation time
  • No need to purchase expensive hardware and or supporting software
  • Easier to Use
  • More affordable

EHRs such as Panacea™ from OA Systems, Inc. is one such web-based EHR that can ease the burden of the high costs of EHR acquisition. Also, one can net more meaningful use dollars from the government’s EHR Incentive Program under ARRA. Health IT like an EHR is much more fun and exciting to use when you’re not burdened by a bulky, client-server based system and instead, use a SaaS based system. Would you agree?

4 Ways MU Stage 2 will Impact EHR Vendors

Posted on: October 18th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Stage 2 of Meaningful Use rules for EHRs are finally here! I am excited for the implementation of these rules into EHRs because they align more with the most pressing issue facing the industry today: interoperability. According to Benjamin Harris of Healthcare IT News, the following are some key areas of impact that these new rules will have on us vendors:

  • Transport
  • Gap Testing
  • Base EHR and additional modules
  • Transparency

Basically, with a focus on “transport”, electronic health records (EHR), the transmission of information through documents and internal system generated messages will be addressed through establishment of security standards and cross enterprise document media interchange. An EMR will be transported as a requirement. With gap testing, an EHR will still be able to maintain previous years certification (i.e. 2011), if nothing has changed in the product, but still has the opportunity to get certified against the new criteria for subsequent years. Third, vendors can streamline their EHR products so that a provider can achieve meaningful use without having to use or forced to use all the components offered in the system that may or may not be useful to a particular provider. Lastly, EHR systems can become more transparent  by making all testing criteria that an EHR is certified against made public as well as  the costs associated with the newly certified EHR. The EHR vendor may face some pushback from customers now that they will know the estimated pricetag of an EHR system but nonetheless, transparency makes both parties lives easier. We at OA Systems will now have to make sure Panacea, our web-based EHR, is not only compliant, but cost effective, when the new Stage 2 criteria is incorporated.

Mostashari: Technology tied to Goals is key for EHR adoption

Posted on: October 17th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Today, ONC National Coordinator Dr. Farzad Mostashari explained how EHR technology is not the only driver of an improved healthcare system but is only an enabler. What is needed is more patient engagement with providers, and that ,“There’s a lot of work still to be done, but the curve is sloping upward; we’re on the steep part of the curve right now,” he explained. I definitely agree with Dr. Mostashari and feel that electronic health records, meaningful use of those EHRs, and patient engagement with their own portals will only take us so far. What is needed is a true partnership between the patient and the provider within the context of “preventative medicine”. If patients interface with EHR technology and let the portals provided within their providers EHRs work for them through their use as a medium of communication, than healthcare will drastically improve. EMR’s or electronic medical records are only used within a physician practice and so by utilizing a longitudinal EHR, patients and providers can partner to leverage EHR systems and EHR vendors will win as well. I also think that utilizing EHR technology that is easy to use such as web-based EHR’s is important because it makes adoption smoother. Would you agree?

Congressmen: End EHR Incentive Program. But Why?

Posted on: October 16th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Recently, four notable Congressmen have been arguing for the reduction or outright elimination of the HITECH EHR incentive program citing the current lack of interoperability standards. This has definitely raised some eyebrows across the Health IT industry and within governmental circles as to the future of the electronic health record incentive program. What is important to ask though is the following question: Are we, as a nation, taking our eye off the ball as to the purpose of EHRs? It can be argued that we are when Congressmen start questioning the entire existence of the incentive program instead of offering solutions to help accelerate the creation and adoption of interoperability standards for EHRs. Therefore, it is important that EHR vendors adapt to the growing pressure and work to get interoperability standards for EHR’s established so that meaningful use is not just a joke, but a serious goal for empowering patients with their medical information. If physicians ignore the negative talk coming from Congress and instead focus on understanding the purpose of EHR, than the whole healthcare system will muster up enough courage to push through standards for electronic health record systems to talk to one another.

Last day to begin 90-Day Reporting Period for 2012 was October 03, 2012

Posted on: October 10th, 2012 by admin No Comments
The last day for eligible professionals to begin their 90-day reporting period for calendar year 2012 was last Wednesday. If you have missed the target date, 2013 is only a few months away. This gives you enough time to start Meaningful Use Stage 1 at the beginning of 2013 instead of waiting to start towards the end of the 2013 year. By getting started at the beginning of the year, you allow more time for implementation and training. As a result, a much better transition from paper chart to the electronic health record. If you want an even smoother transition from paper records to electronic health records, adopting a web-based EHR can make your practices workflow much more efficient and less costly.

Hardship Exemptions for Medicare E-Prescribing Penalty

Posted on: June 18th, 2012 by admin No Comments

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented the Electronic Prescribing (eprescribing) Incentive Program in 2009. This goal of this program is to encourage more providers to start eprescribing. It uses incentive payments (bonuses) and payment adjustments (penalties) to encourage the use of eprescribing.

There is a penalty for providers who do not eprescribe in 2012, as well as 2013 and 2014. This penalty will increase every year, such that the penalty will be 1.0% in 2012, 1.5% in 2013, and 2.0% in 2014.

Exclusion Criteria

According to CMS, the 2013 eprescribing penalty only applies to certain individual eligible professionals. CMS will automatically exclude those individual eligible professionals who meet the following criteria:

  • The eligible professional is a successful electronic prescriber during the 2011 eprescribing 12- month reporting period (January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011).
  • The eligible professional is not an MD, DO, podiatrist, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant by June 30, 2012, based on primary taxonomy code in the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES).
  • The eligible professional does not have at least 100 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) cases containing an encounter code in the measure’s denominator for dates of service from January 1, 2012 through June 30, 2012.
  • The eligible professional does not have 10% or more of their MPFS allowable charges (per TIN) for encounter codes in the measure’s denominator for dates of service from January 1, 2012 through June 30, 2012.
  • The eligible professional does not have prescribing privileges and reported G8644 on a billable Medicare Part B service at least once on a claim between January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2012.

Avoiding the 2013 eRx Payment Adjustment

Individual eligible professionals who were not successful electronic prescribers in 2011 can avoid the 2013 eprescribing penalty by meeting the specified reporting requirements between January 1 and June 30, 2012.

6-month Reporting Requirements to Avoid the 2013 eprescribing penalty:

  • Individual Eligible Professionals – 10 eRx events via claims

For more information on reporting requirements, please see the MLN Article SE1206 – 2012 Electronic Prescribing (eRx) Incentive Program: Future Payment Adjustments.

CMS may exempt individual eligible professionals from the 2013 eprescribing penalty if it is determined that compliance with the requirements for becoming a successful electronic prescriber would result in a significant hardship.

Significant Hardships

The significant hardship categories are as follows:

  • The eligible professional is unable to electronically prescribe due to local, state, or federal law, or regulation
  • The eligible professional has or will prescribe fewer than 100 prescriptions during a 6-month reporting period (January 1 through June 30, 2012)
  • The eligible professional practices in a rural area without sufficient high-speed Internet access (G8642)
  • The eligible professional practices in an area without sufficient available pharmacies for electronic prescribing (G8643)

Submitting a Significant Hardship Code or Request

To request a significant hardship, individual eligible professionals must submit their significant hardship exemption requests through the Quality Reporting Communication Support Page on or between March 1 and June 30, 2012. Please remember that CMS will review these requests on a case-by-case basis. All decisions on significant hardship exemption requests will be final.

Significant hardships associated with a G-code may be submitted via the above link or on at least one claim during the 2013 eprescribing reporting period (January 1 through June 30, 2012). If submitting a significant hardship G-code via claims, it is not necessary to request the same hardship through the link above.

For more information please see the below links:

For additional information and resources, please visit the website for the E-Prescribing Incentive Program.

(Most of the information in this post is taken directly from CMS)

Electronic Prescribing Reduces Adverse Drug Events

Posted on: May 24th, 2012 by admin No Comments

A study led by Weill Cornell Medical College found thirty-seven errors for every one-hundred paper prescriptions. On the other hand, only seven errors were found for every one-hundred electronic prescriptions. In addition, legibility issues were not included as one of the errors. Some adverse drug events are not that serious, however, some can be very serious. This study clearly shows the tremendous benefits that electronic prescribing delivers.

The nice thing is that electronic prescribing is steadily on the rise. Last year has seen the biggest increase in electronic prescribing across the board. The number of electronic prescriptions written has gone up and so has the number of prescribers who are E-prescribing.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/business/e-prescriptions-reduce-errors-but-their-adoption-is-slow.html?_r=3