new coding system that the providers should be compliant by October 1, 2014, is
a challenge; needless to say this is a truism. ICD-10 is worrisome for
everyone, let alone the big healthcare organizations. ICD-10 has 68,000 codes,
as opposed to the 13,000 in ICD-9; this requires expertise, time and trainings
at same time. The EHR vendors will be required to meet the standards of criteria
and implement it smoothly.
Many codes of
ICD-10 are built on the existing codes of ICD-9. With ICD-10 translation
support tools, directly built in your EHR many of the ICD-9 codes can be used
to navigate using translation tools. EHR transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is an
arduous challenge for the developers too, because the EHR system is filled with
bugs and removes them from requiring provider’s feedback.
lies in providers who will have to familiarize themselves with new ICD-10 codes
and standards. With the EHR system, they will still need extensive training for
themselves and their staff in order to deliver. If the provider’s biller makes
a mistake in coding, the result will be no revenue in shape of denied claims.
EHR provides tools to allow easy cross over; tools from both ICD-9 and SNOMED are
provided inside the EHR to eliminate the need to memorize the differences
between codes as the system will adjust to itself. The compliance will be
How easy will
the EHR make the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 for you? In fact, let’s
exaggerate a little bit; it will be very easy at least easier than your current
workflow. Not knowing the code for a specific condition you will be able to far
more range of diseases with just a few clicks and with minimal effort through the
use of advanced search built in tools. Searching through the system helps you identify
the code, and ensures they are apposite and billable.
Payment models are the basis by which healthcare industry
works. At the end of the day, providers need to get paid in order to thrive.
But which model is successful? Which model delivers results needed by the
healthcare system as a whole?
Pay-for-performance is a relatively new concept gaining
fame. The idea is to improve care by improving quality and reducing costs.
Fee-for-service is a model aimed at delivering as much services as possible in
order to generate more money.
In a Fee-for-service (FFS) model the charges for each
service provided to the patients are different. In essence, this model helps
physicians make more money as providers are able to provide a host of services
in a package. In this model quality suffers, as it is primarily not the focus
of the physician, but at the same time revenue generation flows. FFS has caused
increase in medical costs over the period of time. Government is not in favor
of this model as physicians are able to misuse the system, and strategically
wants to phase it out. Everyone wants money; likewise, physicians are lured to
make more money through this structure which should be the secondary aim of the
doctor, patient’s quality care should always come first.
Pay-for-performance (P4P): Quality of service pays the
provider, in this model. The criteria in terms of quality increase the efficiency of the provider; and, likewise, incentives
are based on the quality of work done by the physician. This is a method by
which physicians remain vigilant. Accountable Care Organizations follow this
model, and according to a report by Oliver Wyman, a leader in global management
consulting, 14% Americans are now being served by an ACO. ACOs through
coordinated care delivery system not only provide high quality care, but are
able to save huge costs by sharing their resources among different healthcare
facilities falling under ACO. Finally, the share of costs saved, is divided
among healthcare providers.
By all means, P4P model is better than FFS model. Government’s
focus to move away from the old model is the proof. With the use of EHRs P4P
can be made easier and possible. The shift in adoption is slow but with the use
of technology this can be made significantly faster especially with those spicy
incentives that are being introduced for the shift.
EMR consultants are in way much more demand than ever
before. With the announcement of government’s plans of incentive payments to
eligible EMR users, physicians and healthcare providers are using these systems
a lot than before.
Therefore, a consultant’s job is not easy anymore. They need
to keep pace with all the latest happening in the world of healthcare. But how
do you find out if your EMR consultant is up to speed?
Let’s find out.
Your EMR consultant must have a thorough understanding of
all the competitors in the market that are out there. He/she must be able to
tell their strengths and weaknesses and should be able to narrow the choices
down for you keeping in mind your exact requirements.
The Healthcare sector is evolving with every passing day. It
is very important for your EMR consultant to be aware of the regulatory changes
that are taking place. Knowledge of all the laws governing the usage of EMR system is a must.
While Meaningful Use Stage 1 was fairly easy to implement,
Stage 2 is quite difficult to understand properly. According to a research,
only 5% of the physicians and hospital networks meet Stage 2 requirements. You
must confirm that your EMR consultant has all the knowledge when it comes to
Meaningful Use Stage 2 and is able to help you choose a software which will
comply with it.
Costing is also a crucial aspect your EMR consultant needs
to be aware of. He/she should know detailed pricing plans for all the products
available in the market and must be able to select the one that meets your
requirements and budget.
Another important aspect of a good EMR consultant is his/her
ability to make a ROI analysis. Total software costs, setup costs, hardware
costs, support and maintenance and its impact on productivity are some of the
factors must be evaluated in a ROI analysis by your EMR consultant.
Corporations have unified under the umbrella of the current
economy with the objective to do more with less. For companies deploying and
using Electronic Medical Records, the extraction of information from large
storage spaces is crucial.
Electronic Medical Records have the capability of information
storage, access and retrieval and to further its use, it needs to be
In the identification of key performance indicators (KPIs),
defining detrimental metrics and the provision of accessible data to users is
the main and first hurdle. One of the biggest challenges in dashboard
implementation is a clear definition of important KPIs and the best methods to
Not being able to afford clinical errors, physicians are usually
short on time and often can overlook important administrative and financial
objectives, paving the need for Electronic Medical Records.
Through Meaningful Use and other clinical standards, doctors
have a lot to settle with Electronic Medical Records. As a result, major EMR vendors have designed
and embedded “Meaningful Use” KPIs for real-time graphical representation of
compliance with objectives of clinical nature in their mind.
allow users to search, drill down and even update the presented information –
saving time, streamlining workflow, maintaining the accuracy of records and
focusing user’s actions on the positive outcome of key metrics.
Reflecting the most important information,physicians often overlook customizable
dashboards when selecting EMR software. It is crucial for the physician community to
understand their importance.
The last few years have been monumental for the healthcare
in the US. With the introduction of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act
(ARRA), the government laid down the foundation for a new structure in order to
improve healthcare delivery. EMRs has always been on the
forefront, taking most of the fire. The government along with numerous
healthcare professionals believes in the value of healthcare automation.
However, EMRs are merely
facilitators while physicians are still responsible for delivering quality
With an estimate of $6600 in healthcare costs being spent on
an individual per annum, the effectiveness of the ARRA is instrumental in
re-shaping the future of healthcare. “The government cannot afford any hiccups.
We are all too far invested in this for it not to work.” comments a healthcare
IT executive. “$6600? I don’t see it. Where is it going? You step out right now
and look around you tell me if you can spot one individual that had 6600 spent
on their health, one individual.” remarked a construction worker from New
Jersey, during an independent survey.
The Meaningful Use requirements provide an effective roadmap
for delivering quality healthcare. Its objective is to ensure that physicians
learn how to effectively utilize EMRs and improve healthcare delivery. CMS
introduced this exercise to help physicians realize what an EMR
is capable of and how it adds to their care quality.
Likewise, the Affordable Care Act reforms have resulted in
better EMR adoption rates. The
government believes that there is at least $300 billion to be saved through
standardization of health information technology. However, despite the expected
benefits, there is still lot of skepticism surrounding EMRs. Many physicians
believe that EMRs in fact do not add
to practice productivity, but instead slow them down while increasing their
In a recent study by Danny McCormick and David Bor of Cambridge
Health Alliance and Stephanie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein of CUNY School
of Public Health indicated that EMRs may actually increase the frequency of
tests ordered by physicians. More than 28,700 of patient visits and nearly
1,200 doctors were surveyed to determine the outcome. The study shows that
physicians utilizing EHRs were 5% more likely to order imaging, rather than
doctors who did not.
Danny McCormick believed that it was important to point out
the contrast of the actual findings with the commonly constructed belief of
EMRs decreasing health costs. However, he went on to state that it is
attributable to the enhanced interoperability provided by EMRs that doctors can expect to get results faster and can easily
view them on their screens.
Dr. David Blumenthal, who served as the national coordinator
for Health IT at the Department of Health and Human Services from 2009-2011,
pointed out that the study represents order of tests and not costs. He went on
to state that the study does not take into account the overall impact of EHRs
and accumulative healthcare costs. “The study doesn't look at the benefits for
quality of care at all. It's possible that the use of tests by some of the
doctors could have avoided other costs. This study has no way of assessing the
overall implications of the behavior that it's finding.”
Dr. Farzad Mostashari who is the National Coordinator for
Health IT also voiced similar concerns in his reply. He believes that the study
showed little evidence and did not consider the impact of EMRs in improving
healthcare delivery. He also pointed out that due to the nature of the study it
was not designed to answer questions about cost and quality. “Many other
variables that could affect physician behavior could not be examined in this
study, including having a sicker patient population, level of physician
training, approach to defensive medicine, and, importantly, financial
EMR is a technology that compels change and as long as it is resisted, its
potential will remain muted.
In today’s health care industry, Electronic Medical Records (EMR) with Patient Portals have become the need of the hour for many forward thinking medical practices. EHRs
allow health care organizations to improve outcomes by providing
proficient medical service, while patient portals typically provide
communication services between patients and providers – substantially
improving patient satisfaction and the value of services delivered by
Key Benefits of Deploying Patient Portal
The advantages of deploying a patient portal are as follows:
Simplified administrative and operational processes through instant online access to personal healthcare content
Constant access to personal health information empowers patients to be proactive in managing their conditions
Improved disease management with automated, condition-specific messages, email reminders and alerts
Enhanced patient safety through detailed medication instructions, alerts, warnings and recalls
Lab results, radiology reports and procedure information is accessible from anywhere at anytime
These features can be prioritized based on patient needs, resource
implications and organizational goals. Online medication renewals,
referral requests and basic scheduling require moderate resource
commitments from operations, and can easily replace less efficient
A patient portal
delivers vital care information directly to the patient’s desktop to
help enhance customer satisfaction, eliminate preventable errors along
with better care collaboration between doctors and patients.
The real-time collaboration between patients, providers and referring physicians through the patient portal
allows clinicians and their patients to share healthcare information in
a highly secure, HIPAA compliant environment through the use of SSL and
access control patterns whilst, patient access is also typically
validated with a user name and password.
Patient portals are also a key tool for physicians to meet
“Meaningful Use” requirements and receive federal incentive checks,
especially for providing health information to patients. Popular patient
portal applications enable patients to register and complete forms
online, which can streamline visits to physician clinics and hospitals.
At present, individual health information is located primarily on paper. However, it is predicted that more than 75% of hospitals around the country will be utilizing this technology by the end of 2014.
It is also validated through research that that the usage of patient
portals will bring huge benefits with regards to patient safety and the
secure exchange of healthcare information.