D'Arcy Gue

Positive Progress in EHR Adoption?

July 12, 2013

Healthcare Industry, Meaningful Use / MIPS 3 Minute Read

The health IT community was buzzing this week about the results of a study performed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation regarding the progress of EHR adoption and the impact of the requirements imposed by the HITECH Act.This week, we highlight some opinions on the study’s findings in addition to news of HIPAA penalties and recommendations for your ICD-10 preparations.

EHR adoption is occurring at a rapid pace.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the results of a study this week that finds providers and physicians are actively adopting health information technology. While the US is still behind their international counterparts in terms of adoption, significant progress is being made. The number of hospitals using EHRs has nearly tripled since 2010. However, an interesting observation was made in light of these findings regarding the effectiveness of the EHRs being implemented. An article in Forbes calls attention to information the study reveals, regarding the discrepancies between EHR adoption and the capabilities that EHRs need to have in order to meet the requirements imposed by the government. It appears that many of the EHRs being used are missing components that will enable providers to attest to later stages of Meaningful Use / MIPS. This means more work for many hospitals in the form of upgrades or entire system overhauls.

EHR adoption is on the rise, but usability is a cause for concern.

While news of EHR adoption appears positive, the effectiveness of the systems being implemented needs to be considered. A recent Healthcare Informatics blog post poses the question, “What does adoption really mean?” It goes on to discuss the difficulty many physicians are experiencing in the integration of EHRs into their practices and the effectiveness of the systems that have been implemented.

As a result of EHR incentive programs, EHR use has become a simple exercise of doing what you need to do in order to comply with certain requirements to receive the associated incentives. This isn’t true of all providers, but it appears to be an issue for some and is something that will become a barrier when increased Meaningful Use / MIPS requirements are encountered.

Avoid complications in later stages of MU — ensure that your EHR system is sustainable.

In response to the discussion around ineffective EHR systems, this post offers suggestions on ways to optimize your EHR. The author discusses seven golden rules required in order to get the most out of your EHR. These include:

  1. Include the nursing staff
  2. Schedule more training specific to process
  3. Anticipate the stress and effort required over several months
  4. Round on users
  5. Personalize and recognize the differences among physicians
  6. Get your EHR-integrated patient portal up and running
  7. Don’t become a drop-out

Coordination with vendors is imperative for the success of your conversion to ICD-10.

For a smooth transition to ICD-10, providers, payers and vendors all need to be working together. There is a lot of work to be done and several systems and people will be impacted. To minimize complications, providers must coordinate with all parties involved, especially their vendors. An article on EHR Intelligence provides a list of questions that providers should ask their vendors to ensure that everyone is working together with the same expectations. Don’t waste time. If you haven’t already done so, contact your vendors today to begin the discussion.

Wellpoint is the latest in a series of organizations being hit with HIPAA penalties.

HIPAA penalties are being handed out left and right. This time, it’s a penalty to the tune of $1.7 million. These big dollar penalties should be a wake up call to providers and their business associates — be prepared. The new Omnibus HIPAA compliance rules go into effect on September 23rd of this year. If you’re not sure what the new rule requires, download the Omnibus HIPAA special report and make sure that you have all privacy and security provisions in place.

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