Recent Articles

EHR Nightmare

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Throughout the past two years, I have rotated mainly through one system. To my dismay, it had been one of the worst as far as electronic health records (EHR) are concerned. Most days I observed the workflow, thinking “If they just did this, they would cut the duration of morning rounds in half.” Let us look past the point that I was usually bored out of my mind!
There was just so much wasted time in dealing with documentation and communication. We are in the digital age. It really shouldn’t be this complicated. I cannot imagine how frustrated the residents and attending physicians must have gotten during this nonsense. This part of the job, which is non-medical, has likely been the direct cause of many doctors’ burnout statuses.
Since I have limited exposure to other systems, I am curious to know if this was a well-below average situation or a fairly normal one (feel free to comment below).

Continue reading: EHR Nightmare

Why physicians are changing their EHRs

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To start off I am new to the industry and have been inundated with copious amounts of information.  I have to admit; at first it was confusing and overwhelming. As I become more educated about the process of Meaningful Use Stage 2 achievement, the required implementation of ICD-10, and the various other factors that make up EHRs / EMRs; it appears that the growing trend is physicians are not pleased with their current EHR / EMR.  Some of the key issues that I see trending lately are cost, functionality, and support.  There have been recent articles and surveys (medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com) stating that almost 70% of physicians are unhappy with their current EHR / EMR.  While physicians are receiving government incentives (HITECH Act) to comply; it does not seem to offset the costs.

 

Why specialists don’t like their EHRs

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The list of reasons why specialists don’t like their EHRs could go on for pages, but what it really comes down to is this: most EHRs try to satisfy everyone’s needs, an impossible feat in a world with hundreds of medical specialties. Hospitals and primary care practices can sometimes make a one-size-fits-all EHR work, but specialists have a much harder time adjusting to having an EHR as part of their workflow.

A recent Black Book Rankings survey found that specialists are much less happy with their current EHR than family physicians are. However, most physicians place the blame on themselves. The top three reasons for considering a vendor switch all have to do with picking the right EHR:

  1. Solution does not meet the individual needs of the practice, including workflow (80 percent)
  2. The practice did not adequately assess its needs before selecting the original EHR (79 percent)
  3. Design of EHR is not suited for the practice specialty (77 percent)

Continue reading: Why specialists don’t like their EHRs

What the Meaningful Use Stage 2 Timeline Change Means for Providers

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Late Friday afternoon, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) jointly announced some timeline changes for stages 2 and 3 of meaningful use. Stage 2 will be extended one year, pushing the start date for stage 3 back to 2017. Providers will have an extra year to meet stage 2 requirements, just like they did with stage 1.

According to the press release, “The goal of this change is two-fold: first, to allow CMS and ONC to focus efforts on the successful implementation of the enhanced patient engagement, interoperability and health information exchange requirements for Stage 2; and second, to utilize data from Stage 2 participation to inform policy decisions for Stage 3.”

There is still some confusion regarding how the timeline changes will affect providers, though. Continue reading: What the Meaningful Use Stage 2 Timeline Change Means for Providers

2014 Meaningful Use: Is Your Vendor Ready?

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Over $16 billion has been paid out to eligible hospitals and providers through the EHR Incentive Programs. If the previous two years are any indication, many more attestations will roll in through the end of the year/beginning of next year as providers complete their 2013 reporting.

The steady stream of attestations and meaningful use incentives could see a sharp drop-off during 2014, however. As stated in the final rule for stage 2 of meaningful use, all practices must use a 2014-edition certified EHR in order to qualify for incentive payments, whether they are on stage 1 or stage 2.

However, very few EHR vendors have re-certified under the more stringent 2014 certification requirements. As of this month, only 27 companies have achieved full 2014 ambulatory certification, representing 53 products. Another 92 companies have achieved modular 2014 certification, representing 165 products.

Compare that to over 1,000 vendors and 3,000 EHR products that are certified under the current 2011 requirements. Continue reading: 2014 Meaningful Use: Is Your Vendor Ready?

6 Must-Know Facts About EHR Implementation

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‘Change is inevitable’ — a cliched statement but true where industries and organizations are concerned. Industries like IT &ITES, BT, Automotive etc. are very adaptable to change. Grabbing on to the latest technology is like a necessity for them to keep themselves ahead in the race. However, when it comes to change, healthcare industry is the one which takes extremely calculated risks. Any new technology, introduced to the Physicians, takes a longer period for acceptance.

With EHR becoming a necessity and to some extent, a kind of compulsion, physicians are forcing themselves to accept this new technology. The experts, who pioneer at pen and paper work, are finding it extremely difficult to accept this sudden change. An Emergency Department research showed that 44% of a physician’s time was spent in just entering data in the EHR. This is followed by 28% spent in direct patient care and 12% interacting and discussing with colleagues. Implementing EHR software is inevitable and the physicians have no choice but to embrace it. Just before you plunge into the decision of EHR implementation, here are 6 things you should know about it: Continue reading: 6 Must-Know Facts About EHR Implementation

Pros and Cons of Online Medical Test Results

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Technology is amazing! With the advancement of technology we can get information almost instantaneously with the tap of a key. With easy access to computers and the Internet, information is at our fingertips. Technology has empowered us.

Because of this wonderful technology, people are now able to view their own personal health records (PHR) online; people are becoming assertive patients more so than ever before. However, not every physician and hospital is on board to this fairly new concept. Not everyone is convinced that the Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a good thing.
Continue reading: Pros and Cons of Online Medical Test Results

ICD-10: Ignorance is Not Bliss – Part 2

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The ICD-10 compliance date of October 1, 2014 draws nearer every day. While many individuals in healthcare believe this initiative to impact only coders and billing staff, that misconception will certainly prove detrimental on many levels. All involved in the patient care experience will be impacted, even the patient (as introduced in ICD-10: Ignorance is Not Bliss – Part 1.) In Part 2 of this 4 part series, we will continue to follow our patient through her post-ICD-10 experience. When we last left off, Doris Jones was waiting for an exorbitant amount of time in the clinic waiting room to see her doctor. After an hour, she is finally checked in and called back by the Medical Assistant.

Scenario: Please Visit Ignorance is Not Bliss – Part 1 for Mrs. Jones’ situation.

Now let’s see just how this change really can affect everyone…

Continue reading: ICD-10: Ignorance is Not Bliss – Part 2

ICD-10: Ignorance is Not Bliss – Part 1

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By now, most individuals working in Healthcare have heard of ICD-10. The varying degrees of familiarity with the new diagnostic and procedure code set are as varied as the individual reactions to its upcoming required implementation. Some individuals shudder in fear as the diagnosis codes leap from ~13,000 codes in ICD-9 to ~60,000 in ICD-10 (not to mention the ~76,000 procedure codes that will now be required for use in the Inpatient environment.) Some individuals (certainly most coders and billers) can not sleep at night knowing the learning curve, productivity slowdown, and likely revenue loss that this initiative will certainly yield. Perhaps most disturbing, however, is that many individuals (including providers) believe that ICD-10 will not have an impact on their staff, their work, their finances, or the patient experience.

That, unfortunately, is a scary and fallacious understanding of what is ahead. ICD-10 will impact everyone. To make the point, I offer an example of a basic patient office visit.

Continue reading: ICD-10: Ignorance is Not Bliss – Part 1

I’m a Doctor. I treat Patients. Knowing ICD-10 codes is the Coder’s Job!

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The title of this article seems reasonable and appropriate. Unfortunately, it is patently false!

By now you are probably likely acclimated to (perhaps even enjoying!) the ‘touch once’ method of encounter documentation, in which you dictate, click and/or type through patient visit documentation. Once the patient leaves the office, you are 100% done with the documentation. Although this may not always be possible, this serves as the preferred method to complete your charting.

With the impending changes that ICD-10 will bring, you are all but assured of the requirement to re-touch a large number of your charts if you have not been properly trained in the methodology of ICD-10 billing.

What does this mean? Why is this?

Continue reading: I’m a Doctor. I treat Patients. Knowing ICD-10 codes is the Coder’s Job!