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What Health Care Can Learn From Amazon

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Most of us have very full lives and find value in saving time by researching and purchasing almost everything on Amazon is a cutting edge retailer that has mastered IT engineering and the customer experience.

Why does health care not provide a similar experience? It is rare to speak with a practice that is pleased with their present electronic workflow. Most claim that it slows them down and takes the personal relation away from the patient/clinician encounter.  Perhaps, in the future, there is a way for Health Information Technology to follow the Amazon-inspired philosophy of delivering a seamless experience from point of contact to follow-up visit. Does your EMR, Practice Management, and Medical Billing system enhance the patient experience?

Emulating Amazon is no small feat. To learn more about ”What Health Care Can Learn from Amazon,” attend  a special webinar event hosted by athenaHealth on Wednesday, March 19th, at 12:15 PM EST.

Register Today!

Ashlee Patterson
EHRscope Market Analyst

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 ( 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

Electronic Health Records: The Next Chapter


Early in my career, I worked in environments in healthcare, both Inpatient and Outpatient, that would come to be labeled as “Early Adopter” spaces with regards to the Electronic Health Record. The first year that I worked for an EHR vendor, every client I came in contact with was transitioning from paper to an electronic system. The majority of physicians (and most clinicians and staff) pushed back on such technology, defending themselves with the “what isn’t broke…” argument. The spectrum of emotions during implementation of such technology ran the gamut from apathy to anger. As consultative and project management-driven as my role was, I consistently found myself in a position of “selling” end-users on the value of the EHR to their patient care and themselves.

That was a different time. Over the course of the last decade, the dynamics of healthcare have shifted dramatically, arguably most notably with regards to information technology and the EHR. Where once I had been coaching a physician on how to type on a computer, I now find I am consistently explaining why “x” vendor does not have iPad-friendly features. Beyond peer pressure or the notion of accepting the inevitable, one might ponder what led to such a dramatic shift in a relatively short amount of time.
Continue reading: Electronic Health Records: The Next Chapter

4 Ways Meaningful Use Will Be Different in 2014

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With fall officially setting in and families and businesses finding their post-summer groove again, it’s time to seriously start preparing for next year. Just over a year separates us from the ICD-10 compliance deadline, and in a short period of three months meaningful use will change, and not just for those moving on to stage 2.

The meaningful use changes are necessary to ensure that health IT is mature enough to drastically improve healthcare. Specifically, here are four ways meaningful use will be different next year.
Continue reading: 4 Ways Meaningful Use Will Be Different in 2014

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