Contribution by: Sage Intergy EHR

Edward Gold, MD, practices at Old Hook Medical Associates (OHMA), a 20-physician multispecialty practice in Emerson, NJ. Over the past several months, he has successfully led the practice’s efforts to achieve Stage 1 meaningful use, using the Sage Intergy Meaningful Use Edition.

As an ONC-ATCB meaningful use-certified product, the Sage Intergy Meaningful Use Edition includes all of the required functionality to meet Stage 1 meaningful use, including electronic health records, practice management, reporting capabilities and a secure Web-based patient portal from which patients can communicate with physicians, view their health information, schedule appointments, view lab results and request prescription refills.  It was designed with ease of adoption as a guiding principle to ensure practices can more easily adapt their workflows to meet Meaningful Use.

In this Meaningful Use Success Story excerpt, Dr. Gold details his experience as a user of EHR technology and the process of preparing for meaningful use attestation:

How long did the practice prepare for meaningful use?
“For more than a year-and-a-half, we knew this was coming; all of us in the medical community were aware of it. Once the Stage 1 meaningful use reporting requirements were released and we saw what we needed to capture, we set about incorporating those data sets into our workflow. But, realistically, we’ve been using our current EHR for so long – four or five years – that most of the requirements for successfully attesting to meaningful use were not much of a challenge for us.

However, during the year-and-a-half leading up to January 2011, we worked on getting our physicians to focus on use of health maintenance features –used for managing the chronic conditions of our patients –as a more prominent part of the care process. Once those behaviors became a part of the clinical culture, we were in complete alignment for meaningful use reporting in January. “

How would you describe the attestation process?
“If you’ve done your homework, attestation is relatively straightforward, and with the information that you’re supposed to be tracking in hand, the questions asked are easy to answer. Once we got started, it was about 20 minutes per doctor.”

What advice do you have for your colleagues hoping to achieve meaningful use?
“For those who are thinking about achieving meaningful use and implementing a system and haven’t done so, you should start as soon as possible. Even though it’s an easy process once you have the system in place, it is more than just pushing a few buttons and saying, “We’re doing this.” It’s not quite as simple as some would have you believe. CMS is looking for real data, and the system needs to be in place to get the data they need. As such, even though a physician’s primary responsibility is to practice medicine, they still need to learn to use the EHR as it was designed to be used. Everyone in the process needs to put in all the necessary effort to really learn the system if they are going to realize the results they want. Everyone must be involved, from the start, in learning how these systems – these business systems – work. It’s like learning to drive: If you are not going to take driving lessons, you’re not going to drive the car.

In addition, don’t forget the ancillary folks within the practice. It doesn’t all have to fall on the doctor. Many of meaningful use requirements, such as health maintenance and vitals, can be done by staff prior to doctor entering the exam room. Proper involvement by the ancillary staff saves everyone time. Though I consider myself well-versed in technology and EHRs in particular, it doesn’t take an expert to attain meaningful use. Planning and preparation are key. However, we have been doing things with our EHR that align with meaningful use for years, so the switch was nothing new for us. Once the reporting period began, we were simply able to look at 90 days’ worth of data using the dashboards in Sage Intergy and move forward with the attestation.”

To read the full story or to learn more about Sage Intergy Meaningful Use Edition, visit
http://www.sagehealth.com?wt.mc_id=2011EHRScopeCampaign&adgrp_place=2011EHRScopeCampaign.