How to successfully plan and implement an EHR | EHR Plans

How to successfully plan and implement an EHR

Hiring outside help, purchasing quality hardware, and getting staff buy-in all important in this phase of adding technology

Buying quality hardware, hiring outside help, and getting buy-in from the practice staff members were three of six key ingredients that helped ease challenges associated with an electronic health record (EHR) system implementation, according to primary care physicians participating in the Medical Economics EHR Best Practices study.

In a recent Medical Economics survey, 30 of the physicians participating in the study were asked to identify key factors that helped them prepare for this implementation. Although the responses varied, the study participants offered this advice:

  • Hire a scribe to help with data-gathering and the creation of templates.
  • Identify one main resource person at your vendor to help guide you through the implementation process.
  • Research and buy quality hardware that supports the EHR. “Cutting corners on hardware is penny wise and pound foolish. The stress, service calls, and cost of upgrades more than offsets the extra cost of buying good hardware,” says Dana Simpson, MD, of Life Center Family Medicine in Summerville, South Carolina.
  • Get buy-in from your staff before implementing.
  • Establish a timeline to complete online training each week before implementation.
  • Set up weekly telephone conference calls with the vendor’s implementation manager to discuss progress, troubleshoot problems, and answer questions.

During the implementation phase, a majority of the study participants contracted with professionals outside of the practice to help during the implementation.According to the survey, 44% of the participants contracted with an information technology (IT) professional or an IT firm, 12% hired other outside assistance, and 8% paid for assistance from a regional extension center.

More than 60% of the survey respondents report that the implementation negatively affected patient flow. And although the unanticipated costs now average $3,094 among study participants, 85% of the respondents say no out-of-pocket charges were billed by vendors.Training was cited by many of the study participants as being a crucial to implementation success, but survey respondents were split about whether their staffs were adequately trained for the EHR implementation. In contrast, nearly 63% of respondents said the doctor was adequately trained.

Only 54% of the respondents identified the practice as having a “super-user.” About 46% of the study’s respondents report that the system’s training modules did meet their expectations. (The other 54% of respondents said they did not.)

Study participants where asked whether they have been able to integrate some of the interfacing features of their systems. The results include:

Images (scanned documents)
Yes: 52%                 No: 48%

Laboratory findings
Yes: 35%                 No: 65%

Billing
Yes: 40%                 No: 60%

Scheduling
Yes: 68%                 No: 32%

Hospital interface
Yes: 0%                 No: 32%

E-prescribing
Yes: 73%                 No: 27%

Health information exchange
Yes: 8%                 No: 92%

Compliance with the Health Insurance
Portability and Accountability Act
Yes: 68%                 No: 32%

Medical equipment
Yes: 8%                 No: 92%

When asked whether software vendors met their expectations, 42% of respondents said yes, but 39% remained undecided. Another 19% said vendors did not meet expectations.

Despite some of the negative views about implementation, the majority of the survey participants report making progress in the EHR implementation, according to the Medical Economics survey.

In the most recent survey, 82% were e-prescribing and 74% were able to maintain an active medication list. Just 19% were able to implement one clinical decision support rule, and 7% were able to exchange key clinical information among providers of care and patient-authorized entities electronically (see table).

Participating vendors

ABEL Medical Software….. www.abelmedicalsoftware.com
Amazing Charts….. www.amazingcharts.com
Aprima…. www.aprima.com
athenahealth….. www.athenahealth.com
CureMD….. www.curemd.com
McKesson Physician Practice Group…. www.mckesson.com
MedNet Medical Solutions….. www.mednetmedical.com
Practice Fusion…. www.practicefusion.com
Vitera…. www.viterahealthcare.com

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Family doctor compensation relatively healthy: survey

Family doctor compensation relatively healthy: survey

modern medicine family doctor

Family physicians saw a 5.13% increase in compensation in 2011, among the largest reported in the recently released results of the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) 2012 Medical Group Compensation and Financial Survey.

The news was good for those practicing in primary care areas of medicine overall; they saw about a 4% increase, whereas other medical specialties averaged an increase of 2.8% and surgical specialties averaged around 3.4%.

In addition to family medicine, other specialties with relatively large compensation increases were hematology and medical oncology (7.13%), hypertension and nephrology (6.99%), and urgent care (5.17%).

The survey found that many provider organizations continue to operate at a significant loss, and although 79% of specialties saw increases in compensation in 2011, most increases were marginal.

“In the face of the current challenging economic climate, multispecialty medical groups and other organized systems of care continue to rise to the challenge of delivering the highest quality, coordinated care to the patients they serve,” commented Donald W. Fisher, PhD, CAE, president and chief executive officer of AMGA. “The data from the survey provide more evidence that the current Medicare system for the reimbursement and financing of healthcare is unsustainable. AMGA continues to advocate for changes in the Medicare reimbursement system, including a shift from volume-based to value-base payment models.”

The AMGA survey provides date on compensation, productivity, and financial operations from healthcare providers throughout the United States, including 124 specialties, 32 other healthcare provider positions, and 28 administrative positions. The data include responses from 225 medical groups representing 55,800 providers (55.6% of groups report more than 100 physicians).

The national consulting firm Sullivan, Cotter and Associates Inc. conducted the survey for the AMGA.

The AMGA represents large medical groups, independent practice associations, and integrated healthcare delivery systems that collectively deliver healthcare to about 130 million patients in 49 states, more than one in three Americans.

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Doctors Access Selects CareCloud To Launch New Practice Management Solution for Physician Network

Doctors Access Selects CareCloud To Launch New Practice Management Solution for Physician Network

Partnership Will Utilize CareCloud’s Cloud-Based Software and Services as Foundation for Doctors Access Pro(TM) Practice Management Offering for Hundreds of Healthcare Providers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. & MIAMI, Jul 25, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — CareCloud, a leading provider of web-based practice management, electronic healthcare record (EHR) and medical billing software and services, today announced that Doctors Access, Inc., a nearly 20 year old practice management company and a division of iPractice Group, has entered into a unique partnership with CareCloud. Through this agreement, Doctors Access will utilize CareCoud’s platform in its new cloud-based practice management offering, Doctors Access Pro(TM), which will be made available to the approximately 500 current users of the Doctors Access practice management software.

As part of this strategic partnership, CareCloud’s cloud-based practice management software and services will act as the backbone of Doctors Access Pro, which will be an intuitive-to-use, easy-to-adopt and HIPAA 5010 compliant solution. The new practice management system will provide dynamic rules intelligence, expert live chat and phone support, reporting tools, automated claim submission, and comprehensive analytics reporting that will enable medical groups to track and optimize revenue and operations performance in real-time.

“Given the growing demands on medical and chiropractic practices to comply with new medical billing protocols, we believed it was time to offer our clients a cloud-based practice management solution to more easily navigate evolving compliance mandates like HIPAA 5010 and ICD-10, while at a price point that’s within the budget of smaller independent practices. After a lengthy search, we felt that CareCloud and its cloud-based practice management and revenue cycle management products clearly stood out in the industry,” said Ting Chang, Chief Executive Officer of Doctors Access.

Doctors Access plans to present the new Doctors Access Pro cloud-based solution to its clients starting in August 2012. iPractice Group, Inc., the parent company of Doctors Access, has already successfully migrated to the new cloud-based system for its revenue cycle management and billing services.

“We are thrilled to partner with Doctors Access as we look to bring a unique cloud-based practice management solution to hundreds of doctors across the country. Healthcare is seeing massive change, and no population in the industry is facing greater challenges than doctors and healthcare providers as they look to stay current with emerging IT and regulatory mandates,” said Albert Santalo, CareCloud’s Chairman and CEO. “Given the inherent flexibility of our cloud-based platform, CareCloud can partner with firms like Doctors Access to bring market-unique offerings to hundreds of diverse providers across a wide geographic region. We’re excited to enable Doctors Access’ healthcare providers to experience a network effect that bolsters their practices’ operations through capabilities that aren’t always available in traditional software solutions.”

About Doctors Access, a division of iPractice Group, Inc.

Doctors Access is a customer-focused technology services firm who provides practice management software and billing services to smaller, independent medical and chiropractic practices. Having nearly 20 years success working with hundreds of practices across the U.S., Doctors Access understands the challenges facing today’s healthcare providers across all specialties. As a division of iPractice Group, an all-inclusive IT products & services company headquartered in Nashville, TN, Doctors Access works with customers to update their businesses’ IT systems and improve their revenue management by offering practice management software, services, and IT support. Doctors Access is located at 51 Century Boulevard, Ste 125, Nashville, TN, 37214. For more information on Doctors Access, visit www.doctorsaccess.com or www.doctorsaccesspro.com .

About CareCloud

CareCloud is a leading provider of cloud-based practice management, revenue cycle management, electronic health record (EHR) and medical billing software and services for medical groups. The company’s products are connecting providers to one another – and to their patients – through a fully integrated digital healthcare ecosystem that can be accessed on any browser or device.

CareCloud is helping thousands of physicians to increase collections, streamline operations and improve patient care in over 30 states. The company was named a winner of IBM’s SmartCamp Silicon Valley 2010 for its innovative technology and received over $20 million in Series A funding from Intel Capital and Norwest Venture Partners. To learn more about CareCloud, please visit www.carecloud.com .

SOURCE: CareCloud, Inc.