Successful EHR Implementation
By Chris Torregosa, Project coordinator
With all the government stimulus money made available to hospitals and clinics these days, many groups are purchasing and implementing an EHR system. Some implementations go smoothly and achieve their goals while others they struggle or stall due to inexperience and frustration with the selected system. Some tend to fall short due to limited resources or IT issues. In certain instances, many groups experience little or no success at all. These groups then begin to contemplate whether it is a problem with their staff learning the system, the workflow processes within the group, or simply the EHR system’s abilities to meet their requirements. Regardless of your group’s size, many implementation issues are common throughout. Like any new journey in life that requires a certain amount of knowledge, there is much to learn and many things that can go wrong without proper direction. Here are a few tips to help ensure a successful EHR implementation:
1) There is no “I” in the word “Team”.
Any football fan knows that any given play can’t be run on the field unless everyone is completing their assigned role. The quarterback can’t throw or handoff the ball unless his offensive line is providing the proper protection from the opposing defense. I can go on and on, but the point is that the sane team concept can and should be applied to an EHR implementation. Navigating through an EHR implementation is not solo task. Everyone from the receptionist to the biller, to the medical assistant, to the physician will play a role in the success of the implementation. Involvement from the stakeholders is essential to create buy in into the project and to identify any ways the EHR could fail.
Like any normal team, there needs to be leadership. In an implementation, a Physician champion should be elected. The role of the Physician champion is to provide good input and communication, and to be an energetic supporter and positive motivator throughout the project. He or she is responsible to keep driving the project forward despite any road blocks that lie ahead.
Lastly, like any good team, practice makes perfect. It is incumbent of the staff to learn and practice. The more and more you practice with the system, the more familiar and comfortable you will be. This will ease any anxiety and in turn provide confidence within the group.
2) Setting realistic goals and expectations.
Implementing an EHR is by no means an easy task. A successful implementation involves a great deal of planning long before you go live. One of the first tasks during the process is to create a realistic implementation timeline that everyone is comfortable with. It is important to be flexible and open to modifying the schedule if necessary. Also, remember that you don’t have to do everything at once. A phased-in, incremental approach is suggested so that users are not learning everything at once and become overwhelmed. Another important aspect of the implementation is staying focused throughout the project. Staying on schedule in the timeline is more about making the EHR implementation a priority.
3) Positivity despite challenges.
Many challenges and frustrations will present themselves during an implementation. It will create uncertainty and doubts as to whether these challenges can be overcome. It is important to stay positive and realize that there is no reason why these challenges can’t be overcome.
4) Consult with experts with EHR experience .
It is a tall order to successfully implement an EHR without prior experience. There are many aspects of an implementation that can be overlooked that may result in failure. Assistance from someone with experience in implementing EHR systems can make a difference towards the outcome of the implementation ….. Visit www.sunrize.com or call 888-880-0384 to speak with one of our experts on implementation of an EHR.
How can Sunrise help?
HIT presents many opportunities to improve healthcare delivery in America, from changing the way healthcare is financed to enhancing efficiency. Jerry Buchanan, account director, healthcare technology and services at eMids Technologies, shares five ways that health IT can cut healthcare costs in the long-term.
1. Improved standards of care
Analyzing data collected by electronic health records provides the best treatment methods, leading to a healthier population. “Whether this data is combined with financial data to analyze cost effectiveness or not… is tangential to the overall goal of knowing the best way to handle treatment for each individual patient,” Buchanan noted.
2. Increased patient involvement and collaboration
America’s health expenditure is in a large part due to chronic health issues. Chronic diseases brought on by poor lifestyle choices are difficult to handle, but health IT “provides a clear avenue for enterprising organizations to develop innovative disease management solutions to address the issue,” according to Buchanan. Data retrieved from EHRs could also be useful in determining ways to stem costs associated with chronic illness.
3. Putting information at the forefront
The healthcare industry is constantly changing, and that results in an overwhelming amount of information to distill and absorb. Health IT offers a way to bring that information to the forefront.
4. Focus on outcomes
“The coming tidal wave of electronic clinical data provides an opportunity to replace our outdated, volume-based, fee-for-service business model with one focused on the quality of the product,” Buchanan said.
5. Transparency to the patient
Health IT should be used as a tool to include the patient in his or her own care. “Our current system of financing healthcare leaves patients completely insulated from the cost of their care,” said Buchanan. “Until we find a means for patients to educate themselves and question services, quality and price, the market forces that can naturally contain rising healthcare costs will never have an opportunity to work.”
Enhancement: Electronic Transaction Reporting
Medisoft® Version 17 (v17) includes four new reports to help you manage electronic transactions related to verifying your patients’ insurance eligibility and submitting claims to insurance providers.
The reports include:
- Appointment Eligibility Analysis – Detail
- Appointment Eligibility Analysis – Summary
- Electronic Claims Analysis – Detail
- Electronic Claims Analysis – Summary Each of these reports offers several filters for controlling the information that shows. In addition, several summary values appear on each report so that you can see the information at a glance.
Enhancement: Audit Reports
Medisoft v17 includes a feature that allows you to track the reporting and exporting of data when you generate audit reports. A new option on the Audit tab in Program Options allows you to turn this feature on or off. It is turned on by default. Certain reports or grids that are printed or saved to disk will be audited. Note: Previewed reports will not be audited.
The following types of information are included as part of the audit reports:
- Data grids
- Custom reports, including claims and statements
When printed from either Transaction Entry or Statement Management, but not the Report menu or Report Designer, the audit reports include.
- Medisoft reports
- Office Hours data
- Final Draft reports or data printed or saved to disk
- Internal reports
- Eligibility information
Enhancement: BillFlash Integration
BillFlash integration applies to the Medisoft Advanced and Network Professional programs.
Medisoft now uses BillFlash to print and mail patient statements. With Medisoft v17, you can enroll in BillFlash directly from within Medisoft, as well as upload your statement files directly from Medisoft automatically. You can view and approve statement uploads to BillFlash by clicking links from within Medisoft. For more information on BillFlash and to learn how to enroll, go to http://www.BillFlash.com.
Within Medisoft, you can control several aspects of what prints on your statements, including which credit cards you accept, service messages you want to print, printing of account summaries and aging, and printing up to six messages to appear on statements. For more information, go to the Program Options – BillFlash tab.
Options on the Activities, BillFlash menu allow you to enroll with BillFlash, view and approve statements that have uploaded to BillFlash, see your account settings at http://www.BillFlash.com, and view reports such as the Disposition report. Each one of these menu options will open a different page on the BillFlash website.
The following windows in Medisoft have quick access to the eView page of the BillFlash website via a new View eStatements button. (In addition, when a patient is selected and Ctrl + F7 is clicked, the eView page will open for any statements for that patient.)
- Patient List
- New/Edit Case
- Quick Ledger
- Guarantor Ledger
- Apply Payments (through Transaction Entry)
- Collection List/Tickler
- Edit Statements
- Deposit List
- Apply Payments
- Transaction Entry (note that Calculate Totals has been moved.)
HIPAA X12 Version 5010 (ANSI 5010)
The following are changes made to Medisoft v17 to accommodate the upcoming change from the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 version 4010A1 to ASC X12 version 5010 (referred to as ANSI 5010), as well as the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) version 5.1 to NCPDP version D.0.5010. ANSI 5010 and NCPDP version D.0.5010 are new sets of standards that regulate the electronic transmission of specific healthcare transactions, including eligibility, claim status, referrals, claims and remittances. Covered entities, such as health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and healthcare providers, are required to conform to ANSI 5010 standards
March 22, 2010
McKesson continues to gain momentum with its Practice Partner electronic health record (EHR) and practice management solution as new physician practices join more than 100,000 physicians already using McKesson EHR solutions nationwide. The latest practices to contract for the solution include:
- Consultants in Gastroenterology, located in Providence, R.I., chose the Practice Partner solution for its new Bright Note Technology, which automatically populates critical data on a patient chart. This dynamic processing technology enables physicians and other providers to use their preferred charting style to capture data in a single screen note and, with one touch, synchronize searchable data across the complete chart.
- Virginia Nephrology Group, a multi-location group in northern Virginia, recently contracted for McKesson’s complete Practice Partner suite including EHRs, billing and scheduling software. Virginia Nephrology was referred to McKesson from a local hospital whose employed physicians already are successfully using the Practice Partner system.
- Paradigm Medical Group is located in Colorado Springs, Colo. The group has purchased McKesson’s Practice Partner Patient Records EHR and Appointment Scheduler to integrate with its existing practice management system. Paradigm selected the Practice Partner EHR as part of its strategy to qualify for government incentives outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Practice Partner is part of McKesson’s comprehensive portfolio of physician solutions designed to reduce time spent on administrative tasks and help to meet the needs of running a modern practice. As the source for solutions that improve practice performance, McKesson’s offering includes clinical and EHR software as well as business management and revenue management solutions. The company also provides connectivity solutions for health information exchange and medical-surgical equipment and supplies.
McKesson Corporation, currently ranked 15th on the FORTUNE 500, is a healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to helping its customers deliver highquality healthcare by reducing costs, streamlining processes, and improving the quality and safety of patient care. McKesson has been in continuous operation for more than 175 years, making it the longest-operating company in healthcare today. Over the course of its history, McKesson has grown by providing pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management across the spectrum of care; healthcare information technology for hospitals, physicians, homecare and payors; hospital and retail pharmacy automation; and services for manufacturers and payors designed to improve outcomes for patients. For more information, visit http://www.mckesson.com.
Practice Partner Connect enables physician practices to securely exchange medical, billing, and other health data with other doctors, patients, hospitals, and insurance companies.
February 3, 2010 04:37 PM
McKesson has introduced an interoperability platform that enables physician practices to securely exchange information with other doctors, patients, hospitals, and insurance companies.The new messaging platform is part of version 9.3.3 of Practice Partner, McKesson’s electronic health record and medical billing software. Practice Partner Connect is designed to exchange clinical and financial data via any type of health information exchange. HIE systems are deployed within a region, community, or hospital system for moving healthcare information electronically.”Physicians not only are responsible for patient wellness; they are increasingly the central coordination point in a broad health network that includes their patients as well as payors, pharmacies, labs, and HIEs,” David Henriksen, senior VP of McKesson’s physician practice solutions group, said in a statement Wednesday. “Given that inherent complexity, McKesson has launched Practice Partner Connect as a means to simplify and streamline the necessary electronic communication for more collaborative, safer — and more efficient — healthcare.”Partner Connect records all activity within the system and provides physicians with full control of data. Information that can be shared includes the treatment of patients, eligibility checks, and billing. The increased visibility across institutions is a requirement under the “meaningful use” criteria for healthcare providers accepting funds under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which includes a $20 billion health IT stimulus program.Along with the new interoperability platform, version 9.3.3 of Practice Partner features McKesson’s Bright Note Technology that instantly populates data on a patient’s electronic chart. The processing technology enables physicians to use their preferred charting style to capture data in a single screen note and synchronize searchable data across a chart.McKesson’s latest product announcement followed a week after the company announced that it would offer customers the option of buying its EHR and practice management software bundled with Hewlett-Packard hardware, including desktop computers, notebooks, and thin-client devices.The systems will be sold through McKesson’s network of several hundred “EHR certified” value-added resellers, who’ll also provide doctors with assessments, installation, training, and support services.
Small and single medical practices often think that there is no need for EMR software (Electronic medical records software). I equite this to all the practices that didn’t believe they would ever need to bill insurance companies electronically. However, contrary to popular belief, EMR software doesn’t have to be so expensive that it’s out of reach. In fact, the cost savings for using EMR software may far exceed the cost of not having one in place. This is because with the right system, the operational costs of the practice increases.
For example, when patient appointments are managed manually,(in the big book) they tend to be rather disorganizedand open time slots are hard to find. Some times, patients forget about their doctors appointments. So they become no shows. So the doctor ends up with a free time slots, which equals no revenue.
Scheduling software helps manage and schedule patient appointments. One glance at today’s schedule, and the doctor (or staff) will know who is coming into the practice. It will tell the staff if there is an open balance on the account and give the healthcare provider a heads up on the reason for the visit. Staff may even call or send text messages to remind patients to turn up for appointments. This leads to fewer canceled appointments which equals better cash flow to the practice. If a patient can’t make it to a scheduled appointment, in most cases you can still call another patient and fill in that empty slot. In this way, appointments are organized in a much better manner.
Then there is the constant problem of billing. Some Patient bills will be self pays, or they can be settled by insurance claims, and than there is always remainder billing for the difference. Either way, you will need software to help manage all the billing issues. Charged amount is different from paid amounts. That means what your practice has managed to collect is different from the amount that you expect to make. This affects the overall cash flow of your medical practice. You may have plans to grow your practice for the next two to three years, but without accurate revenue projections, you have nothing to base your plans on. You will find that when the time comes to spend some money to grow the practice, your plans may have to be delayed due to cash flow reasons.
EMR software such as Medisoft Clinical EMR helps to streamline work-flow processes, and keep all medical and financial records in a well organized fashion. Now, with EMR software, you can truly transition to a “paperless” office thru electronic fax receiving, electronic e-prescribing, electronic lab results, and the electronic note and medical record.
Now that we have established the need for EMR software, let’s take a look at some key features to look out for when evaluable such software.
The first thing to look for is ease of use. Yours is a medical practice. So chances are, your staff are probably not the most tech savvy. Therefore, the software must be easy enough for them to know how to use.
Comprehensive tools – you need all the tools you can get your hands on to help with the operational challenges that you are facing. These include documentation tools, work-flow features, communication features, insurance billing; e-prescribing; document scanning and imaging; vital signs; patient family history; and of course recording the SOAP note. At a minimum, your emr software selection MUST be CCHIT certified, and preferably, certified for each year.