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Archive for the ‘Meaningful Use’ Category

Why Physicians Need to Upgrade to Meaningful Use Stage 2 Certified EHR Software

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

ONC logoThe EHR Incentive Program has been around for several years now, and few healthcare providers are unfamiliar with Meaningful Use and all it entails. The program main draw is the stimulus payments that physicians can qualify for each year by successfully adopting, implementing, upgrading or demonstrating meaningful use of certified EHR technology.

Starting this year, qualifying for incentive payments requires using 2014 Edition certified software. This means that physicians must attest to Meaningful Use using an EHR solution that has proven through extensive testing that it is capable of supporting requirements for both Stage 1 and 2, including electronic health information exchange, interoperability and patient engagement.

In order to accommodate physicians whose EHR vendors have not yet achieved Stage 2 certification, CMS and the ONC decided that in 2014 only all Meaningful Use participants will report for just 90 days – regardless of whether the physician is in their first year of Stage 1 or already getting started on Stage 2. This means that healthcare professionals can begin their Meaningful Use reporting this year as late as October 1, 2014. Physicians are warned, however, not to wait until the last minute to get started.

1st Providers Choice understands physicians’ concerns, and we want our users to start the reporting process early. That’s why we worked hard to get certified for Stage 2. Our EHR software and Patient Healthcare Portal solution are both 2014 ONC Stage 2 Certified, allowing physicians to start their 90-day reporting period immediately.

2014 Edition certified EMR software

To help you achieve your goals, we assign a Meaningful Use expert to your practice. They guide you through the reporting process and show you how to use the EHR’s Meaningful Use dashboard to keep track of your progress. Our trainers also work with you to go over using drug formularies, setting up lab interfaces, e-prescribing controlled substances, and using the patient portal to achieve Meaningful Use.

Our patient portal makes it easy for physicians to meet the following patient engagement requirements:

  • Provide online access to health information to more than 50% of all unique patients (who were seen by you during the reporting period) within 4 business days.
  • Have 5% of all unique patients view their health information online, download it, or transmit it to a third party.
  • Have 5% of unique patients (who were seen by you during the reporting period) send you a secure message.

1st Providers Choice has also made the necessary upgrades to ensure our EHR is up to date and our Practice Management software is ready for ICD-10. We have already begun testing our software with insurance payers and clearing houses to ensure a smooth transition to ICD-10 for hospitals and physician practices.

Interested in learning more about fully certified EHR software? Call 480-782-1116 today!

Positioning Your Podiatry EHR for 2014

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

Big changes have been happening in the healthcare industry in the last few years, revolutionizing the care delivery process, the role that patients play in their care, and how medical records are stored and managed. With all of these changes taking place recently it should come as no surprise that 2014 is poised to be another important year, not only for podiatrists but for all doctors. Physicians will finally be able to start attesting to Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program on January 1st, for one, meanwhile undertaking preparations to meet the October 1, 2014 deadline to switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 diagnosis and procedure coding.

For podiatrists, using fully integrated podiatry EHR software will make it easier to affront the many challenges that next year will bring. Here’s a run-down of some of the more important things your practice should prepare for as 2014 draws near:

Attesting to Meaningful Use In 2014

The EHR Incentive Programs have been around for about two years now, and slowly but surely healthcare professionals have gotten the hang of the attestation process. If you are a Meaningful Use veteran in your second, third, or even fourth year of participation, you may have already grown accustomed to the full year reporting periods which are required for Stage 1 after the first year of attestation.

Next year, however, is going to be different as eligible hospitals and healthcare professionals can get started with Stage 2. In 2014 only, all providers – regardless of what stage they are on – are required to demonstrate meaningful use for just 3 months (90 days). The purpose of the universal 3-month reporting period in 2014 is to give all healthcare professionals time to implement and/or upgrade their certified electronic health record software to meet meaningful use requirements going forward.

Podiatry EHR Software - Meaningful Use Dashboard

For podiatrists participating in the Medicare program, the reporting period is fixed to the quarter of either the calendar year (for eligible providers) or fiscal year (for hospitals and critical access hospitals). This is not the case for those participating in the Medicaid program only.

If you are new to Meaningful Use, make sure you decide ahead of time which program you are going to participate in – and find out when you can start the reporting process. If you are ready to move on to Stage 2, check with your EHR vendor to make sure your podiatry EHR software meets the Stage 2 requirements.

Preparing for ICD-10

icd10Getting your podiatry practice ready for 2014 means making the necessary preparations to switch to ICD-10 before October 1st. Though the CEO of the Medical Group Management Association referred to ICD-10 as one of the most expensive and complicated changes the healthcare industry has faced in decades, with proper planning the transition doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. If your practice is already using ICD-10 ready practice management software for podiatry together with a podiatry EHR, the only thing you will have to worry about is getting accustomed to the new codes. Like with any new change, this will happen with patience over time.

Interested in learning more about our podiatry EHR software, Meaningful Use, or ICD-10 preparations and its potential costs? Call 480-782-1116 or contact us online to talk to one of our representatives today!

What Can I Expect From Meaningful Use Stage 2?

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Providers cannot begin attesting to meaningful use stage 2 until 2014 – and even then, they can only do so after having successfully attested to stage 1 for two full years. Still, a growing number of healthcare professionals are preparing for the second phase of the federal incentive program and leaving no stone unturned in their quest for meaningful use incentives. Are you wondering how you can start preparing? Begin by familiarizing yourself with the final guidelines, including how stage 2 requirements differ from the ones you are working on now.

Building Blocks

If you understand stage 1 and have successfully attested to meaningful use, you won’t have much to worry about. Stage 2 essentially builds on the core and menu objectives outlined in stage 1. One difference, however, is that hospitals and physicians must meet a greater number of objectives. In addition, percentages have been increased, meaning that providers will need to step up their game. For example, instead of documenting demographic information for more than 50 percent of patients (stage 1), physicians will be required to record specific demographic data for more than 80 percent of patients (stage 2).

Core and Menu Objectives & Clinical Quality Measures (CQM)

For stage 2 of meaningful use, eligible hospitals and providers will be required to meet a different number of objectives using their fully certified EMR. Additionally, although CQMs are no longer listed as a core objective, healthcare professionals participating in the meaningful use program will need to report on CQMs in order to attest to meaningful use. Following are the separate requirements for hospitals and providers:

  • Hospitals must meet 16 of 19 core objectives and 3 of 6 menu objectives. They will also be required to report on 16 of 29 CQMs.
  • Providers must meet 17 of 20 core objectives and 3 of 6 menu objectives. They will also be required to report on 9 of 64 CQMs.

Patient Engagement

There are a couple of new core objectives in meaningful use stage 2 that aim to increase patient engagement. One objective requires the use of secure electronic messaging to communicate with at least 5 percent of patients. (Physicians in limited broadband areas are exempt from this.) Another objective calls for physicians to provide at least 5 percent of their patients “the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information” within four business days of the information being available to the provider.

Data Exchange

A new core objective that focuses on data exchange requires physicians to provide a summary of care record for more than 50 percent of patients that are referred to a another care setting or provider. Additionally, more than 10 percent of these care records will need to be sent electronically. Provider will also need to send at least one summary of care record to a physician with a different EMR or to a CMS-designated test EMR.

Other Notable Differences in Stage 2

  • 2014 is the only year that there will be a three-month reporting period for all healthcare professionals regardless of whether they are reporting for stage 1 or stage 2. To find out when your reporting window is, visit CMS’ website.
  • With stage 2, healthcare groups will be able to submit attestation information for different providers all at once. Currently, each provider must submit attestation data separately.

If you are looking for a fully certified EMR than can help you meet meaningful use, check out one of our specialty-specific EMR systems. Our software solutions feature interactive reporting modules and integrate with billing and practice management software.

Physicians Take Note: 2012 Meaningful Use Deadline Nears

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Doctor taking notes for Meaningful UseFor many physicians, the thought of adopting EMR software is overwhelming, as it can require investing money in computer equipment, software fees and licensing. Not to mention the time that goes into setup, training and implementation, as well as the drastic changes to providers’ charting methods and workflows. The fact of the matter is, implementing an EMR doesn’t have to be as scary as some might make it out to be, as there are many resources available to help physicians make the transition – from regional extension centers to EMR vendors themselves.

With the deadline to start reporting for Stage 1 of Meaningful Use this year fast approaching, physicians eager to receive the maximum incentive payments allowed through CMS should take heed – if you choose not to participate in Meaningful Use this year, you could be missing out on $5,000 worth of stimulus money.

If you want to take advantage of the money available to you through federal incentive programs, we suggest taking note of the following date:

  • October 3: In order to earn the full $44,000 in incentive payments, providers must start the Stage 1 reporting period no later than this day.

Of course, the first step to achieving Meaningful Use is implementing fully certified EMR software, and you’ll want to do that a month or so before you need to start attesting to Meaningful Use. This will give you enough time to learn the system, train your staff and start using the EMR with live patients. That way, you can have all the kinks worked out by the time you start reporting.

Fully certified EMR software meets national standards for data exchange (interoperability) and is a requirement for Meaningful Use. If you choose to invest in a cheaper EMR, be careful. Having an uncertified product could cost you more in the long run. Not only will you miss out on Meaningful Use incentive payments, but you run the risk of not being able to exchange health records with other EMR users. This is something that will likely be emphasized more in Stages 2 and 3 of the Meaningful Use program.