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Meaningful Use

Keys to understanding EHR adoption

Jumping into EHR technology too early may be painful and costly, but standing on the sidelines could be devastating.

By Troy Young F

or most medical practices in the U.S., imple- menting an electronic health record (EHR) is not a question of if; it is pretty much a fore- gone conclusion that electronic records in one form or another will dominate the future landscape of medicine.

The bigger challenge is weeding through the plethora of facts, claims, regulations (actual, proposed or ru- mored), incentives, standards, vendors and increasingly vocal patient demands to understand when and how to jump into the fray. Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that, for many practitioners, the fundamental question of why – and especially, why now – still begs a compelling answer.

Key #1: Don’t panic We recently met with a very busy solo practitioner who, like many in this situation, has a good basic understanding of what is happening with EHR but is simply too pressed for time just keeping up with patients and life to delve into the details. Her fear of making an EHR mistake was quickly becoming over- whelmed by the fear (with a little help from all the current media hype) of missing out on the government incentives. Her solution was to “jump in now before it’s too late.”

The good news is that there is no need to panic. Given current incentive phase-out schedules, there is plenty of time to make a methodical, well-founded decision. That doesn’t necessarily mean postponing the decision. It does mean you have time to assemble and consider all the facts and implications before mak- ing a decision.

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Moving to an electronic record is a non-trivial process for most practices. Learning and mastering it over time in lockstep with increasing requirements will be much easier than diving into the deep end in the year incentive requirements ratchet up.

Key #2: Get the facts Troy Young is chief architect, AdvancedMD Software.i T Y hi f hit t Ad dMD Sft

In this article, we offer four keys to understanding the EHR adoption landscape and how to plan your entry in a way that fi ts your specifi c situation and goals.

20 December 2010

An easy way to cut through the hype and get to the core issues with regard to implementing an EHR and maximizing incentives is to utilize an EHR incentive calculator (example is included at With just a few simple inputs derived from your

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