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Cover Story: Roundup

Meaningful use entails more than EMR implementation The advent of meaningful-

Keith Slater, VP and GM, Henry Schein MicroMD

use requirements has compelled many practices to accelerate plans to implement an electronic medical record (EMR). In their rush, however, it’s vital they not overlook one critical point: ONC-ATCB- certifi ed EMR systems, in and of themselves, do not assure meaningful-use compliance or qualify practices for incentive

pay. While serving as an essential foundation, EMRs are simply tools. Practice leadership must ensure they’re being wielded appropriately to achieve the overarching objectives of the mandate. Here are three recommendations to facilitate meaningful-use success: 1. Construct the EMR implementation plan carefully. It certainly will encompass software installation and basic training. But to ensure long-term success with the EMR, the plan must also include specifi c training

in how system functionality supports meaningful- use efforts. This may include altering workfl ows or documentation habits so important data can be easily aggregated, reported and analyzed. 2. Engage clinical staff from day one. Involvement will drive adoption. More importantly, caregivers invited to help design necessary workfl ow changes will be more likely to follow the new approach – and accelerate progress towards achieving meaningful use. Offensive, proactive compliance is actually easier and will achieve compliance sooner rather than retrofi tting, reactive monitoring of clinician data entry. Documenting your organization’s policies and adopting EMR procedures to complement the policies is a best practice. 3. Monitor progress and provide “remedial training” if necessary. Go-live is not the end of the process; it’s just the beginning. Practices will need an ongoing strategy to check that information is being entered correctly. Because it will be tempting for providers to revert to familiar habits, it’s vital that concerns are identifi ed and corrected as soon as possible.

The devil is in the details: Providing electronic copies to patients

Steve Emery, director of product management, HealthPort

Release of information (ROI) is a hidden process in healthcare. Managed in health information management (HIM), the process consists of 32 steps, some of which are regulated by HIPAA and state law. Patients, attorneys, insurers and other third parties request records from HIM. Once a validated patient consent is

received, ROI professionals reproduce and release the records. Sounds simple, but the devil is in the details. Under meaningful use, ROI is a core objective for both hospitals and eligible professionals. We must support the process of providing patients with electronic copies of their health information upon their request. The process must provide those records within three business days. HealthPort, an ROI services provider, faced a potential dilemma under meaningful use. We already deliver

thousands of medical records to patients every day, and in electronic format. But our system is not an EHR. So we asked CMS whether a non-certifi ed software application or portal could be used to deliver copies of medical records; and whether a human-readable format is all that is needed to satisfy meaningful use. The answer was yes to both questions, as long as the information produced came from a certifi ed EHR. Not only is HealthPort the delivery medium, but we also tally meaningful-use results for our customers. Our challenge was to follow through with CMS to get the level of detail and interpretation we needed. In response to customer requests, HealthPort is currently in the process of certifying its ROI software as an EHR module.

ROI technology may or may not be an internal system. ROI staff may or may not be employees. However, you are required to deliver electronic copies to patients. In the end, HealthPort believes that by providing ROI software certifi cation, we can increase our customers’ peace of mind … for at least one of the core requirements.

Continued on page 14 12 April 2011 HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY

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