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● Roundup: MU

processes and make relevant information more readily available for patient care, measurement and decision support. Monitor and analyze continuously. If hospitals have al-

ready attested for MU Stage 1, they now have a baseline for establishing their next set of goals. Continuously monitoring performance of MU measures at both aggregate and detailed levels (by measure, physician, location or department) puts organizations in a position to identify performance improve- ment opportunities in time to act on them, while patients are still in the hospital. Bring information to the frontline. Providers meeting MU

requirements are well positioned to share helpful information with clinicians and staff . Visualization tools, such as dash- boards, engage and communicate data in a meaningful context to frontline staff to help them understand current status, assess the impact of improvement initiatives, recognize best practices and make better data-driven care decisions.


Earl Reber, executive director, eProtex Why many MU claims today are false Many healthcare providers who have at- tested to MU may have done so falsely, even if that was not their intent. In that case, they risk losing MU funds as the federal government is now

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performing both pre- and post-payment audits. A common oversight is the likely culprit that could land providers in hot water with both MU and HIPAA enforcers. I recently talked with a health system that received MU funds, but if auditors came knocking, the health system couldn’t tell them where all their ePHI (electronic protected health information) is located – a requirement of both MU attestation and the HIPAA Security Rule. T e provider knew they hadn’t fulfi lled that mandate and, in their words, had “a lot of heartburn” over it. You see, ePHI, MU and the HIPAA Security Rule are

fully intertwined. Compliance with one is impossible without addressing the others. Yet, the ePHI location mandate often goes unmet. Why? Unlike traditional computers, which receive plenty of attention from the hospital’s IT department, medical devices are unconventional, FDA-regulated machines that fall outside IT’s capabilities, partly due to FDA restrictions. Meanwhile, a growing number of medical devices – from oximeters to CT scanners – are collecting, storing and transmitting ePHI through your hospital’s network. Leave them out of risk assess- ments to your own detriment, and false MU attestation – with damage to your reputation and fi nances – is the likely result. Bottom line: Complete a thorough risk assessment that accounts for all ePHI residing in your network – including often-neglected medical devices.

Sanjiv Waghmare, VP and GM, Intuit Health Next-gen patient portals drive patient engagement MU Stage 2 mandates that organizations provide consumers with the ability to view, download and transmit data. T ese mandates

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off er great potential for patient portals that off er this advanced functionality. In community organizations, patient engagement can be increased through portals that allow patients to use a single sign-on to gather information from all providers, regard- less of how many HIT systems are used in that community. T ese portals are akin to banking software used today that enables consumers to access and aggregate data from multiple fi nancial institutions in one place. A portal successful at driving patient engagement would off er: • A single access point for aggregated data from multiple sources; • Ease of use and scalability; • Functionality to simplify key tasks (i.e. appointment scheduling, bill paying and secure two-way provider communication);

• An open and EHR-agnostic platform; • Patient education tools and resources; and • T e ability for third parties to easily integrate their solutions. T ese functions would save patients time, provide valuable insight into their health and serve as a vital link to support stronger patient-provider relationships. Provider offi ces will also benefi t from time-saving features by moving a variety of administrative transactions online. T rough this approach, providers would also be able to meet meaningful-use require- ments, improve patient satisfaction and support patient-centered care.

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David Bickford, Melissa Memorial Hospital From implementation to attestation Implementing an EHR and attesting for MU can be challenging for a critical-access hospital because of limited staff and resources,

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as well as high clinical variability associated with the setting. Despite these challenges, Melissa Memorial Hospital – a 15- bed critical access hospital located in rural Colorado – attested for Stage 1 MU in December 2012, only three months after fully implementing its EHR from NextGen Healthcare’s hos- pital solutions division. Melissa Memorial is using NextGen Inpatient Clinicals to achieve MU. Achieving this goal took careful planning and forethought.

T e organization worked on an MU attestation strategy in parallel with the EHR implementation, tracking MU criteria even before the EHR was fully in use. Before and during go-live, the hospital’s core team of users met twice per day to walk through virtual patient scenarios and handoff s. T is fostered teamwork between users and strengthened processes to eff ectively meet MU criteria. T e organization also relied heavily on the work of a super

user – a registered nurse who served as the point person for the attestation eff ort. T e nurse reviewed the organization’s MU dashboard daily to identify opportunities for improvement. She then met with staff members to talk about ways to tweak their use of the EHR to better meet MU criteria. By embedding these conversations into the nurse’s daily workfl ow, Melissa Memorial Hospital was able to foster transparency about the MU process and make real-time compliance improvements. To generate organization-wide enthusiasm for MU, Melissa Memorial Hospital’s board of directors developed an incentive


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