EHR Funding

Adopting Electronic Health Records – What’s the Incentive? Well, Money, of course.

Solo and small-practice physicians and dentists have had the lowest rate of the adoption of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Over 50% of physicians who had not adopted an EHR cited financial difficulties as the main reason for not participating in the nation-wide push towards the goals set forth in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA of 2009). Understanding the difficulties for small practices to invest in new technology and to adhere to new standards, the Federal Government set aside billions of dollars to award to physicians and dentists to help them achieve the goal of “interoperability”; which can only be reached if all health care professionals are using certified EHR systems.

The EHR Incentive Program is grant-like funding available to help off-set the cost of acquiring a certified EHR. Well over 1.3 billion dollars has already been distributed to physicians, dentists and other eligible professionals that chose to participate in the EHR Incentive Program. Each eligible professional that qualifies and applies for funding through the program receives $21,250 for their first year, and can receive up to $63,750 over the course of the 6-year program.

The goal of the EHR Incentive Program is to provide the financial means, especially for small practices, to meet the national goal of interoperability through the use of certified EHRs. Not only is a significant financial benefit offered for qualifying professionals, but EHRs themselves are designed to protect and expand the bottom line. EHRs are specifically designed to save you money and time- which is also money- and to encourage patient health with comprehensive digital records, prevention, drug interaction warnings, appointment reminders via text and e-mail as well as numerous additional benefits of advancing technologies embedded into EHRs.

Don’t miss your opportunity to get paid to save money and join the new age of health care. Let EHR Funding see if you qualify for Incentive Funding at no cost. If you qualify, we can help you file with your state and receive $21,250 per qualified and eligible professional. Call (714) 769 – 8300, or visit https://www.ehrfunding.com/prequalification-form/ for additional information.

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Why EHR’s Are Needed Part 2

Need for Improved Efficiency and Productivity

The goal is to have patient information available to anyone who needs it, when they need it and where they need it. With an EHR, lab results can be retrieved much more rapidly, thus saving time and money. It should be pointed out however, that reducing duplicated tests benefits the payers and patients and not clinicians so there is a misalignment of incentives. Moreover, an early study using computerized order entry showed that simply displaying past results reduced duplication and the cost of testing by only 13%. If lab or x-ray results are frequently missing, the implication is that they need to be repeated which adds to this country’s staggering healthcare bill. The same could be said for duplicate prescriptions. It is estimated that 31% of the United States $2.3 trillion dollar healthcare bill is for administration.EHRs are more efficient because they reduce redundant paperwork and have the capability of interfacing with a billing program that submits claims electronically. Consider what it takes to simply get the results of a lab test back to a patient using the old system. This might involve a front office clerk, a nurse and a physician. The end result is frequently placing the patient on hold or playing telephone tag. With an EHR, lab results can be forwarded via secure messaging or available for viewing via a portal. Electronic health records can help with productivity if templates are used judiciously. As noted, they allow for point and click histories and physical exams that in some cases may save time. Embedded clinical decision support is one of the newest features of a comprehensive EHR. Clinical practice guidelines, linked educational content and patient handouts can be part of the EHR. This may permit finding the answer to a medical question while the patient is still in the exam room. Several EHR companies also offer a centralized area for all physician approvals and signatures of lab work, prescriptions, etc. This should improve work flow by avoiding the need to pull multiple charts or enter multiple EHR modules.

Quality of Care and Patient Safety

As previously suggested, Electronic Health Records improve patient safety through many mechanisms:

(1) Improved legibility of clinical notes.

(2) Improved access anytime and anywhere

(3) Reduced duplication

(4) Reminders that tests or preventive services are overdue

(5) Clinical decision support that reminds clinicians about patient allergies, correct dosage of drugs, etc.

(6) Electronic problem summary lists provide diagnoses, allergies and surgeries at a glance.

The ability to receive information and respond to it quickly is vital. Based on internal data Kaiser Permanente determined that the drug Vioxx had an increased risk of cardiovascular events before that information was published based on its own internal data.Similarly, within 90 minutes of learning of the withdrawal of Vioxx from the market, the Cleveland Clinic queried its EHR to see which patients were on the drug. Within seven hours they deactivated prescriptions and notified clinicians via e-mail.

Quality reports are far easier to generate with an EHR compared to a paper chart that requires a chart review. Quality reports can also be generated from a data warehouse or health information organization that receives data from an EHR and other sources.Quality reports are the backbone for healthcare reform which are discussed further in another chapter.

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Why Electronic Health Records Are Needed. A Three Part Series

Why Electronic Health Records Are Needed. A Three Part Series

The following are the most significant reasons why our healthcare system would benefit from the widespread transition from paper to electronic health records.

Paper Records Are Severely Limited

Much of what can be said about handwritten prescriptions can also be said about handwritten office notes. Most doctor’s handwriting is illegible and the document cannot be electronically shared or stored. It is not structured data that is computable and hence sharable with other computers and systems. Other shortcomings of paper: expensive to copy, transport and store; easy to destroy; difficult to analyze and determine who has seen it; and the negative impact on the environment. Electronic health records represent a quantum leap forward in legibility and the ability to rapidly retrieve information. Almost every industry is now computerized and digitized for rapid data retrieval and trend analysis. Look at the stock market or companies like Walmart or Federal Express. Why not the field of medicine?

With the relatively recent healthcare models of pay-for-performance, patient centered medical home model and accountable care organizations there are new reasons to embrace technology in order to aggregate and report results in order to receive reimbursement. It is much easier to retrieve and track patient data using Electronic Health Records and patient registries than to use labor intensive paper chart reviews. Electronic Health Records are much better organized than paper charts, allowing for faster retrieval of lab or x-ray results. Electronic Health Records also have an electronic problem summary list that outlines a patient’s major illnesses, surgeries, allergies and medications. How many times have you opened a large paper chart, only to have loose lab results fall out? How many times have you had to re-order a test because the results or the chart is missing? It is important to note that paper charts are missing as much as 25% of the time, according to one study. Even if the chart is available; specifics are missing in 13.6% of patient encounters, according to another study.

The table below shows the types of missing information and its frequency. According to the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, 20% of laboratory tests are re-ordered because previous studies are not accessible.This statistic has great patient safety, productivity and financial implications.

Types and frequencies of missing information

Information Missing During Patient Visits % Visits
Lab results 45%
Letters/dictations 39%
Radiology results 28%
History and physical exams 27%
Pathology results 15%

Electronic health records allow easy navigation through the entire medical history of a patient. Instead of pulling paper chart volume 1 of 3 to search for a lab result, it is simply a matter of a few mouse clicks. Another important advantage is the fact that the record is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and doesn’t require an employee to pull the chart, nor extra space to store it. Adoption of electronic health records has saved money by decreasing full time equivalents (FTEs) and converting records rooms into more productive space, such as exam rooms. Importantly, electronic health records are accessible to multiple healthcare workers at the same time, at multiple locations. While a billing clerk is looking at the electronic chart, the primary care physician and a specialist can be analyzing clinical information simultaneously. Moreover, patient information should be available to physicians on call so they can review records on patients who are not in their panel. Lastly, electronic health records provide clinical decision support such as alerts and reminders.

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How To Get the Most Out Of Electronic Health Records

Electronic Health Records and save time and money for your practice. By increasing productivity for your staff and reducing the amount of time people spend in your office. Use these tips to get the most out of your investment.

– Enable staff to get meaning from the data. Having the data is necessary but not sufficient. Physicians need to understand the full history of the patient without having to dig through tons of records. Software needs to do the work of delivering the essential patient narrative.

– Activate clinical intelligence. Make data extractable at the optimal time in the clinical workflow. A lot of data stays in the record but is never utilized because it is located in multiple places in the record. This leads to sub-optimal patient outcomes and over-utilization of resources.

– Learn from your encounters. Implement a technology that helps you get better and better. Make sure to find an EHR that will be easy to implement and easy to use.

– Combat medical errors. Use EHRs to catch potential issues in advance. Look for risk factors associated with the particular procedure (such as metal in the body for an MRI) and improve patient safety. This type of advance planning eliminates last minute cancellations that could have been avoided.

– Eliminate repeat tests and associated costs. As much as a third of healthcare spending in the US is due to unnecessary procedures and tests. Many physicians may be unaware that the same test had been ordered a few weeks or months prior to the patient’s visit. Insurance companies do not necessarily pay for the second test. Awareness of prior tests and procedures is critical to reduce costs and burden on the patient.

– Find clinical documentation to support the reimbursement level you deserve. Reimbursement is increasingly tied to proper documentation of diagnoses and procedures.

If you have not yet installed and EHR system in your office and you are trying to figure out how to get the funding needed to get it going. Give EHR Funding a call today and we will set you on the right track. Our government funding specialists are here to help you get the funding needed from the HI-Tech act. Give us a call today at 866-203-3260.

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States Trying To Increase Patient Access To EHRs

A portion of an investment approaching $1 billion, made by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will go toward stimulating the practice of tele health and increasing patient access to EHRs.

An Accenture report analyzes how states that created State Health Innovation Plans as part of CMS’ State Innovation Models Initiative are planning to assign the funds supplied to them and where they stand in the development process. CMS doled out money in two stages. First, in 2013, they awarded nearly $300 million to 25 states for plotting and developing an innovation plan. In 2014, 28 states, three territories and Washington D.C. received a sum of $660 million to design and test their plans.

The Accenture report examined the 25 states that were part of the first round of the State Innovation Models Initiative and found that 19 intend to increase use of virtual care technology, including remote patient monitoring and tele health. Nearly two-thirds of the states will attempt to involve a larger number of patients in their care by offering them patient portals and increasing their ability to view their EHRs. For example, patients in Delaware will be able to use mobile applications to view their EHRs and assess care options.

More than half (14) of the participating states are going to deploy analytics to increase their knowledge of population health, reduce care redundancy and combine analysis of health data and human services data. Analyzing both of those data sets will help create more opportunities for preventive care, such as wellness programs, and may reduce the long-term cost of patient treatment.

Each of the 25 states will invest in patient-centered medical homes, with a focus on improving primary care integration with specialists. All 25 will also devote some of their funds to hire lower-cost community health workers in an effort to place more of the cost of care on more specialized caregivers.

The idea of giving your patients more access to the health records through EHRs is not only a great idea but will save you time, money and staff. If you have decided it’s time to upgrade to an her and need help with funding assistance give EHR Funding a call today at 866-203-3260 and a funding specialist will be able to walk you through the process.

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Why Patient EHR Portals Can Lead To Better Health

Though many doctors maybe late to the party, this year patients can expect more doctors to join banks, credit card companies, insurance companies and probably even supermarkets and hairdressers in connecting with their clients/patients online, according to Consumer Reports.

As a doctor it is your duty to give your patients the best access to care and their information as possible. By having your patients actively monitor their electronic health records you can cut down on visits which saves your practice time and money.

• Portals put your health in your patient’s hands. Ehr’s and patient portals “break down the hierarchical doctor-patient relationship, where the patient’s health information goes to the doctor and the doctor controls when and how the patient sees it,” says Dr. Julie Hollberg, chief medical information officer at Emory Health Care in Atlanta. “The hope is that portals will engage patients in their own health care and change the relationship to more of a patient-provider partnership.”

Managing chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and congestive heart failure is easier when doctors and patients have access to the same data. A study by Kaiser Permanente researchers found that patients with diabetes who emailed their doctors received better care compared with those who didn’t. And just being able to access their health data whenever they want can help them remember details about their health or improve understanding.

• They’re convenient. You can get the information you need when it’s convenient. Avoiding phone tag — either when a patient is setting an appointment or getting information — is another perk. Depending on the ehr system you chose to use, all emails may go to administrative staff members, who then direct them to the appropriate person or department. Or patients may be able to send emails individually to the front desk for appointments, your nurse or assistant for prescription refills, the billing office if they have a payment question or directly to you the doctor.

• Accurate records. Patients remember less than half of what they’re told in the office or on the phone, experts say. But if the information is in their electronic health record or an email, they can read it, digest it and refer back to it when needed. If they spot any errors, they can alert your office.

• Faster feedback. Under the government guidelines, lab results must be posted in the patient portal within 96 hours of the office receiving them, whether you have seen the results or not. That means no more patients waiting for your call with results or sending them to your patients by snail mail. It also eliminates the practice some doctors have of notifying patients only if something is wrong or just leaving patients with a vague “everything looks good.”

• More rewarding visits. It may seem impersonal, but online interactions can improve the doctor-patient relationship, Consumer Reports says. Portals let patients stay in touch with doctors more frequently. It can even “extend” the office visit. Patient portals are not meant to replace face-to-face visits, though. Even for the most tech-savvy patient, there will always be times when that office visit or phone call is best. Those options aren’t going away.

If you are looking to upgrade from your old paper records to electronic health records and you want to know more about the government subsidies that are offered by the HiTech act give EHR Funding a call today at 866-203-3260.

Why Make The EHR Switch?

Electronic health records, or EHRs, are the computer-based equivalent of paper records. Rather than depending on paper charts to store your patient information, EHRs are digitized, and can be accessed onscreen from a variety of locations.

There are many reasons why electronic health records have the advantage over paper records for your practice.

Accuracy: Sometimes, an incomplete record can be just as dangerous as no record at all. This is why it’s so important that a patient’s record be as complete as possible. EHRs allow for the most complete patient record possible, with all disparate information (such as lab and radiology test results, blood work, treatment plans, prescriptions, and allergies) to be consolidated and accessible.

Efficiency: When a new healthcare provider can easily access information from the referring physician, patients no longer need to rely on memory to fill out pages of detailed background information about their medical histories.

Coordinating care: Most people see more than one doctor to manage their health. Those dealing with chronic conditions often visit many. Providers communicating directly with each other while caring for a patient can make better informed decisions as to treatment.

Repeated procedures: From x-rays to blood work to MRIs, when a provider is unaware that test results already exist, or cannot access them easily, they often must repeat them. With electronic health records, providers can look up a patient’s most recent lab results, reducing unnecessary retesting, and saving a significant amount of time and money.

Patient safety: In an emergency, a matter of seconds can save a life. Fast, remote access to a patient’s allergies, medical history, and possible drug interactions can make all the difference.

Patients have access to their own records: With electronic records, it’s much easier for patients to view their own health records. NYeC is one such place that is developing a Patient Portal for New Yorkers which will enable patients to securely view and update their health information and better take charge of their health.

Review the infographic below to see how using EHRs will increase productivity for your practice as well as making your patients happy and healthy. Call EHR Funding today at 866-203-3260onc_consumer_infographic_500pxl

Electronic Health Records VS Paper Records

If you have not started looking into switching from paper records to Electronic Health Records now might be the right time to. If you need funding to help with your switch give EHR Funding a call today at 866-203-3260 today and speak with one of our funding specialists.

See how switching could save your practice money and time

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Why Do I Need An EHR Program For My Office?

The EHR incentive program was developed in large part with a focus on the solo health care practitioners. There is much consensus that moving to an EHR system can be instrumental in improving patient health care quality on the grand scale. However, it was well acknowledged by legislators, consumer groups and others that without a serious incentive program, many providers just wouldn’t find it worth their time to invest in an EHR and integrate the system into their practice. The EHR incentive program is an attempt to give providers an additional incentive to make the transition.

It is accurate that the meaningful use criteria and program requirements are not simple. Just purchasing an EHR will not mean that a provider will obtain an incentive bonus. Providers will have to demonstrate that they are using their EHR system to benefit the patient and meet the many requirements delineated by the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, the program requirements will become more intensive in the coming years. However, much of the responsibility for keeping up with these changes will fall to the EHR vendors.

Many health care providers have found that electronic health records (EHRs) help improve medical practice management by increasing their practices efficiency and cost savings.

A national survey of doctors who are ready for meaningful use offers important evidence:

  • 79% of providers report that with an EHR, their practice functions more efficiently
  • 82% report that sending prescriptions electronically (e-prescribing) saves time

These savings are primarily attributed to automating several time-consuming paper-driven and labor-intensive tasks that normally you the physician or your office staff have to take care of.

  • Reduced transcription costs
  • Reduced chart pull, storage, and re-filing costs
  • Improved and more accurate reimbursement coding with improved documentation for highly compensated codes
  • Reduced medical errors through better access to patient data and error prevention alerts
  • Improved patient health/quality of care through better disease management and patient education

EHRs can reduce the amount of time you the provider spends doing paperwork. EHR-enabled medical practices report seeing improved medical practice management through integrated scheduling systems that link appointments directly to progress notes, automate coding, and managed claims

Administrative tasks, such as filling out forms and processing billing requests, represent a significant percentage of health care costs. EHRs can increase practice efficiencies by streamlining these tasks, significantly decreasing costs.

In addition, EHRs can deliver more information in additional directions. EHRs can be programmed for enhanced communication with other clinicians, labs, and health plans through:

  • Easy access to patient information from anywhere
  • Tracking electronic messages to staff, other clinicians, hospitals, labs, etc.
  • Automated formula checks by health plans
  • Order and receipt of lab tests and diagnostic images
  • Links to public health systems such as registries and communicable disease database

By having electronic health records set up in your practice, you can save time and money by

  • The reduction of time and resources needed for manual charge entry resulting in more accurate billing and reduction in lost charges
  • Enhanced ability to meet important regulation requirements such as Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI) through alerts that notify physicians to complete key regulatory data elements
  • Reduction in charge lag days and vendor/insurance denials associated with late filing
  • Charge review edits alerting physicians if a test can be performed only at a certain frequency
  • Alerts that prompt providers to obtain Advance Beneficiary Notice, minimizing claim denials and lost charges related to Medicare procedures performed without Advance Beneficiary Notice

It’s time for you and your practice to take advantage of the government incentives that are out there and switch over to EHRs that not only benefit you as a provider, but your patients as well giving them better control over their health care. Give EHR Funding a call today and a government funding specialist will be able to get your practice on the right track to compliance and incentive funding to pay for these upgrades, as well. Call 866-203-3260 today.

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How switching to an EHR Helps You’re Nursing Staff

As of January 1, 2014 a federal mandate required that all public and private healthcare providers transition to digital record keeping. The move stemmed mostly from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which offered incentives to healthcare providers that could demonstrate “meaningful use” of electronic heath records (EHR). According to HealthIT.gov, meaningful use includes improving quality, safety efficiency, and reducing health disparities. It also includes engaging patients and families, improving care coordination, and maintaining privacy and security of patient health information.

While we know what EHRs mean for healthcare facilities in terms of implementation, what does this change mean for nurses? Electronic health records directly affect nurses’ jobs on a daily basis and adapting to the new technology may be a matter of sink or swim in terms of their careers. A study in the Online Journal of Issues in Nursing by Carol Huston MSN, DPA, FAAN found that emerging technologies will greatly impact the future of nursing, including the skills nurses will need to remain successful in the industry. Huston states, “The capacity to manage human knowledge, and to convert it into useful products and services, is fast becoming the ‘critical’ leader skill of the age.” She goes on to write, “Computers will also continue to play a significant role in knowledge acquisition and distribution. In a profession where knowledge doubles every six years, nurses can no longer be the keeper of knowledge. Instead, they must become the master of collecting and sharing that knowledge with others.”

While the main goal of EHRs is to deliver better coordinated care by allowing doctors and nurses to access a patient’s medical history whether they show up in the ER or switch doctors’ offices without transferring their medical records. It also ensures patient data is backed up securely so that in the event of natural disasters or if you are in an accident, doctors can properly treat you. Overall, EHRs bring about a number of positive changes to the healthcare industry, but how does this translate to the day-to-day tasks of a nurse?

Nurses that are currently in school working towards their degree will most likely receive hands on training and experience with EHRs, but seasoned nurses who are already in the field, will need to adapt on the job. Doctor Aaron E. Glatt of Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre, Long Island knows firsthand that nurses will need to adapt to the changing landscape of healthcare. “Nurses will be taught the skills they need when the hospital implements the [Electronic Health Records (EHR)], but it’s crucially important for nurses to embrace the technology rather than saying ‘no this is not for me’.” And adapting could mean a matter of whether or not nurses will continue to succeed in the healthcare industry. “If nurses aren’t actively interested in adapting to the new technologies, they’re going to find themselves not marketable,” states Glatt.

With the transition to EHRs, what will healthcare companies do in order to help nurses achieve an understanding of electronic health records and create systems that make their jobs easier, rather than more difficult? Nurses already have hectic fast paced jobs, so it stands to question whether or not EHRs will slow nurses down, forcing them to input data rather than simply writing it out by hand. Dr. Glatt states that to avoid this, hospitals should include nurses and make sure they are a critical part of the development and implementation of EHRs, and that by doing so, they will be able to create systems that help make nurses’ lives easier, rather than harder. “Nurses need to be involved in the implementation of technology,” says Dr. Glatt, “the best nurses we have and the nurses who stepped up to the plate were active in forming the new templates and forming the new way we will be entering and documenting patient information.”

And the adaption of electronic health records will bring new vital skills to the role of nursing as well as new jobs. “New jobs will emerge, the more skills you have, the more attractive a person becomes for any openings or promotions,” says Dr. Glatt. He also feels that the more willing nurses are to adapt to new technology, and the more they embrace it, the more valuable they will become in the healthcare industry. The more valuable nurses become, the more opportunities will open up to them, as long as they have the skills and expertise to grow within the industry.

Nurses shouldn’t feel as though the need to adapt to technology is negative, either. It can help make their lives easier if they embrace the cutting edge technology. While Dr. Glatt admits that sometimes it can be “cumbersome” to input data, by raising safety and quality standards, it will help improve nurses day-to-day. “Barcodes make it harder to make mistakes or input errors that might have been done in the past if. If you have a good EMR and a full robust technology, it will sometimes be more difficult to learn and difficult to use, but overall it’s better to have it entered into the computer where it’s clean and it’s neat and can easily be recovered. That extra time and effort will pay off in the long run.”

If your office is interested in getting help to pay for acquiring Electronic Health Records then please give us a call today at 866-203-3260 today and speak with one or our representatives.