Ehr Funding

Engage Your Patients More With Electronic Health Records

Federal incentives such as meaningful use are increasing patients’ access to their Electronic Health Records and encouraging greater engagement in their own care. That’s a good thing since Electronic Health Records can have errors in them.  Having a “second pair of eyes” on the Electronic Health Records can help improve the quality of the information that providers use to make clinical decisions. Patients, after all, know the most about their health and want to make sure their doctors have the most accurate information about them.

Results from a Geisinger Health System study, demonstrate that patients can be effectively engaged online to improve the quality of the information in their Electronic Health Records — helping to spot errors such as outdated information and omissions such as medications prescribed by another provider. The pilot study invited patients to provide online feedback, via a patient portal, on the accuracy of their medication list in advance of a visit to their provider.

The results:

  • Patients are eager to provide feedback on their medication list – 30 percent of patient feedback forms were completed and in 89 percent of cases, patients requested changes to their medication record.
  • Patient feedback is accurate and useful – on average, patients had 10.7 medications listed, with 2.4 requested changes. In 68 percent of cases, the pharmacist made changes to the medication list in the electronic health record based on the patient’s feedback.

As health information exchange grows, there is the potential for erroneous information to be perpetuated. There is also greater opportunity for patients to help clean up that data. And they want to help. A 2010 survey by the California Healthcare Foundation found that “making sure information is correct” is the most useful feature of a personal health record.

Nevertheless, most institutions do not proactively solicit feedback from patients about their Electronic Health Records. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) provides individuals with the right to request an amendment to information in their record but the mechanism for providing feedback is not yet institutionalized in healthcare the way it is in other industries. The report points out that healthcare could learn a lot from other industries like financial institutions and e-commerce about how to develop effective processes for gathering and responding to user feedback.

There is a growing evidence base that supports giving patient’s greater access to their information as a first step towards engaging them as equal partners in their care. Patients who were given access to their doctors’ notes reported they do better in taking their meds. Findings from the Geisinger pilot further demonstrate the value that patients can provide when they are invited to participate more fully in their care.

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.

EHR Funding

Quick Tips for Successful EHR Adoption

Meaningful Use incentives and other industry changes are spurring a rapid wave of EHR adoption. The right EHR can help get your practice more money, more time, and more control – enabling you to focus on patient care.

Who’s Afraid of Electronic Health Records?

Uneasy about switching to electronic health records (EHRs)? You are not alone.

Many physician practices are troubled by the huge upfront costs many EHRs require – hardware, software, interfaces, and IT support – without a clear return on investment (ROI).

Practices also worry about disruption during EHR implementation. They could face a forced reduction in patient load during the transition to an EHR. For some, this could lead to a permanent reduction in revenue. On top of that, providers fear that EHR implementation will take too much time away from seeing patients, slow them down, and always be difficult to use.

An article in the Boston Globe under the headline “Doctors not in stampede to go digital” portrayed the angst among physicians about giving up their trusted and outdated paper charts. Despite billions in federal money to incent doctors to go digital, many providers remain reluctant.

“EHRs are quite complex and controversial, and a lot more expensive than they would seem on the surface,” a Massachusetts-based internist told the paper. To him, they seem like enough trouble that he’s even willing to forfeit the HITECH Act subsidy the government is offering.

This article confirms the fact that despite widespread use of information technology in other sectors, physicians don’t see the long-term value of electronic conversion.

But the right EHR – especially as part of an integrated solution with practice management and patient communications services–can dramatically boost the efficiency and profitability of medical groups, while improving patient care. And when done right, EHR implementation can be a smooth and practice- strengthening process.

Time to Switch to an EHR?

For years, experts have praised EHRs for their potential to improve patient care, reduce medical error and contain costs in the American health care system. The goal is for all physicians to begin using EHRs over the next decade and $19.2 billion has been committed through the HITECH Act to make this a reality.

The Right EHR Can Transform Your Practice

More than just making a practice eligible for HITECH Act reimbursement, the right EHR – implemented successfully and optimized for your practice – can have major advantages for patient care, profitability, and practice personnel. In the NEJM study, an overwhelming majority of physicians said that using electronic records improved the quality of clinical decisions, helped to avoid medication errors, and improved the delivery of preventative care.

Ultimately, the right EHR can help your practice operate seamlessly among all of your affiliated hospitals, clinics, labs, and pharmacies. It helps your providers have a current, accurate, and complete clinical picture of each patient, so they can make the most appropriate clinical decisions. And the right EHR helps the practice manage the business side of things, enabling it to run more effectively and profitably.

Specifically, the right EHR can support:

  • Stronger practice profitability. With more accurate clinical documentation, a practice can bill at appropriate service levels. It can gain workflow efficiencies that contain or reduce the costs of delivering care.
  • Better patient care. Improved access to patient information and clinical data could mean reduced medical errors, better patient safety, and stronger support for clinical decision making.
  • Process integrity. An EHR can help get things done the right way, at the right time, and the same way each time – all based on best practice workflows.
  • Provider and staff satisfaction. A successfully implemented EHR can strengthen the practice team, provide more time for direct patient care, and reduce administrative burdens.
  • Practice growth. Access to clinical and financial data gives the practice greater control over and visibility into practice operations, which provide direction for growth.

How to Achieve Success with an EHR

In a nutshell: Practices that achieve success with an EHR plan correctly and choose the right vendor.The right planning includes four steps: assessment and goal-setting, creating a budget and project team, managing change, and redesigning practice workflow. But planning alone is not enough for a successful EHR implementation. You need to find the right EHR vendor – one that provides excellent service over the long term, and offers a system with a proven return on investment (ROI).

 Better Way to EHR Adoption

EHR adoption does require hard work and careful planning. But with the insights here, your practice is well-equipped to find and implement the right EHR – for stronger revenue, better patient care, and minimal disruption. In the long term, if you’ve done the right planning and selected the right vendor, your practice will enjoy substantial cost efficiencies so you can focus on what matters most – patient care.

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.

Electronic Health Records

FAQ about Electronic Health Records.

Q: What is the Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Program?
A: The American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009 has permitted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to grant incentive payments for healthcare providers who utilize certified EHR technology and demonstrate meaningful use of that technology.

Q: What is the goal behind the EHR Program?
A: There’s more behind this program than urging you the providers to go paperless. The intent behind the EHR incentive program is to standardize healthcare records to a state of consistency that their format can be shared among all healthcare providers and improve overall patient care. With this incentive program, states are required to create health information exchanges, which permit patient information to be exchanged electronically between healthcare providers. With a health information exchange in place, healthcare providers can access patient medical history and current medications. This reduces the redundancy of services and saves money for both you and the patient.

Q: Why is our government paying healthcare providers to utilize Electronic Health Records technology?
A: The intent of the program is to offset the costs of implementation of certified EHR technology and incentivize providers to use EHRs to achieve benchmarks that can lead to improved patient care, including decreases in provider error and a decrease in mortality.

Q: Does my practice management software qualify as an Electronic Health Record?
A: Unfortunately, practice management software doesn’t qualify as an electronic health record, unless it is ONC-ATCB certified. CMS and ONC-ATCB have established standards and criteria for a form of structured data that EHRs must use in order to be useful. It is necessary to use certified software to create an ease of exchange of information. Structured data allows information to be more easily retrieved and transferred between providers, and it permits the provider to use the EHR in ways that can aid and improve the quality of patient care.

Q: How much money can I get from the government Electronic Health Records Incentive Program?
A: If you participate in all six years of the incentive program and meet all of the yearly requirements, you can earn up to $63,750. Medicaid offers $21,250 for the first year of participation to offset the initial cost of an EHR system implementation. For your second through sixth year of participation, Medicaid offers providers $8,500 for each year that they meet the criteria of meaningful use. The last year to sign up for the program and receive the full amount of the incentive is 2016.

Q: Am I required to participate in all six years of the program? Do I have to pay back the money if I drop out of the program?
A: If you are a dental provider, you are permitted to voluntarily pull out of the program without penalties. In order to prevent being penalized, a provider must show proof that you made an effort in good faith to implement the EHR program into your practice before dropping out of the program, with documentation of that effort.

Q: Do I have to tell the government how I spent my incentive money?
A:  No. There is no requirement for eligible professionals as to how you must spend your incentive money if you qualified for the Medicaid EHR Incentive program, so long as you have demonstrated that you are using a certified EHR meaningfully.

Q: What does Meaningful Use mean? What are the requirements of meaningful use?
A: Meaningful use means providing proof to CMS that you are using your EHRs in ways that positively affect patient care. Providers must meet the objectives established by CMS for this program. These Meaningful Use requirements are set forth in three stages that must be met over six years of participation in the program. Each stage is intended to achieve certain outcomes, which include data sharing, advanced clinical processes, and improved patient outcomes.

Interested in learning more? Call EHR Funding today and see what we can do to get your practice on the fast track to EHR implementation. (866) 203-3260

Juanita-Hogan-certified-school-nurse

Electronic Health Records Helps School Nurses Coordinate Care for Children

Imagine this: A third grade boy diagnosed with Sickle-cell disease wakes up during the night experiencing severe pain in his chest.  His father alerts the pediatrician that he and his son are on their way to the emergency room of a hospital near their home. The pediatrician phones the emergency room to say her patient will arrive soon. The boy receives treatment in the ER and is admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of acute chest syndrome. Within three days, this student returns to school.

End of story? More like the beginning.

Fortunately, this student’s school nurse knew what recently transpired in this critical health episode because the parent alerted her electronically. With parent permission, the school nurse electronically accesses the student’s health record where she can view the care instructions after the student is discharged. This access enables the school nurse to reinforce those care instructions and to plan for the student’s health and safety needs while in school.

Does this sound like a glimpse into the future?  In some places, the future has arrived! Care providers and school nurses collaborate with families and students to allow for true integration of care for children and adolescents.

School nurses provide care coordination for students by linking primary health-care providers, specialists, support services, and families. School nurses practice with education and health professionals to meet student health needs.  When students transition from hospital to home and school and from dependent to independent management of their chronic disease, school nurses lead the way in coordination so that gaps in care are identified and filled.

Electronic health records (EHRs) are essential for the school nurse to provide efficient and effective care in the school and monitor the health of the entire student population. EHRs allow school nurses to be more efficient and identify data trends quicker. It is the school nurse’s role to collaborate with school administrators to ensure that EHR use meets the highest quality standards for the safety and protection of student, family and staff information. EHRs in the school setting provide a means of integrating health and educational data in a way that addresses the needs of children at risk for poor health or academic outcomes.

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.

EHR Funding

What Are the Goals of Health IT and EHRs?

The overall goal of health IT is to improve safety and the quality of patient outcomes. The promise of fully implemented EHRs is having a single record including all of a patient’s health information: a record that is up to date, complete, and accurate. By implementing electronic health records in your office it will put you, the health care provider, in a position to work better to make the most informed decisions about your patient’s care.

Providers who utilize EHRs report noticeable improvements in their ability to make decisions with more unified information. EHR use can give health care providers:

  • Complete patient information – This enables providers to make the best decisions, by providing the information they need to evaluate a patient’s condition in the context of the patient’s health and treatment history.
  • Emergency Care – In a crisis, EHRs can provide access to a patient’s medical history, allergies, and medication. This enables health care providers to make decisions sooner, instead of waiting for test results.
  • Improved Care Coordination –EHR use permits health care providers to provide coordinated health care for patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions.
  • Improved Information Sharing – EHR use allows patients and their families to participate in decisions about their health care.

EHRs are also useful for flagging potentially dangerous drug interactions and allergies, and lets physicians explore alternatives before a serious problem occurs. You the physician can verify medications and dosages, reducing the need for risky tests and procedures. This could save you the physician and the patient a lot of time and money.

Interested in learning more? Call EHR Funding today and see what we can do to get your practice on the fast track to EHR implementation. (866) 203-3260

Young Nurse Tending to Young Woman with Neck Brace and Arm Cast

Improving Patient Care With Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

Studies have shown the benefits received by nurses when electronic health records are implemented by hospitals. Such systems generally improve nursing documentation, reduce the number of medication errors, and improve the sense of satisfaction nurses have in the work environments. A recent study found that nurses who work in an environment with a fully implemented EHR are less likely to report poor patient safety compared to their peers working in environments without EHRs.

© Copyright 2011 CorbisCorporation

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania surveyed 16,362 nurses working in 316 hospitals in four states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California and Florida. The researches asked nurses about their patient outcomes and workload, as well as the patient safety of their hospital culture utilizing items from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. Only 7 percent of the 316 hospitals had a basic HER system functioning on all patient care units.

The nurses at hospitals with EHRs were notably less likely to report negative outcomes compared to nurses working in hospitals without implemented EHRs. Fewer nurses reported medication errors, poor confidence in a patient being prepared for discharge, and poor patient quality at fully implemented hospitals. There was also a 14 percent decrease in the odds of reporting things that “fell between the cracks” during patient transfer. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS18534) supported the study in part.

Want to improve your patient safety? Are you ready to reap the benefits of EHR use? Contact EHR Funding today at 866-203-3260. We would be glad to assist you and answer any questions you have about how your practice can qualify for government assistance.

(Source: Electronic health records improve nursing care, coordination, and patient safety: Research Activities, May 2012, No. 381. May 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. )

Save-Money-1-537x402

What Savings Can my Practice Expect by Moving to EHRs

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
  • 68% of providers see their EHR as an asset with recruiting physicians
  • 75% receive lab results faster
  • 70% report enhances in data confidentiality

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
  • Paper prescriptions can get lost or misread. With electronic prescribing (e-prescribing), doctors communicate directly with the pharmacy. An e-prescribing system can save lives (by reducing medication errors and checking for drug interactions), lower costs, and improve care. It is more convenient, cheaper for doctors and pharmacies, and safer for patients. In short, e-prescribing is an important, high-visibility component of progress in health information exchange.
  • Because EHRs contain all of a patient’s health information in one place, it is less likely that you the provider will have to spend time ordering—and reviewing the results of—unnecessary or duplicate tests and medical procedures. Less utilization means fewer costs.

Electronic Health Records Create More Efficient Practices and Reduce Paperwork

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

How Will Having EHRs Have an Effect on My Revenue?

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.

EHR Funding

Don’t Wait for EHRs to Become Mandatory

The question that should be on the minds of most doctors isn’t whether to switch your practice over from paper records to electronic health records, it should be when. Eventually it will be more than just a good idea; it will be virtually mandatory as EHRs start to be implemented by state health legislations for anyone who wished to continue practicing medicine across all specialties.

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, a part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), provides an unprecedented opportunity and financial motivation for providers to adopt new health information technology. Under terms of the act, doctors are eligible to receive incentive payments for converting to electronic health records (EHR)—provided your office meets the federal requirements by adopting a certified EHR product and then continuing to use the certified EHR meaningfully in your practice.

True certified EHR systems differ from mere electronic record-keeping and digital note-taking systems. True certified EHRs contain all the health records of a patient—including radiology and lab reports and narrative reports generated by outside specialists. Certified EHRs can organize multiple pieces of data in ways that improve patient care and help you, the doctor, manage an entire population of patients. You might sort your patient roster to see who his high cholesterol, for example. Were all of those patients given home exercises? Nutrition recommendations? If not, you can e-mail them now with appropriate recommendations without scheduling an additional office visit. Is there a contraindication in prescribing a medication based on information from a different office visit at another doctor’s office? A certified EHR would allow you to see this as well as pass along your recommendations and diagnoses to future health care professionals treating your patient.

Just as important, EHRs will be able to connect to the nationwide data bank of health information making treatment more effective and less redundant. The systems will be interoperable, and records of the treatments patients have received elsewhere will be immediately accessible.

What’s more, pertinent bodies such as the CDC and WHO will have HIPAA-compliant access to this information, too. “Now we can demonstrate outcomes,” says Dr. Kraus. “All the data is there in the EHR. We can prove the effectiveness on a much more global scale. Rather than a study with 300 patients, now we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of patients’ data that we can study.” This translates to a better health care system, and healthier patients.

Although electronic health records are not yet mandatory nationwide, states like Minnesota have already implemented the first step and mandated that by 2015 all health care providers must have certified EHRs in place. 5+ other states are also arguing implementing a certified EHR mandate as everyone starts to get on board with the improved health care vision set forth.

The questions is not a matter of if EHRs will be mandated nationwide, but a matter of when. Take advantage of the government incentives that are out there for your practice to 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.

top-benefits

The Key Benefits of Electronic Health Records.

Medical professionals in the United States have invested in some of the most advanced diagnostic equipment in the world, but when it comes to keeping track of patients’ medical histories, doctors and hospitals still rely primarily on pen and paper. Members of both political parties champion converting all of that paperwork into a comprehensive system of electronic health records, and the government is finally providing incentives to make that dream a reality. The 2009 stimulus bill supplied funding for doctors and hospitals to upgrade their record-keeping systems, and President Obama has expressed that he’d like every American to have an electronic health record by 2015 [source: Pear]. Why would the government make this investment? Analysts predict that electronic health records could save the U.S. billions of dollars in health care spending, and their use has been linked to better patient care. Here are five examples of what those savings and better health outcomes might look like.

All right, this seems like an obvious one — if your medical record is electronic, then of course there’d be less paperwork, right? But take a minute to think about the ramifications of fewer file drawers. Currently, every time you see a new doctor, you fill out a sheaf of papers. But with access to an electronic health record, your doctor will already have information about any medications you take, the results of any lab tests you’ve ever had and any health issues you’re facing. Doctors and nurses won’t have to pull charts and transcribe information, so they could possibly have more time and more meaningful interactions with patients. And surely you’ve heard jokes about doctors’ bad handwriting? No longer will nurses or patients waste time trying to figure out a doctor’s orders, since he or she will use a computer or electronic device to make them. That benefit is key to the next item on our list, as well.

Less Paperwork

All right, this seems like an obvious one — if your medical record is electronic, then of course there’d be less paperwork, right? But take a minute to think about the ramifications of fewer file drawers. Currently, every time you see a new doctor, you fill out a sheaf of papers. But with access to an electronic health record, your doctor will already have information about any medications you take, the results of any lab tests you’ve ever had and any health issues you’re facing. Doctors and nurses won’t have to pull charts and transcribe information, so they could possibly have more time and more meaningful interactions with patients. And surely you’ve heard jokes about doctors’ bad handwriting? No longer will nurses or patients waste time trying to figure out a doctor’s orders, since he or she will use a computer or electronic device to make them. That benefit is key to the next item on our list, as well.

Fewer Prescription Drug Errors

When a doctor prescribes new medication to a patient, he or she will do so electronically so that it shows up on the person’s medical record. The electronic record-keeping system is equipped to compare that medication to the patient’s medical history, and it will send an alert to the doctor if the new prescription could cause allergic reactions in the patient or interact negatively with other medications that the patient takes. In this way, the electronic health record provides a check on the doctor’s work and prevents medical errors before they happen, reducing hospitalization rates related to adverse drug reactions. The record-keeping system will also alert the doctor if there’s a comparable generic version of the drug that should be considered, possibly saving the patient a little money, too.

Better Coordinated Care

Doctors are busy people, and just because one doctor refers a patient to a specialist, that doesn’t mean he or she will have the time to explain what’s going on. If you see several doctors, each may keep a separate chart for you. You could be subjected to the same diagnostic test several times, which is a waste of money and time. With access to an electronic health record that provides the big picture, one doctor will know what all other doctors in your life have done, what’s worked and what hasn’t. This will help medical professionals make more precise diagnoses and manage treatments for chronic diseases.

Improved Management of Chronic Conditions

Doctors who use electronic health records have reported that the technology makes them better doctors, leading to superior patient care.

A 2013 study compared medical treatment in hospitals with advanced electronic health record-keeping systems to hospitals with more basic systems and hospitals with no computerized records. In the case of treating heart failure, hospitals with advanced systems met federal best-practice quality standards 87.8 percent of the time, while those with a basic system did so 80.7 percent of the time and those with no system did so 75.9 percent of the time.

More Lives Saved with Preventive Care

The best way to save money and time is to avoid getting sick in the first place. Too often, we neglect the screenings and appointments that could keep us healthier in the long run, but an electronic health record system can provide alerts to medical professionals that you’re in need of a checkup. Basic information on your medical record — age, family history and gender — can be compared against a database of best practices and governmental guidelines, and the system will alert the doctor that you should receive a Pap smear or a flu shot, for example. Some systems may even be able to send you an e-mail reminding you to schedule the appointment. And thanks to the Affordable Care Act, such preventive care is covered at no out-of-pocket costs under most health insurance plans.

The affordable care act set aside millions in funding assistance for practices to upgrade to electronic health records. If your practice is ready to make the switch to electronic health records then give EHR Funding a call today at 866-203-3260 and a funding specialist will help walk you through the process.

1362882369-417481020

Electronic Health Records to Help Reduce Hospital Re-admissions

As health care providers work to reduce hospital re-admissions and improving patient outcomes, pharmacists and technology may provide a solution. The marriage of technology and pharmacists’ care could create a path for care-collaboration and patient involvement across all health care specialties.

Camille Charbonneau, PharmD, and Stephen Jon Kogut, PharmD, of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Rhode Island, see electronic health records (EHRs), personal health records (PHRs), and electronic personal health records (ePHRs) being the future of health care; they will facilitate medical interventions that may not have been caught with paper charting, as well as collaboration between health care professional team members across multiple specialties.

“Electronic health records are a great way to marry the medications and the disease states, and how they all play together,” Dr. Kogut said in an interview with Pharmacy Times. “It provides the gold standard of medications that the patient should be taking.”

Drs. Charbonneau and Kogut explored the use of EHRs, PHRs, and ePHRs after patients were discharged from the hospital in a study published in the January 17, 2014, edition of Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety.

“The hope is to meet them at the sweet spot,” Dr. Charbonneau said in an interview with Pharmacy Times. “We met with them between [their] discharge [from the hospital] and their first visit with their primary care provider.”

The technology is particularly poised to become a pharmacist’s forte because it meshes well with the pharmacist’s existing practice, Dr. Charbonneau noted. In their study, the pharmacists introduced ePHRs to patients during home visits in which they also used their electronic health records software to reconcile the patients’ medication lists accurately with all of the patients’ health records available instantly.

The home visits included a tutorial on the ePHR program (ER-Card) and in some cases, a tutorial on various computer hardware aspects such as accessing a flash drive so that patients had secure and instant access to their own personal health records as well. “The dialogue just grows based on how you approach it,” Dr. Charbonneau stated. “But it’s not just, ‘Here; let me plug in my laptop and just go.’ You ease into it” as patients and health care providers learn to reap the full benefits of electronic health records together.

ER-Card also offers a help platform which participants could call if they had trouble accessing their health records, the researchers noted. Participants who did not want to adopt the ePHRs received a printed copy of their medical record instead, to best suit the patients’ needs and lifestyle.

The EHR technology will benefit pharmacists, dentists, physicians, and other health care providers, especially if they enter in to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The goal of all ACOs is to improve patient care and minimize waste and medical errors, making EHRs their key to success by increasing efficiency and lowering cost.

“If pharmacy is going to participate in an ACO-based care model, part of that value is going to be preventing readmissions,” Dr. Kogut said. Both Drs. Kogut and Charbonneau see electronic health records becoming an integral part of patient involvement, as well as something that will enter community pharmacy practice.

“This enables pharmacists to say, ‘Here is the list we have, but you should reconcile this with your own list,’” Dr. Kogut said. “I think the community pharmacists can encourage patients to reconcile that list with their doctors’ list, and with the list from the hospital.”

The affordable care act set aside millions in funding assistance for practices to upgrade to electronic health records. If your practice is ready to make the switch to electronic health records then give EHR Funding a call today at 866-203-3260 and a funding specialist will help walk you through the process.