After a full year of trying to do the math on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), some practices have found their electronic health record (EHR) isn’t up to the task.
They’ve come to this conclusion due to the lack of support from their EHR vendor or the fact that their system simply isn’t certified any longer. Doctors and practice managers are becoming increasingly overwhelmed with the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and commercial insurance payer requirements. More practices are making this the time to move to a new EHR system.
Consider these 5 steps when reevaluating your EHR:
Time and time again when health systems or practices meet with EHR service teams, a common scenario emerges; the physician and staff are doing the work required of them by insurance payers but they’re not getting the credit for it.
Why? Because they are not documenting in the correct area of the EHR. Meaning, where the system is looking for that data, it’s not there. It might be in the progress note, but not in the place it should be.
Another scenario: the practice “wishes” its system could perform certain tasks, such as automate workflows. Guess what? It probably can. Think back to your training or go live; you were just trying to get back to documenting and navigating through the system. It’s nearly impossible to know all the bells and whistles of the system at that time. As time passes, the system is upgraded with even more features, and again you’re just trying to understand what’s new, not having the time to take the EHR you’ve purchased (and probably are still paying for) to the next level.
- An assessment. A simple question and answer between physicians, office managers, staff and the EHR vendor. What are the pain points of daily operations? What is critical?
- Start with pain points. Once identified, your EHR vendor should begin to redesign workflows, change habits, and adjust system settings.
Move on to critical issues. Identify what must happen now in the practice once the critical piece is identified. Practice staff start to realize they are not doing processes correctly when they’ve received a negative payment adjustment from a payer or they missed a bonus due to quality reporting. Let’s face it; physicians are not only expected to click in the “right” tab in the EHR, but also adhere to quality measures, monitor cost, run a business, and … oh yeah, care for patients.
One of the last optimization steps is to identify all the products available to reduce the workload burden. These can be as simple as automating reminder calls or text messages to your patients, or routing communication through the patient portal such as refill requests, test results, messaging, etc. There are also features, such as bulk messaging, reminding patients of tests they’re due for, and other means of patient engagement.
Do you have a point person in your practice? If so, it’s time to have he or she be the lead on moving toward using the EHR as the tool it was intended for. If you don’t, then you’ll need to find a company to help. Too often physicians trade in their stethoscope to be the office manager, IT person, EHR superuser and practitioner. This is not possible if you want to give patients the attention they need and deserve.
More than likely, time and money has been spent implementing and using an EHR. Physicians who want to practice medicine and not troubleshoot IT issues or memorize health plan requirements need to rely on a support system. Here’s how:
- Get an outside perspective and have them help you get things in order.
- Set goals - do you want to be able to look at your patient while you’re talking to him or her? If so, have the consultant make that happen.
- Think about what you need to know about a patient when you walk into the room and when you’re treating him or her. Ask the consultant to design a workflow and set up the EHR to help you achieve this goal.
Medical Advantage Group Electronic Health Record Consulting Services offers workflow assessment, eClincialWorks training, optimization, implementations, and more. We help physicians and medical practices to leverage the full functionality of the their EHR to improve patient care and to succeed in the value-based health care market. Learn more about our Electronic Health Record Support Services.