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5 core usability questions when EHR shopping

Madelyn Kearns | November 22, 2013

The right EHR installment can make all the difference. But more often than not, doctors aren’t making the best choice, instead falling prey to systems that are all flash and fundamentally difficult to use.

Among the reasons is that doctors often don’t even know the best questions to ask prospective vendors, according to Linda Stotsky, aka @EMRanswers, an EHR consultant and a self-proclaimed “usability geek” — in large part because they approach vendor meetings without having formulated a list of exactly what they want.

“Docs are great at practicing medicine. Not so great at choosing EHR systems,” Stotsky told Medical Practice Insider. “Most physicians depend on 'system speak' from the EHR vendor," she added, making it impossible to “look under the hood.”

That means probing for details on how the EHR collects patient data, increases your ability to improve reimbursement, and reduces dictation and transcription costs, Stotsky said, to name a few areas where practices should be leveraging technology.

Drilling down to specifics, Stotsky offered the following questions to help ensure that shiny new EHR doesn’t sell you short in terms of usability:

  1. How will this work with my existing scheduling, practice management, lab and PACS/RIS system?
  2. What is included “in the box” regarding training and support?
  3. Who customizes the system to work within my existing workflow and time constraints?
  4. Do you provide a unique support line for new client implementations, and what is the typical response time?
  5. Most importantly, can you provide a demo with an existing practice similar in specialty, size and workflow? (This can be done via any WebEx type application.) “Don’t sign a contract without viewing a real-time, role-based demo,” Stotsky advised. “Make sure to have in attendance staff representatives from all of the areas that touch the EHR — scheduling, billing, nursing, lab and record management — as well as other physicians."

Docs should do their groundwork beforehand by identifying an EHR that can clinically align to existing workflows, processes and time constraints. “A one-size-fits-all EHR just doesn’t exist,” Stotsky explained.

>>Read full article


Cloud-based EHRs could save docs from acquisition

FiereceEMR | By Susan D. Hall | September 5, 2013

Upgrading software to more fully integrate revenue cycle management, practice management and electronic health records may be the key to helping thousands of physician practices remain independent, according to a new Black Book survey.

Federal mandates to adopt health IT are driving independent physicians to join hospitals or health systems that can handle the technology while the docs continue to focus on their patients. Yet a majority of independent providers want to remain that way, according to Black Book senior partner Douglas Brown.

"Profit challenges have forced the number of practices actively seeking acquisition to more than to triple until recently, as cloud EHRs with RCM innovations have given independents new hope," Brown said.

Its report on the state of the revenue cycle management (RCM) industry--a $12 billion segment among physician practices--cites demands on providers due to reimbursement and payment reforms, accountable care participation, ICD-10 coding challenges and declining revenues.

Among the survey findings with 8,000 respondents:

  • 87 percent of all physician practices agree their billing and collections systems/processes need upgrading
  • 92 percent of those seeking an RCM-practice management (PM) upgrade or replacement are only considering an EHR-centric applications
  • 96 percent of practices achieving Meaningful Use 1 attestation and those highly satisfied with EHR vendor performance agree that fully integrated practice management/revenue cycle management systems equipped with EHR software are the key to practice survival and independence from acquisition
  • 88 percent of business managers fear that their outdated revenue cycle management systems, particularly those not integrated to EHRs, will force their physician to sell the entire practice within 12 months or close it
  • 88 percent of hospitals and 76 percent of large physician groups that had bought independent practices said there was little or no salvageable technology (EHR, PM, or RCM) among the practice assets

Additional HIMSS and HIMSS Analytics research also supports these findings. For example, the 24th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey, sponsored by Infor and released at HIMSS13 in February, found that 75 percent of respondents expected their organization to qualify for the incentives available through Stage 2 in 2014; one-quarter of respondents to the survey indicated they would invest at least an additional $1 million to achieve Stage 2 meaningful use.

>>Read full article


Hospitals ready for meaningful use now

New HIMSS Analytics survey shows more than 60 percent prepared for Stage 2

Healthcare IT News | WASHINGTON | September 18, 2013

Approximately 68 percent of hospitals have purchased technology from a software vendor that has been certified to the 2014 Edition certification criteria, according to data collected through June 2013 in the HIMSS Analytics Database.

The report from HIMSS Analytics, Hospital Readiness to Meet Meaningful Use Stage 2, assesses the preparedness of eligible hospitals to meet the technological and clinical requirements for meaningful use of the electronic health records that are used to document all patient care.

The study was released Sept. 18 during National Health IT Week in Washington, D.C. Research highlights include:

  • At least 60 percent of hospitals in the sample have met the requirements for at least nine of the core metrics that define Stage 2 meaningful use; and
  • Some 70 percent of respondents across all metrics are actively moving toward meeting Stage 2 meaningful use requirements.

Additional HIMSS and HIMSS Analytics research also supports these findings. For example, the 24th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey, sponsored by Infor and released at HIMSS13 in February, found that 75 percent of respondents expected their organization to qualify for the incentives available through Stage 2 in 2014; one-quarter of respondents to the survey indicated they would invest at least an additional $1 million to achieve Stage 2 meaningful use.

>>Read full article


Mostashari launches National Health IT Week with a question: Is the time now?

`We need to change what's happening'

Healthcare IT News | WASHINGTON | September 17, 2013

Farzad Mostashari, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, kicked off this year’s National Health IT Week at a meeting Monday focused on the patient’s role in health IT.

In a meeting that brought together a host of federal officials and stakeholders, Mostashari asked: “Is the time now?”

“There’s a glorious band of misfits here today who saw the world of health and healthcare and said, `we don’t fit. We need to change what’s happening here,’” said Mostashari. “Is it time for this movement to move beyond us misfits to the broader world of health? Do we have new tools and approaches? Do we have the oxygen for those new tools and information and data that will be available? Will providers be supportive, will patients even know to ask or to care?”

Dave deBronkart, often called “e-patient Dave,” co–founder and board member for the Society for Participatory Medicine -- what he called “a rag-tag band of activists” -- argued that the largest yet the most neglected resource in the world is the patient.

“I’m talking about specific concrete ways that medicine is not optimized because it’s the only industry that does not start with what the consume -- the ultimate stakeholder -- values.”

“People perform better when they are informed better. It is perverse to keep people in the dark and then call them ignorant, but that’s what happens a lot.”

“How can patients change if they can’t see the information? This is what we’re here to change,” deBronkart said, naming Blue Button as the prime way to accomplish getting data into the hands of patients.

>>Read full article


EHR users ditching systems, trading up

Dissatisfaction with current EHR systems have many providers turning to new vendors

Healthcare IT News | NEW YORK | July 23, 2013

2013 has been billed as the year of EHR dissatisfaction, with up to 23 percent of physician practices reporting they were trading in their current EHR system for a new brand altogether, and, according to a new Black Book Rankings report, there were only a handful of vendors that came out on top.

The survey finds that providers switching to new EHR systems were turning to Practice Fusion, Care360 Quest, Vitera, Cerner, Greenway, ChartLogic, GE Healthcare and athenahealth — all vendors who have risen to the top of the replacement market satisfaction polls, officials note.

"Regularly, at least two of these eight vendors were on the short lists of 88 percent of the current replacement market buyers surveyed," said Doug Brown, managing Partner of Black Book, in a news release.

>>Read full article

Senate hearing: EHRs still falling short

'Many of the traditional electronic record systems haven't been very well-designed.'

Healthcare IT News | WASHINGTON | June 27, 2013

Developing an effective framework for driving healthcare quality improvements proves a multifaceted, complex endeavor, and although EHR systems can play a positive role in the task, much of the technology still misses the mark. This was just one of several concerns put before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance Wednesday.

Policymakers heard testimonies from four industry officials, representing both the public and private sectors, on how best to move forward with healthcare quality.

One concern referenced repeatedly by both policymakers and those testifying pertained to the sheer number of quality measures Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services uses. Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., pointed out that CMS uses more than 1,000 different measures in its quality reporting and payment programs.

>>Read full article

What will Google Glass do for health?

As early adopters test out the new technology, many are excited about its potential for improving care – but some are sounding alarms.

Healthcare IT News | June 3, 2013

It's probably the most anticipated and potentially transformative new gadget since the smartphone. But unlike the iPhone, Google Glass has also been heralded with a healthy dose of controversy.

Although few folks have yet managed to get their mitts on a pair, lots of people have some pretty passionate ideas about what the technology – which enables hands-free Web and camera access – will mean, for healthcare and society at large.

Earlier this year, Google put out the call "Explorers" who might be willing to test out prototypes of the device. Interested folks were encouraged to head to Twitter and Google+ and say what they'd do if they were lucky enough to get a pair in advance, appending the hash tag #ifihadglass.

The winners were famous and infamous (Neil Patrick Harris, Newt Gingrich, Soulja Boy). Responses ranged from "id travel around the world and film the experience" to "I would help push the limits on #AugmentedReality in #hollywood."

Unsurprisingly, healthcare and wellness figured into many potential users' plans. "I'd use it to revolutionize healthcare. Imagine images filing directly to EMR charts and dictation on the fly all from Glass," wrote one entrant. "I would get into Telemedicine," wrote another.

>>Read full article

Wanted: Simpler, easier to use EHRs

Providers who have them are only mildly satisfied; those who don't have them yet are wary.

Healthcare IT News | DOWNERS GROVE, IL | February 28, 2013

Adoption of electronic health records continues to make inroads, with six in 10 healthcare providers having at least part of an EHR system in place, according to the fourth annual "Healthcare IT Insights and Opportunities" survey from IT trade association CompTIA. Still, satisfaction with most systems is lacking.

CompTIA polled 375 doctors, dentists and other care providers, and found a satisfaction rate averaging in the low 60s – indicating "acceptable performance," but leaving much room for improvement, researchers say.

>>Read full article

BEYOND THE EHR:How to seamlessly connect Nurses and Physicians using an EHR-Extender (EHR-e)

Clinical Alerting and Text Messaging: How EHR-Extenders bring improved care, enhanced workflow, and better communication to healthcare organizations - and a smile to the faces of patients, nurses, doctors and regulators

Extension - Produced by SourceMedia Marketing Solutions Group | December 11, 2012

When a hospitalized patient experiences symptoms of an acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or heart attack, the emergency department physician will order a panel of three cardiac specific enzyme tests referred to as "Cardiac Triple Markers." Although these tests may initially present as negative, the patient typically will not experience an elevation of enzyme levels until six hours after the onset of chest pain and other AMI related symptoms.

>>Read full whitepaper

EHR users unhappy, many switching

Vendors often failing to meet provider needs, survey finds

Healthcare IT News | NEW YORK | February 19, 2013

With more electronic health record systems continuing to fall short of providers' expectations, a new report by Black Book Rankings suggests that 2013 may indeed be the "year of the great EHR vendor switch."

After polling some 17,000 active EHR adopters, report officials found that as many as 17 percent of medical practices could be switching out their first choice EHR by the end of the year.

"The high performance vendors emerging as viable past 2015 are those dedicating responsive teams to address customers' current demands," said Black Book's managing partner Doug Brown, in a news release.

And in light of Stage 2, officials say provider demands are only increasing. EHR users polled cited numerous cases of software firms underperforming badly enough to lose crucial market share as the industry evolves, with vendor solutions often struggling to keep pace.

The independent insight gathered indicates that many EHR vendors have been preoccupied with backlogged implementations and selling product that development issues have been neglected as a priority. Most concerning to current EHR users are unmet pleas for sophisticated interfaces with other practice programs, complex connectivity and networking schemes, pacing with accountable care progresses and the rapid EHR adoption of mobile devices, the survey finds.

"Meaningful use incentives created an artificial market for dozens of immature EHR products," Brown said.

The survey also revealed that some popular "one size fits all" EHR products have failed to meet the needs of several medical specialties and cannot continue to satisfy their client base with a lack of customizable or bespoke tools. As far as EHR systems meeting the expectations of various medical specialities, nephrologists reported the highest rate of discontent, with 88 percent saying their EHR systems fail to meet their needs. Providers in urology, ophthalmology and gastroenterology also reported high rates of discontent. Contrastingly, a much lower number of small practice physicians (54 percent) reported that their system failed to meet their needs.

>>Read full article




EHealth News header

5 core usability questions when EHR shopping

The right EHR installment can make all the difference. But more often than not, doctors aren’t making the best choice, instead falling prey to systems that are all flash and fundamentally difficult to use.
>>Read More

Cloud-based EHRs could save docs from acquisition

Upgrading software to more fully integrate revenue cycle management, practice management and electronic health records may be the key to helping thousands of physician practices remain independent, according to a new Black Book survey.
>>Read More


Hospitals ready for meaningful use now

Approximately 68 percent of hospitals have purchased technology from a software vendor that has been certified to the 2014 Edition certification criteria, according to data collected through June 2013 in the HIMSS Analytics Database.
>>Read More


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