Adopting an electronic medical records (EMR) system can net you up to $44,000 in government incentive money. Or can it?
Some of the most frequently asked questions I received in 2009 (which still continues through 2010) is in regards to how to select an EMR system and the stimulus funds that potentially go with EMR implementation.
All stimulus incentives hinged on practices adopting “meaningful use” of the EMR systems in question. The problem? Up until December 2009, “meaningful use” was left undefined!
In other words, you could not get the money unless you were using EMR according to certain set criteria but no one went on record to establish exactly what those criteria were!
Unfortunately, the cloud was not exactly lifted this past December because the proposed rules for “Meaningful Use” are 556 pages long! Worse yet, industry experts don’t expect the final rule to be much different so knowing the proposed rule is essential to meeting meaningful use and getting paid.
So, then, how does one crack the mystery code and define meaningful use? Lost in those 556 pages are a total of 25 requirements your practice must meet to achieve meaningful use. Don’t worry, I will spare you the trouble of reading the electronic equivalent of War and Peace (which is far more difficult to understand and much less entertaining) and summarize the 25 points below.
But let me cut to the chase. For those of you who have recently purchased an EMR system or who are considering a purchase, don’t bank on getting those stimulus dollars just yet.
For those of you who are still considering getting an EMR system, let me go on record and state that I think that is a great idea for most practices. However…don’t purchase one just because you feel the stimulus dollars are going to be rolling in afterward.
Purchase one with the intent of having a system improve your clinical documentation, practice management and overall efficiency. Most will do that, provided you choose the right system to suit your needs.
Can’t decide which system to choose?
Given that you should take stimulus dollars out of the equation, there are certainly other factors to consider in choosing the right system for you. Before you make a $10,000 mistake, perhaps you should consider investing less than 1% of that figure into my “How to Choose a Chiropractic EMR System audio program.”
This 1.5 hour program (on 3 Audio CD’s) walks you through the thought process of how to make an intelligent decision on purchasing the right system for your practice. I won’t come out and tell you to buy X, Y or Z but teach you how to shop and the tough questions you should be asking to make sure that you are getting the right system.
Frustrated with Your Own System?
It’s not too late to start over and think strategically about what will be a better fit for you and your practice. I see far too many chiropractors who have expensive EMR systems collecting dust because they abandoned ship out of frustration and went back to paper.
There was a reason you chose to get EMR, you should find a system that you can actually use – they ARE out there! Again, before you run out and buy another program, consider a small investment in strategy, some collective wisdom and a system to make a good purchase – my “How to Choose a Chiropractic EMR System” audio program accomplishes all of these.
And now, as promised, here are the 25 “Meaningful Use” Criteria for eligible providers. (These criteria were taken from the proposed rule: Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program.)
The List: 25 Meaningful Use Criteria
1- Objective: Use computer physician order entry (CPOE)
Measure: CPOE is used for at least 80 percent of all orders
2 -Objective: Implement drug-drug, drug-allergy, drug- formulary checks
Measure: The EP has enabled this functionality
3 – Objective: Maintain an up-to-date problem list of current and active diagnoses based on ICD-9-CM or SNOMED CT®
Measure: At least 80 percent of all unique patients seen by the EP have at least one entry or an indication of none recorded as structured data
4 – Objective: Generate and transmit permissible prescriptions electronically (eRx)
Measure: At least 75 percent of all permissible prescriptions written by the EP are transmitted electronically using certified EHR technology
5- Objective: Maintain active medication list
Measure: At least 80 percent of all unique patients seen by the EP have at least one entry (or an indication of “none” if the patient is not currently prescribed any medication) recorded as structured data
6- Objective: Maintain active medication allergy list
Measure: At least 80 percent of all unique patients seen by the EP have at least one entry (or an indication of “none” if the patient has no medication allergies) recorded as structured data
7 – Objective: Record demographics.
Measure: At least 80 percent of all unique patients seen by the EP or admitted to the eligible hospital have demographics recorded as structured data
8 – Objective: Record and chart changes in vital signs
Measure: For at least 80 percent of all unique patients age 2 and over seen by the EP, record blood pressure and BMI; additionally, plot growth chart for children age 2 to 20
9 – Objective: Record smoking status for patients 13-years-old or older
Measure: At least 80 percent of all unique patients 13-years-old or older seen by the EP “smoking status” recorded
10 – Objective: Incorporate clinical lab-test results into EHR as structured data
Measure: At least 50 percent of all clinical lab tests results ordered by the EP or by an authorized provider of the eligible hospital during the EHR reporting period whose results are in either in a positive/negative or numerical format are incorporated in certified EHR technology as structured data
11 – Objective: Generate lists of patients by specific conditions to use for quality improvement, reduction of disparities, research, and outreach
Measure: Generate at least one report listing patients of the EP with a specific condition
12 – Objective: Report ambulatory quality measures to CMS or the States.
Measure: For 2011, an EP would provide the aggregate numerator and denominator through attestation as discussed in section II.A.3 of this proposed rule. For 2012, an EP would electronically submit the measures are discussed in section II.A.3. of this proposed rule.
13 – Objective: Send reminders to patients per patient preference for preventive/ follow-up care
Measure: Reminder sent to at least 50 percent of all unique patients seen by the EP that are 50 and over
14 – Objective: Implement five clinical decision support rules relevant to specialty or high clinical priority, including for diagnostic test ordering, along with the ability to track compliance with those rules
Measure: Implement five clinical decision support rules relevant to the clinical quality metrics the EP is responsible for as described further in section II.A.3
15 – Objective: Check insurance eligibility electronically from public and private payers
Measure: Insurance eligibility checked electronically for at least 80 percent of all unique patients seen by the EP
16 – Objective: Submit claims electronically to public and private payers.
Measure: At least 80 percent of all claims filed electronically by the EP
17 – Objective: Provide patients with an electronic copy of their health information (including diagnostic test results, problem list, medication lists, and allergies) upon request
Measure: At least 80 percent of all patients who request an electronic copy of their health information are provided it within 48 hours
18 – Objective: Provide patients with timely electronic access to their health information (including lab results, problem list, medication lists, allergies)
Measure: At least 10 percent of all unique patients seen by the EP are provided timely electronic access to their health information
19 – Objective: Provide clinical summaries to patients for each office visit
Measure: Clinical summaries provided to patients for at least 80 percent of all office visits
20 – Objective: Capability to exchange key clinical information (for example, problem list, medication list, allergies, and diagnostic test results), among providers of care and patient authorized entities electronically
Measure: Performed at least one test of certified EHR technology’s capacity to electronically exchange key clinical information
21 – Objective: Perform medication reconciliation at relevant encounters and each transition of care
Measure: Perform medication reconciliation for at least 80 percent of relevant encounters and transitions of care
22 – Objective: Provide summary care record for each transition of care and referral
Measure: Provide summary of care record for at least 80 percent of transitions of care and referrals
23 – Objective: Capability to submit electronic data to immunization registries and actual submission where required and accepted
Measure: Performed at least one test of certified EHR technology’s capacity to submit electronic data to immunization registries
24 – Objective: Capability to provide electronic syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies and actual transmission according to applicable law and practice
Measure: Performed at least one test of certified EHR technology’s capacity to provide electronic syndromic surveillance data to public health agencies (unless none of the public health agencies to which an EP or eligible hospital submits such information have the capacity to receive the information electronically)
25 – Objective: Protect electronic health information maintained using certified EHR technology through the implementation of appropriate technical capabilities
Measure: Conduct or review a security risk analysis in accordance with the requirements under 45 CFR 164.308 (a)(1) and implement security updates as necessary
The Sum Total
Again, not all these criteria seem terribly relevant to chiropractic and quite frankly, I would love to see how some EMR providers can define these in such a way that they can guarantee stimulus dollars.
- If you already are using EMR, approach your provider with this list and see how their system can complete the measures to obtain each objective so that you at least have a chance at getting some stimulus funding.
- If you do not yet have an EMR system, use these criteria as part of your questions to each system that you are considering for purchase, particularly if they are claiming to get you some stimulus funding. Also, consider purchasing “How to Choose a Chiropractic EMR System” Audio series to further assist you in making a wise choice of systems that will fit your needs.
- If you are unsatisfied with your current system, consider shopping for another and following the instructions in #2 – but do not purchase your new system just because you think you are going to get the HITECH dollars!
Best wishes for continued success!
Tom Necela, DC