The HIMSS13 Conference in New Orleans, one of the biggest gatherings of Health Information Technology professionals of the year, was host to speakers, panel discussions, and one pretty large announcement from some of the big names in the electronic health record industry.
My friend Michael Paquin is a fellow of HIMSS, the Health Information Management Systems Society, and an expert in EMR connectivity, Meaningful Use, and the pitfalls of both. Michael shares his thoughts on both in this short video, which is also in transcript form below.
Michael Paquin: I think if we are looking at physicians today and trying to address some of the problems they’re having in their offices and what they’re afraid of in purchasing an Electronic Medical Record, I think we have to start from the beginning and that is service and implementation.
I want to empower all physicians to make vendors give them the service they need. Getting an EMR is just one part of the puzzle in being successful in achieving your Meaningful Use dollar.
The Meaning Use dollars over a five-year period can add up to about $48,000 to $64,000 depending if you’re applying for Medicare or Medicaid. What you really need to think about is that purchase price and negotiate it well, don’t overspend but do overspend if you will, I know that’s contradictory, but do overspend when it comes to implementation and training.
A lot of doctors purchase an Electronic Medical Record and think they can have the training done in 3 days. I’d like you to think about that for just a moment.
If each and every one of you just bought Microsoft Office and brought it into your practice for the first year or first training, could you get trained on PowerPoint, Outlook, Word, Excel all the different features of Microsoft Office in three days while you’re not seeing patients or you are seeing patients? Can you train all 3-4 nurses in your office? What does that mean?
So what I’m suggesting to you is take the time to get trained so that you can use the product correctly. What I’m seeing out in the marketplace is doctors starting to go with their second or third vendor for their Electronic Medical Record software because they have an unsuccessful first brush with Vendor A or Vendor B – they weren’t trained.
All these systems have workflow issues, all of them are trying to address them, and all of them are trying to get better. None of them are going to be perfect but what’s going to make a perfect EMR installation for you is the training.
Make sure you negotiate all the prices.
Make sure you buy from a vendor that is certified by the ONC.
Make sure you’ve got that certification.
Certification means when you get your Meaningful Use dollars you can show your product was certified. So there is a lot to getting ready for purchasing an EMR, there is a lot to choosing the right vendor.
Make sure that you get in touch with an EMR consultant, there are a lot of lessons learned that will pay for a consultant’s time. Anyway in this first video I think we’ve covered enough but feel free to contact me with any questions.
Joe Hage: So I’ll paraphrase. When you’re choosing an EMR partner make sure that it is going to be around and one that can provide you with the level of training you need.
Michael Paquin: And certified.
Joe Hage: And certified, Michael thank you very much.
Few industries are currently changing as much as the US healthcare system. While many perspectives and ideas are shaping the debate on how to change the system to meet current and future demands, most believe that technology can and will have a huge positive impact on the ability of the industry to deliver quality care in a cost-effective way. Network technologies that can support the ubiquitous exchange of health information in a secure, efficient and collaborative environment hold the potential to streamline and modernize the current system to maximize resources and positive patient outcomes.
The opportunities for improvement have generated a lot of buzz in both the private and public sectors, and incentivizing adoption of Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the ARRA or “Stimulus” bill) has led to considerable interest in an industry often known for lagging behind in the adoption of new technologies.
For many, the healthcare-specific technical jargon and operational knowledge of how healthcare works can be as complex as the products themselves. Here then are descriptions of the three types of medical software used by ambulatory care providers.
Practice Management (or PM) Software
Practice Management (or PM) software has been in wide use in the healthcare industry for almost three decades. Its primary use is the collection of patient demographics, patient insurance detail and the healthcare services and related diagnoses provided. This information is formatted to conform to payer requirements and is submitted electronically to request reimbursement for services. PM software also manages the responses from the payers in electronic format and invoices any balance to the patient in the form of printed and mailed statements. PM systems can be all-encompassing in functionality or can be a la carte in modules.
ARRA: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also called “The Stimulus Package” or “The Stimulus Bill.” Of the $850B in the bill, $51B is pegged for the health care industry and $19B of that will be used to incent medical practices to adopt EMRs/EHRs.
CCHIT: the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology is a private organization that certifies EMRs and EHRs based on 475 criteria spanning functionality, interoperability and security. CCHIT does not evaluate ease of use of products, financial viability of the company offering the software; or the quality of customer support offered by the software vendor. Whether or not CCHIT will be THE certifying organization to approve “qualified EMRs” will be announced at the end of the year. (Can be pronounced “SEA-CHIT” or each letter can be pronounced as in “C.C.H.I.T.”)
Comparative Effectiveness: Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) compares treatments and strategies to improve health. For CER, HITECH provides $300M for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, $400M for the National Institutes of Health, and $400M for the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. (more…)
An excellent article on EHRs and CCHIT was pointed out to me recently and I thought I’d pass it along to my readers. To answer the question “What is CCHIT?”, the site SoftwareAdvice says this:
CCHIT is a private, non-profit organization formed to certify EHRs against a minimum set of requirements for functionality, interoperability and security. It was founded in 2004 by three industry associations ( HIMSS, AHIMA and the Alliance (no longer in operation.)) It was subsequently funded further by the California Healthcare Foundation and a group of payers (e.g. United HealthGroup), providers (e.g. HCA) and software vendors (e.g. McKesson). In 2005, CCHIT was granted a $2.7 million contract by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support its mission. A number of other medical associations have since supported CCHIT. Despite the HHS contract, CCHIT is not an extension of the federal government. (more…)
Okay, I admit it. I am a Geek. I was so happy to be attending my first conference at Microsoft Headquarters in Redmond, Washington, that they didn’t even have to really impress me.
But they did.
I can’t say I was agog at the actual Conference Center; although everything is well-done, it is also simple and unassuming. I was very agog at the people who presented at the Health Users Conference (HUG, which is a users group alliance program sponsored by HIMSS), and with the Christmas morning of information that rained down on my head at the Developer track I chose to attend (other track choices were IT Pro, Health Plans, and Clinical Informatics.)
I have lots and lots I want to report on from the conference and will be doing so over the next few weeks:
* Interview withBill Crounse, MDon what Microsoft has to offer the private medical practice and his predictions for the future of EHR pricing
* Interview with Melissa Markey, healthcare attorney specializing in technology on why practices come to her for advice and counsel
* Some fascinating demos of products being created with MS technology
* Some interesting perspectives of MS people and my brief experience with the MS culture
* An eye-witness report on “Surface” and how it will be used in healthcare (it went on sale today but I failed to bring my checkbook with me and my cards are all maxed out)
* Heard while at MS: some very interesting statements that I didn’t expect to hear
* My own wild ideas for my practice after being exposed to some gee-whiz products at MS
But first, back to work and the real world tomorrow, then some vacation time to spend with my daughter who’s visiting from 3,000 miles away, and hopefully, some serious posting on my blog, which is about to change from “healthpromeme.com” to “managemypractice.com.” Either name will work.