Digging Into the Details of “Certified EMR” & Tips For Buying an EMR

Steps to digging under the meaning of EMR certification: 

Cocker Spaniel digging

Image via Wikipedia

  1. Click to see the most recent alphabetical list (by product name not company) of all products certified here.
  2. Find the company or companies you are using or are considering using.
  3. Check that the exact name of the product is what you have or might purchase.
  4. Check to find out if a module or part of the product is certified or if the complete product is certified.
  5. Check to make sure the version of the product is the version you have or will have.

If you have questions about each company’s exact criteria met, you are in luck!  On the ONC site here, you can click on each company’s detail (“View Criteria”) on the far right column labeled “Certification Status” to see what they have and don’t have.  Compare this to how you are anticipating using your EMR to meet meaningful use.  The more check marks a company has, the better-equipped they are (and more flexible) to meet your practice needs and to qualify for the stimulus money.

The ONC site with the Certified Health IT Product List (CHPL) is Version 1.0.  Version 2.0 is now being developed and will provide the Clinical Quality Measures each product was tested on, and the capability to query and sort the data for viewing. The next version will also provide the reporting number that will be accepted by CMS for purposes of attestation under the EHR (“meaningful use”) incentives programs.

You can tell ONC what you think would be helpful in the new version by emailing your ideas to ONC.certification@hhs.gov, with “CHPL” in the subject line.

If you’d like a list of just outpatient/medical practice EMR products or just inpatient / hospital products, I’ve split the big list into two smaller printable lists here:

Medical Practice / Outpatient

Hospital / Outpatient

Tips On Buying An EMR

To-do list book.

Remember that meeting meaningful use does not tell the whole story – if you are shopping for an EMR be prepared to go beyond a product’s certification status to consider:

  • Flexibility – does it make the practice conform to it or can it conform to the practice? How?
  • Templates and best practices – are you starting from scratch in developing protocols, templates and cheat sheets for your practice, or does it have a storehouse of examples to choose from or tweak?
  • Built for the physician, or the billing office, or the nurses, but doesn’t really meet the needs of all three? Make sure the functionality is not too skewed to one user group, but if it is, it should be somewhat skewed to the provider.
  • Interface and integration with your practice management system. Does the information flow both ways? Do you ever have to re-enter information because one side doesn’t speak to the other?
  • Interface with other inside and outside systems: Labs, imaging, hospital systems, ambulatory surgical center systems?
  • Built-in Resources: annual upgrade of HCPCS and ICD codes, drug compendium (Epocrates), comparative effectiveness prompting?
  • Mobile applications – EMR on your providers’ phones?
  • Data entry systems – laptops, notebooks, tablets, iPads, smartphones, voice recognition?
  • Hosting – in your office? at the hospital? at the vendor’s data center? in the cloud of your choice?
  • What’s the plan for ICD-10? Will they provide practice support and education for the change or will they just change the number of characters in the diagnosis code field?
  • Price, including annual maintenance and additional costs for training, implementation, on-site support during go-live, and additional licenses for providers or staff.



Dear Mary Pat: How Do I Get My Foot in the Door? (24 Things to Do to Break into Healthcare Management)

So you’ve been trying to become employed in healthcare, or you’ve tried to enter healthcare management, or you’re trying to move from one job in healthcare to another.  You’ve read my post about my search for a job in healthcare and have been soldiering on, but you’re just not getting anywhere.  You might have education, but no experience or you might have experience but no formal education.

Healthcare is no different from any other field.  It’s a hodgepodge of what you know and who you know.  What everyone is looking for is expertise and authority and that can’t always be demonstrated by a degree or years of experience.  A new buzz phrase is “What is your value proposition?” or “How will you pay for your salary and make me (doctor, practice, hospital, health plan) money besides?”

If you want to enter the field or climb the ladder in healthcare management, you need to demonstrate that you have something of value that someone wants.  Try some non-traditional ways of gaining expertise and demonstrating value, like the ones I list here.  Yes, each of these will take time in addition to your current job, but it has the potential to give you a hand up to your next job.  If you don’t currently have a job, you have lots of time to work on the list below, and when potential employers ask what you’ve been doing while unemployed, you have a great answer!

  1. Blog about the field you want to enter – learn about the field and write about it.
  2. Write about being in the middle of a transitional field and your experiences along the way – if you’re a compelling writer, I’ll publish it as a series on my blog!
  3. Create a site of resources for others that already do what you want to do.
  4. Interview others in the field you want to enter and publish the interviews.
  5. Ask people if you can shadow them for one day or a half day to understand what they do to see if you’re on the right track (who would say “no”? I wouldn’t.)
  6. If you haven’t used voice recognition, invest in a basic copy of Dragon and learn it inside and out.
  7. Learn how electronic health records (EHRs) work.  If you’ve never used one, gain experience by finding someone who has one and volunteer your time to write a user’s guide for them, or to use their user’s guide and critique it for them. Do that for as many different EHRs as you can find.
  8. Think creatively about jobs in a department you want to be in, just not in the job you want to be in – call temp agencies, computer schools, software companies, any healthcare entity going through a conversion, etc.
  9. Tell everyone (if you’re free to talk about it) what you’re looking for – you never know who might help you find it.
  10. Volunteer to do an informal project for someone in the field – some topic they need information about but never have the time to do.
  11. Join the American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE) and pursue board certification and become a Fellow in the college.  These credentials are quickly becoming the standard in the field.
  12. Get a Google Health account and learn how to use it inside and out.
  13. Get a Microsoft Health Vault account and learn how to use it inside and out.
  14. Get accounts on any other personal health record (PHR) platform you can find.
  15. Publish case studies on common problems in other fields and how they were solved, and apply those solutions to healthcare problems.
  16. Put a chart on your resume showing each skill you have and how it transfers to healthcare and brings added value to your potential employer.
  17. If you don’t yet, get a Twitter account (free) and start conversations with others in the field.
  18. If you don’t yet, get a LinkedIn account (free) and join groups that are talking about the things you want to learn about (Twitter will give you more info and friends, LinkedIn will make you more business connections)
  19. If you aren’t already, sign up for websites that focus on what you are interested in, read them religiously and comment on their posts.
  20. If you don’t already, get your resume on visualcv.com (still free I think) Add any goodies you can to your visualcv that demonstrate you know your stuff – recommendations, videos, charts, white papers, etc.
  21. Find someone to mentor you who is well-positioned (locally, regionally and nationally.)
  22. Volunteer to do some pro bono work for your local professional group – your state MGMA, your state medical society, etc.
  23. Join Toastmasters and polish your “elevator speech” so you can effortlessly let others know who you are and where you’re heading.
  24. Let me know what you plan to do, and how I can help.

Best wishes,

Mary Pat




Voice Recognition

Voice recognition (VR), sometimes called speech recognition (SR), is a technology that translates the spoken word into the written/electronic word.  In healthcare it is most commonly used for physician notes in the medical record.  The physician dictates the information and either edits the information himself/herself, or a staff member edits the information.  The physiican note can be printed for inclusion in the paper chart, or can be imported into the electronic chart.  Some electronic medical record (EMR) software products have speech recognition built-in, and some have the ability to integrate with speech recognition software.




Who’s Using Voice Recognition? 70,000 Healthcare Providers, That’s Who

©Thomas Lammeyer/Dreamstime.com

©Thomas Lammeyer/Dreamstime.com

Five years ago I worked for a physician who used Dragon to dictate his office notes. He put in the time to teach Dragon his voice and successfully dictated, edited, and printed his own notes. He eliminated all transcription costs, and was a favorite of the staff as no one ever had to scramble to find his notes. Not surprisingly, he was my physician IT Champion.

For every physician who was able to make it with Dragon five years ago, there were probably ten who didn’t tough it out. Today there are 70,000 healthcare providers using Dragon, which is an estimated 10% of the total healthcare provider population. What’s the big motivator? One, saving money, which becomes more important every year as there become fewer places to cut costs. Two, direct input into the EMR, which saves time and closes the loop on electronic management of physician assessment and recommendations.