Tag Archives: EHR

Health IT Overview and EMR Evaluation

EHR Overview

What are the best systems out there for Electronic Health Record management? There are over 500 systems out there now, which can make for a very interesting evaluation process. However, when you look at quality scores and interoperability (how well the system exchanges data with other systems) the list will narrow. KLAS is a reputable organization that provides survey results for comprehensive comparison of the systems on the market.

Getting Started

Start evaluating the leading vendors. Ask questions about support, implementation, updates, Meaningful Use compliance. Are they close on Stage 2 compliance? Are they ready for ICD-10? You want to be sure to sign up with a company that is keeping up with the rapidly changing requirements of the health care industry. Certifications for these requirements are a must for any vendors you consider.

Be very inquistive during the demos. Ask to see ePrescribing and ordering of labs. Many systems require middleware for these operations, but many others don’t, so if this is important to you, don’t setting for a system that doesn’t have all the capabilities you need built in. Ask to see the reporting – do they have capable MU dashboards? Do they have a patient portal that can be customized to match the clinic’s branding? Is secure messaging built in so the doc doesn’t have to leave the EHR to communicate with patients and other providers electronically?

In Summary

Evaluation is critical and you don’t want to be one of the many clinics that are now shopping for replacement systems, because they made the wrong first selection. It’s too expensive and painful to going through the selection and implementation twice! Again, support and implementation services are critical. Talk to customers and get the real scoop on how these projects were handled, and how support works currently. You are now on track to picking the best system for your organization’s needs.

Good luck to you! Start here:

Meaningful Use Changes in Stage 2 – New EHR Software Requirements

MU Stage 2

Health care organizations and providers are faced with a crowded marketplace of over 500 vendors offering electronic medical records. We provide a simple, powerful online EMR software comparison tool, which helps you determine the best electronic medical records system for your specific needs.

Answer a few questions here now and save a lot of research time in the future. Learn about features, implementation, and pricing for EMR systems that best match your needs.

First, tell us about your organization. Answer these questions and click “Continue” below:

Complete the form above to be matched to the top vendors that can meet your specific needs. It’s a free service from EMR Software Pro.


Meaningful Use Stage 2 – Further EHR Capabilities and Analysis

Initial analysis of the first few objectives can be found in this article.

80% of patient have blood pressure, height & weight recorded as structured data.

The recent changes to Meaningful Use Stage 1 require that blood pressure is recorded for patients 3 years old and older, and height and weight for all patients.

This is more of a stretch than the demographics requirement, but is again reasonable and attainable objective for the second stage of the MU initiative.

80% patient over 13 have smoking status recorded as structured data.

This is fairly straightforward, and as it’s required (at a lower threshhold) in stage 1, most EHRs wil have their reporting configured to be able to accurately capture this, and providers are likely collecting this already on many. 80% is a higher metric, but we see this objective as low hanging fruit, provided the forms and templates are accurately capturing this and reports are configured appropriately to show this.

Implement five Clinical Decision Support rules. Enable and Implement drug to drug and drug to allergy checks.

Now, we’re stepping up the requirements. Depending on the quality reporting your organization is submitting, you may not be reporting on compliance with these Clinical Decision Support rules, but at this stage they do need to be implemented to meet the objective. It is ideal to get a good idea of how these function and how they are build and adjusted, during the EMR evaluation process.

We envision CMS stepping up this requirement to a compliance level in Stage 3, but we’ll see what comes of this.

Drug/drug and drug/allergy checks are a logical feature to utilize once an EHR is deployed, and should be utilized for patient safety.

We will be posting further analysis shortly, including additional objective changes that will impact your organization.

Compare EHR software systems that match your needs, get free quotes, and learn who serves your area. Complete the free form from EMR Software Pro above.

Questions to Ask EMR Vendors

When you begin the EMR selection process, you will want to be sure your committee has representation for the providers and the staff. You will want to engage individuals that can speak to the organizations needs from a billing, scheduling, workflow, and IT standpoint. Electronic-medical-record.blogspot.com assembled a list with excellent qualifying questions for evaluating EMR software providers. They published this in 2007, but the points are just as relevant today.

Use the EMR Software Pro form below to conduct initial research, identifying pre-screened vendors that serve your area and are matched to your requirements.

* How long have you been in business?

* How many live sites are currently using your software? If possible, learn which specialties do or do not use the software.

* Can you provide me a representative list of your clients, allowing me to randomly select which practices to contact? If not, why? (Most vendors won’t give you their entire list, but the customer list they offer needs to be comprehensive.)

* Is the electronic medical records system being used in a multi-site environment? If yes, ask about their experiences to date.

* Is your product a client-server model or ASP model? Each has its own benefits, although smaller practices will probably want an ASP solution.

* What is the typical length of time between the purchase date and the “go live” date? No matter the EMR vendor or the EMR system, there will be a delay between the purchase date and the go live date. Look for vendors who can implement the EMR software in a reasonable amount of time, while still allowing enough time for implementation pre-work.

* What is your plan for implementation? This plan should be thorough! Beware of vendors who don’t offer a detailed EMR implementation plan. Even the most basic systems require a plan.

* What type of technical support is available, and how much does it cost? Beware of EMR vendors who require expensive technical support agreements, or those who advertise “rock bottom” prices with no mention of service or support. In many cases, these vendors require additional annual costs for service and support. To be fair, many vendors offer affordable electronic medical records with no expensive service or support requirements.

* What is the process for fixing bugs and launching upgrades/new versions to the EMR system? Every system will have bugs. Be less concerned about bugs and more concerned about how those issues are resolved.

* How are licenses issued? Is the license fee payable monthly, yearly, or is it a one-time fee? Some EMR companies charge a one time fee, others charge a monthly subscription, and still others charge a one time fee with monthly or yearly service fees. Do your homework.

* How much do software upgrades cost? Are these upgrades mandatory?

* Is your electronic medical record system CCHIT certified? Look for systems that have been certified. The 2007 standards were more rigorous than the 2006 standards, although any certified system is better than a non-certified system. Again, to be fair, some good EMRs have yet to receive CCHIT certification, but a lack of certification should be a red flag for more homework.

* For ASP systems, how frequently are backups performed, and how long are data stored? The more the better. It rarely hurts to “over-backup” information!

* For ASP systems, what percent of time is the system functional and online? An ASP-based electronic medical record is of little use if it’s always down. Look for systems with the best uptimes, and aim for a 98% minimum.

* Does your EMR system import and export data to and from common formats, such as .csv or .txt? If not, ask why.

* What standard clinical templates, if any, are included in your software system? How were these templates created? Look for systems with templates that are based on the most recently published clinical/medical evidence, and look for companies that routinely update these templates.

* Does your system have a single summary page for each patient?
* Are both structured and free text allowed for documenting progress notes?

* Does the EMR system generate a summary at the end of the visit that provides the patient with visit findings and discharge instructions? Most systems will do this. Beware those electronic medical records that don’t.

* Does the software system provide patient education handouts? These aren’t as important as the end-of-visit patient summary, but they are still an important feature.

* Is there an additional cost for transferring date from my existing EMR into the new EMR software system? Some of the most affordable systems charge you to migrate or transfer data from your old EMR system to your new software system. Others allow a one time transfer at no charge. Look for the vendors who offer a free or deeply discounted transfer.

* Can the software be accessed from remote locations? For most ASP systems, the answer will be yes. Many client-server systems can also be accessed remotely, although it can be difficult.

* Can the system send prescriptions electronically to pharmacies in my local market? Can it fax orders to pharmacies? If it does neither of these tasks, look elsewhere!

* Does the EMR feature disease-specific clinical templates? The better the clinical templates, the better the system.

* Is there a dashboard that shows the day at-a-glance? If the EMR doesn’t offer a dashboard, look elsewhere!

* Can a personal health record be generated? If yes, great, but you shouldn’t necessarily ditch a company that doesn’t have a PHR feature. If the EMR system doesn’t generate personal health records, ask when the feature will be available.

* Does the system have a built-in charge capture mechanism and automatic coding advisor? These features are important; they’ll likely help pay for the system. Look for a system that minimizes defensive coding. A solid medical billing component helps, too! Some vendors will offer free medical billing services if you use their software, and others will offer a free electronic medical records system if you use their medical billing services.

Use this form below to conduct initial research. We’ll help you identify pre-screened vendors that serve your area and are matched to your requirements.

AllScripts EMR Software

From Allscripts, here are the advantages they highlight for their EMR software:

* Intuitive: Allscripts Professional thinks like you do. Its intuitive design mimics practice workflow, while its simple and flexible navigation mirrors a physician’s mindflow. And with anytime/anywhere access via your Apple iPhone, Blackberry or Windows Mobile device, Professional EHR puts you back in control of your day.

* Affordable: Allscripts Professional is the EHR that pays you back and there’s never been a better time to implement an Allscripts Professional EHR. Flexible financing options—including zero payments for the first six months—and a proven return on your investment make Allscripts Professional the clear choice. Plus, with the Allscripts Stimulus package, you can rest assured that your EHR will be stimulus-ready, no matter what.

* Connected: Allscripts Professional keeps your practice connected. Connected to over 50,000 pharmacies, connected to more national labs than anyone else, connected to virtually every major payor, and most importantly—connected to patients through the Allscripts Professional Patient Portal.

* Complete: With comprehensive Single EHR and PM/Claims Processing solutions bundled into one, Allscripts Professional has all the features you need in an EHR solution. The integrated Patient Portal and built in ePrescribing make it easy to keep your patients first. And hundreds of templates for well over 20 specialties come standard, so no matter what your specialty, Allscripts Professional EHR has you covered.

Centricity EMR Software

From GE’s Introduction: Centricity® Electronic Medical Record (EMR) from GE Healthcare is a proven ambulatory system.

Relied on by more than 30,000 clinicians nationwide, Centricity EMR puts information at the center of care – and at your fingertips. Physicians and staff can spend less time tracking down lost charts, searching for radiology images, or calling the lab for results, and more time with patients.

With GE’s proven quality reporting solution, the GE Medical Quality Improvement Consortium (MQIC), Centricity EMR customers are able to feed quality metrics back into the care team’s workflow, driving behaviors that increase quality indicators and enabling participation in pay-for-performance programs.

With more than 20 years of successful implementations in settings ranging from solo practitioners to some of the nation’s largest healthcare organizations, Centricity EMR is an established solution backed by GE’s world-class service and support team.