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The Advantages of EHR Use

The Advantages of EHR Use

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The ability to exchange health information electronically can help you provide safe, high quality care to patients while creating measurable enhancements for your organization. EHRs allow providers to better manage patient care and provide the best healthcare possible by:

• Enabling instant access to patient records for efficient, coordinated care
• Sharing electronic information securely with other clinicians
• Improving patient and provider interaction and health care convenience.
• Improving the security and privacy of patient data
• Promoting legible and complete patient data and documentation.
• Enabling accurate, streamlined coding and billing.
• Reducing costs through improved safety.
• Reducing paperwork and duplicate testing.
• Helping providers effectively diagnose patients by reducing medical errors.

Are you ready to reap the benefits of EHR use? Contact EHR Funding today at 866-203-3260. We would be glad to assist you and answer any questions you have about how to reap the benefits of EHR implementation for your office.

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Workout at Work: 5 Exercises You Can Do in the Office

Some professionals are on their feet all day long, like nurses, police officers, retail clerks or postal carriers. While it can be exhausting to be on the move for a full day, these non-desk jobs may actually be better for the body. “Sedentary jobs in which you’re sitting all day can cause weakness and atrophy in the muscles,” says family physician and sports medicine specialist Robert Truax, DO.

The Surgeon General recommends 150 minutes per week of mild to moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of moderate to intense exercise – but Dr. Truax points out that even this may not be enough for office workers. “The problem comes when you have that minimum but then turn around and sit for eight hours a day,” Dr. Truax says. “It almost defeats the purpose.”

To counteract the sedentary nature of office jobs, Dr. Truax recommends taking time to move around at least once every hour of your shift. He suggests thinking of it as “increased physical activity” as opposed to “exercise.” In his words, “exercise makes you think of sweating and spandex and things you just can’t do at work.” You can keep active at work – without panting on a phone call or showing up to a meeting with underarm sweat circles.

Keep it simple with these office-friendly exercises:

1. Take the stairs – and not just on your way to your office

“If you have the luxury of working at a place with several floors, then you have no excuse for skipping out on the single best exercise you can do,” says Dr. Truax. Gradually increase the number of flights you climb per session.

2. Push more than papers – by doing push-ups at your desk

Rather than getting on the ground in your best office casual wear, simply do some incline push-ups by placing your palms on the edge of your desk. Try doing just five per hour – that’s 20 push-ups before lunch!

3. Find a private corner for deep squats

Privacy can be hard to come by in an office setting. Duck into an elevator or a conference room – or any other infrequently visited spot – for a quick lower-body squat workout. “Squats,” says Dr. Truax, “work the biggest muscle groups of your body.”

4. Turn waiting time into calf-strengthening time

Whether it’s waiting for copies to print or your lunch microwave, any moment when you’re standing is an easy opportunity for calf raises. Balance your weight on the balls of your feet and lift your heels up and down until you feel a mild but satisfying burn in your calves.

5. Discreetly work your abs – under your desk

While sitting in your chair, lift your feet, straighten your knees and contract your abdominal muscles. It may help to scoot your bottom to the edge of your seat and lean back into your chair. Hold your legs out for at least 10 seconds, then rest and repeat.
Gradually add more time and repetitions.

These are just some helpful tips from EHR Funding. If your office is looking into Electronic Health Records and do not know where to start with funding give us a call today.

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Safety and Coordination in Nursing Care

EHRs can improve patient safety and coordination in nursing care.

Studies have shown the benefits received by nurses when electronic health records are implemented by hospitals. Such systems generally improve nursing documentation, reduce the number of medication errors, and improve the sense of satisfaction nurses have in the work environments. A recent study found that nurses who work in an environment with a fully implemented EHR are less likely to report poor patient safety compared to their peers working in environments without EHRs.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania surveyed 16,362 nurses working in 316 hospitals in four states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California and Florida. The researches asked nurses about their patient outcomes and workload, as well as the patient safety of their hospital culture utilizing items from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture. Only 7 percent of the 316 hospitals had a basic HER system functioning on all patient care units.

The nurses at hospitals with EHRs were notably less likely to report negative outcomes compared to nurses working in hospitals without implemented EHRs. Fewer nurses reported medication errors, poor confidence in a patient being prepared for discharge, and poor patient quality at fully implemented hospitals. There was also a 14 percent decrease in the odds of reporting things that “fell between the cracks” during patient transfer. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS18534) supported the study in part.

Want to improve your patient safety? Contact EHR Funding to get started!

(Source: Electronic health records improve nursing care, coordination, and patient safety: Research Activities, May 2012, No. 381. May 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. )

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How Meaningful Use Helps You

How Meaningful Use Helps You!

Meaningful use means much more than collecting incentive payments. It’s about improving the efficiency of and effectiveness of care to ultimately provide better patient care. Meaningful use is actually about whether you’re able to run a patient centered practice, and whether you can reconcile preventative care with medication. Many of the requirements behind meaningful use reinforce procedures already in place. The requirements behind meaningful use are things medical providers should already be doing, independently of current regulations. If you’re interested in taking good care of your patients, these are goals you should be pushing towards.

Want to find out how we can help you qualify? Contact EHR Funding today!

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EHR Adoption Helps Both Providers and Patients

Studies regarding physician EHR adoption show that patients are the biggest beneficiaries of the access and availability of their electronic health information; according to an announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

EHRs reduce duplicative tests and redundant procedures, they improve care coordination, and they ultimately help patients take total control of their health. The result is better overall health outcomes.

The use of the health information exchange and the adoption of EHRs by providers are giving patients yet unprecedented access to health information while keeping the privacy of this sensitive data secure.

Now more than ever patients are seeing the full benefits of their health care providers by utilizing electronic health records to manage and coordinate their care. The data from ongoing studies shows that health care professionals are not only rapidly adopting EHRs, they’re utilizing said EHRs to improve overall patient care.

This positive data regarding EHR adoption use are the result of the growth of the EHR incentive programs, which began in 2011 and will soon begin the second phase, known as Stage 2 Meaningful Use.

The latest numbers show what a drastic improvement three years of meaningful use can create.  The 50 percent of eligible physicians who have adopted certified EHR technology and achieved meaningful use have made significant changes in the way care is delivered to their patients:

  • 190 million prescriptions have been sent electronically by physicians, their assistants and other health care providers using EHRs, reducing the risk of errors in medication.
  • Over 13 million reminders about required tests, appointments, and checkups were sent to patients electronically with EHRs.
  • Health care providers sent 4.6 million patients copies of their health information electronically with EHRs.
  • Using EHRs, providers have checked drug and medication interactions 40 million times.
  • Medical providers have shared over 4.3 million care summaries with other medical providers when patients moved between care settings resulting in better patient outcomes.

Now that Stage 2 of Meaningful Use has begun for eligible professionals in January 2014, these figures are likely to grow so long as physicians participate in the EHR Incentive Programs.  Are you ready to participate? Contact EHR Funding to get started!

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EHR adoption is about to get a whole lot easier, thanks to recent ONC ruling

EHR adoption is about to get a whole lot easier, thanks to recent ONC ruling

The Office of the National Coordinator released a new rule in November 2013. The interim final rule, as published in the Federal Register, dictates that EHR’s pursuing 2014 certification and designed for dentists can utilize the Current Dental Terminology (CDT) codes as their base terminology instead of being forced to use SNOMED or CPT codes, which don’t accurately represent the majority of most dental procedures. With this change, software developers can focus on producing dentist-specific software approved for Stage 2 of meaningful use criteria.

Though dentists have always been eligible to participate in the EHR Incentive Program, they unfortunately compose only 2 percent of the eligible professionals attesting to meaningful use successfully, mostly due to the lack of certified EHR Software targeted to dental needs. Even though dentists have readily embraced electronic radiography and practice management, few record medical histories or progress notes in their EHRs.

The rule goes on to caution developers that the change applies to dental products only. All EHR software created to medical providers must still adhere to the current SNOMED and CPT requirements. The ONC hopes that the revision will give developers enough leeway to submit their new software for 2014 certification prior to the deadline.

Still not sure how to get started? Let EHR help!

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Improving Staff Efficiency with Electronic Health Records.

There are lots of reasons to implement Electronic Health Records at your practice. Studies have shown EHRs improve organizational efficiency and they generate a positive return on investment. For example, EHR enabled organizations report that there’s less time spent chasing charts when they have fast access to patient records. They also report improved availability of information, when patient records are simultaneously available to all appropriate staff at all times. Staff can efficiently locate and process patient information with EHRs in place. They’ve also reported improved medical practice management thanks to integrated scheduling systems that connect appointments directly to progress notes. With automated coding, and easier to manage claims, staff can more efficiently run your practice. Reduced paperwork is another fine reason for utilizing EHRs at your practice. EHRs can streamline administrative tasks such as filling out forms and processing billing requests.

All jokes about doctor’s handwriting aside, EHRs actually do reduce the time staff members spend deciphering written notes.

The most important reason you should implement EHRs at your practice is improved information sharing. EHRs can be programmed for automatic delivery of information between laboratories and other health care providers, saving your staff time that might otherwise be spent manually entering information into patient records. This sharing of information isn’t just good for your staff, it can save costs and save lives. It’s worth it!

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Electronic Health Records Can Help You Treat Your Diabetic Patients.

You can use Electronic Health Records to improve the quality of the health care you provide, especially to your diabetic patients.

With the help of EHRs, your organization can generate lists of patients with diabetes for research, health care quality improvement, and outreach. EHRs can be used to prompt clinicians with care reminders when diabetic patients need screenings, immunizations, or preventative care. EHR software can enable your organization to educate diabetic patients about management of their condition. Clinical summaries can be created for patients so they can engage in their health care proactively. EHR software can permit your organization to track the trends of diabetes-related testing over time, providing clinicians with valuable information for research and treatment. It’s easier to manage prescriptions for diabetic patients with a certified EHR.

If you’re ready to improve patient outcomes and the quality of care you providing to your patients with diabetes, contact EHR Funding to get started! 866-203-3260

FAQ about Electronic Health Records.

Q: What is the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program?
A: The American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009 has permitted the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to grant incentive payments for healthcare providers who utilize certified EHR technology and demonstrate meaningful use of said technology.

Q: What is the goal behind the EHR Program?
A: There’s more behind this program than urging providers to go paperless. The intent behind the EHR incentive program is to standardize healthcare records to a state of consistency that their format can be shared among all healthcare providers and improve overall patient care. With this incentive program, states are required to create health information exchanges, which permit patient information to be exchanged electronically between healthcare providers. With a health information exchange in place, healthcare providers can access patient medical history and current medications. This reduces the redundancy of services and saves money for both the provider and the patient.

Q: Why is our government paying healthcare providers to utilize EHR technology?
A: The intent of the program is to offset the costs of implementation of certified EHR technology and incentivize providers to use EHRs to achieve benchmarks that can lead to improved patient care, including decreases in provider error and a decrease in mortality.

Q: Does my practice management software qualify as an EHR?
A: Unfortunately, practice management software doesn’t qualify as an EHR, unless it is ONC-ATCB certified. CMS and ONC-ATCB have established standards and criteria for a form of structured data that EHRs must use in order to be useful. It is necessary to use certified software to create an ease of exchange of information. Structured data allows information to be more easily retrieved and transferred between providers, and it permits the provider to use the EHR in ways that can aid and improve the quality of patient care.

Q: How much money can I get from the government EHR Incentive Program?
A: If you participate in all six years of the incentive program and meet all of the yearly requirements, you can earn up to $63,750. Medicaid offers $21,250 for the first year of participation to offset the initial cost of an EHR system implementation. For your second through sixth year of participation, Medicaid offers providers $8,500 for each year that they meet the criteria of meaningful use. The last year to sign up for the program and receive the full amount of the incentive is 2016.

Q: Am I required to participate in all six years of the program? Do I have to pay back the money if I drop out of the program?
A: If you are a dental provider, you are permitted to voluntarily pull out of the program without penalties. In order to prevent being penalized, a provider must show proof that you made an effort in good faith to implement the EHR program into your practice before dropping out of the program, with documentation of that effort.

Q: Do I have to tell the government how I spent my incentive money?
A:  No. There is no requirement for eligible professionals as to how you must spend your incentive money if you qualified for the Medicaid EHR Incentive program, so long as you have demonstrated that you are using a certified EHR meaningfully.

Q: What does Meaningful Use mean? What are the requirements of meaningful use?
A: Meaningful use means providing proof to CMS that you are using your EHRs in ways that positively affect patient care. Providers must meet the objectives established by CMS for this program. These Meaningful Use requirements are set forth in three stages that must be met over six years of participation in the program. Each stage is intended to achieve certain outcomes, which include data sharing, advanced clinical processes, and improved patient outcomes.

Recent studies indicate positive results for health information technology.

The journal Health Affairs recently published a study from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The study found overall positive effects on the quality and efficiency of health care.

The study examined articles released from July 2007 up to February 2010, following up on earlier studies of articles from 1995 to 2004 and from 2004 to 2007. This latest study initially surveyed over 4,000 peer-reviewed articles. The study found positive results in 96 of the articles, at 62 percent, with mixed but chiefly positive results in 46 other articles on the topic, measuring at 30 percent. In addition to quality and efficiency of care, the authors categorized additional outcomes including access to care, preventive care, care process, patient safety, and provider or patient satisfaction.

Thanks to the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), a portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, approximately $27 billion in Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments will be made available to eligible hospitals, professionals when they utilize certified EHR technology and successfully demonstrate “meaningful use” of the technology in ways that improve safety, quality and effectiveness of their patient care.

The effectiveness was proven in a survey of three New York City dialysis centers, in which patient mortality decreased by over 48 percent while nurse staffing decreased by 25 percent in the three years following adoption of EHRs.

Another inpatient study found that a clinical decision support tool designed to decrease redundant red blood cell transfusions decreased both transfusions and overall costs, with no increase in patient length-of-stay or mortality.

One more study addressing HIT in 41 Texas hospitals found that hospitals with more current HIT had fewer complications, decreased mortality and more decreased costs than hospitals with less advanced HIT.

 

(Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin, March 2011)