The Latest on Public Health Data Reporting and Stage 2 Meaningful Use

The Latest on Public Health Data Reporting and Stage 2 Meaningful Use   We’ve discussed before on this blog how electronic health records — anything from family practice EHR software to large hospital systems —can, in theory, contribute to public health goals by facilitating large-scale epidemiological analysis and similar projects. That’s one more reason, besides the fact that they increase efficiency by about 6% annually, for healthcare providers of all sizes to consider them. And, in fact, it appears that most are: As of 2013, 78% of office-based physicians reported using EHR or EMR software, as opposed to only 18% in 2001. Moreover, more and more providers are focusing on meeting federal meaningful use criteria, with about three-quarters of current EHR users saying their systems are up to that standard.     But has it actually been shown that electronic records do improve public health reporting? As of last month, the answer is yes.     Hospital Reporting According to data released by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), hospitals meeting Stage 2 meaningful use criteria were able to significantly increase their electronic reporting of health data to registries and public health agencies in 2014. “These data clearly demonstrate that public health agencies and hospitals are capable of exchanging electronic health information,” Dawn Heisey-Grove of the ONC told industry website MedicalResearch.com. “Adoption of electronic health records … and other health IT has made it possible to shift from time-intensive, paper-based public health reporting to electronic information exchange, which enables sending more complete information to public health agencies faster.” Reporting Details What were these hospitals better...

Warning Signs You’re Choosing the Wrong Medical Software Company

Warning Signs You’re Choosing the Wrong Medical Software Company   Electronic medical records and their slightly more comprehensive siblings, electronic health records, are getting better. While many physicians used to focus on bare-bones basic systems — adoption of basic systems by office-based physicians went up 21% between 2012 and 2013 alone — practices are getting smarter about choosing systems that will set them up to receive federal incentives and improve their overall efficiency. Currently, about three-fourths of physicians with EHR systems report that they’re capable of demonstrating “meaningful use” as defined by federal departments. But if you’re looking at medical software companies for the first time, it can still be very overwhelming, especially since choosing the wrong one to handle your EHR or EMR software can be a very expensive mistake. Check out five red flags to watch out for below.     Five Warning Signs That You’re Choosing the Wrong Medical Software Company   They Don’t Integrate All Your Systems:   If you’re just looking into medical software solutions now, a basic electronic record system probably isn’t the best route. Instead, you should be looking for a complete virtual practice management software that will digitize your records but also facilitate appointment scheduling, ordering and billing. There’s simply no reason not to integrate all those tasks. They Have Zero Clients in Your Specialty:   When it comes to record-keeping, different things tend to matter more in different specialties. If a software company has no clients with your same specialty, you may want to turn to a company with more experience within your narrower scope. They Don’t Run or Help You Run...

7 Signs Your Current EMR System Needs Replacing

7 Signs Your Current EMR System Needs Replacing   Electronic medical records or electronic health records are virtually ubiquitous. As of 2013, the percentage of office-based physicians using an EMR/EHR system had risen to 78% — from only 18% in 2001. Moreover, more than half of the physicians without an electronic record system are planning to purchase one or start using an already purchased one within a year.     But, as you unfortunately may have experienced, sometimes buying a software system is just the beginning of your problems. Here are seven signs that you’re better off starting over with a new EMR provider:   You Won’t Make Meaningful Use: If you’re hoping to reap the financial benefits of federal incentive programs, then this one should be a no-brainer: If your current EMR system doesn’t meet federal criteria for “meaningful use” (qualifying you for those financial benefits), then you need to find one that does. You Enter Things Twice or More: Combined EMR practice management software is supposed to make your life easier by keeping track of records, scheduling appointments and integrating billing systems. If you’re having to enter information into separate systems to manage all those functions, you should know there are more efficient options available to you. You Can’t Order or Prescribe: You should be able to do ordering and communicate with pharmacies directly from your EMR software. This can save you quite a bit of time in the long run, so you shouldn’t be content to live without it. You Constantly Find New Fees: Getting a top-notch EMR system can cost quite a bit (although it...