Thursday, March 27, 2014

SAYING GOODBYE.....TO YOUR EHR

What remains the same in HIT since 2004 is a farily uniform opinion on the usability of EHR in daily clinical practice. (Doubt)





What  MD has not already spoken about the unusability factor buried deep in your key board and/or mouse. The requirements for HIPAA security, Meaningful use attestations, and interoperability are key requirements for MU.


30% of   EHR  users are dissatisfied with their current EHR and plan to replace them. (KLAS)   If your practice is one of them and you are faced with a large expense to upgrade your HIT system you will want to find a new EHR that meets all MU requirememts.


Vendors have received considerable feedback (criticism) about their present system’s inadequate framework for clinical patient flow and have time to redesign their software.


Prior to the finality of MU3 now may be the time for a new EHR.


The confluence of the Affordable Care Act, proposed Accountable Care Organizations, Increasing meaningul use mandates, improved Cloud services, vendor experience leading to some improvement in user friendliness, and user experiences and demand provide a fertile environment for change.


Calculating ROI with the old system vs a new one has to do with flow, efficiency, and the cost of replacement. If your EHR runs in the cloud the decision is simple...the changes are done at the host site. All software changes are performed off site in the vendor’s facility. eliminating any work disruption at the clinic.  Your original vendor contract should have had stipulations for the added expense of upgrading to meet eventualities of MU or other requirements. Since there is much competition among vendors, a competitive advantage may be the offering of enhanced maintenance and software upgrades.


If you are ‘retiring” your present system due to regulatory changes, consult with your accountant and legal counsel whether you can accelerate the depreciation and write off a portion of the expected life of your old system.  If possible this may ease some of the pain of a poor investment.


Most EHRs were built upon  features present in a practice management system, designed to maximize reimbursement, and maximize charge for each encounter. The new paradigm will be based not upon volume but upon improved outcomes, and decreased cost, for at least some of the encounters.


The field of ACO is new,  everyone knows what an ACO is supposed to do, but it is hard to find one. Several ACOs now are operating and some early statistics show savings and reduction in costs.


Interoperability is a requirment of MU1 and the ONC encouraged this with a framework for disparage EHRs to communicate with each other. Regional Health Information Exchanges experienced a challenge in developing sustainable business plans not dependent upon long term government grants, although the HITECH Act provided start up capital.  A new niche industry developed for HIE infrastructure.  


Some hospitals and providers have committed to these HIEs, but there is a significant difference between potential users and those in the HIE.  Many providers have interoperable systems, and have attested to it’s use. However many do not use the feature either because pre-existing methods are in use or there are no other providers to communicate.


An analysis of our regional health information exchange IHIE.org reveals this fact. The analysis is from the largest HIX in Southern California, and may differ significantly from other organizations.


Accountable Care Organizations will require data and the HIX may provide that avenue to collect and display operational numbers for the ACO.  HIX may become more affordable with expanding functionality to include ACOs requirments without building an entire new infrastructure.

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