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New Download: Digital Health Services and Advanced Analytics

Posted by Matthew Smith on Jun 15, 2016 12:51:33 PM

USB_Download.pngAre you unsure of how to start the process of building a data strategy and an information roadmap? Are you worried that you're not aggregating the right data? Are you stuck in neutral and not making any headway with your population health analytics vendor? 

If so, GE Healthcare Camden Group can start you on the right path.

Start here...with our PDF outlining ourDigital Health Services and Advanced Analytics practice.

The PDF includes pages on:

  • Our Philosophy and Approach
  • Reasons Why Healthcare Analytics Vendor Implementations Fail
  • Initial Questions from Leadership and Teams
  • Data Analytics Strategy Components
  • Information Services and Advanced Analytics

Simply click the button below to get started!

Digital Health, Advanced Analytics

Topics: EHR, EMR, Value-Based Care, Data Analytics, Digital Health Strategy, Digital Health Services and Data Analytics

Optimize EHRs to Engage Patients and Providers

Posted by Matthew Smith on Jun 4, 2015 10:41:00 AM

By Soledad Prete, Senior Consultant, and Carmiña Nitzki, Senior Consultant, The Camden Group

ehremr_large.jpgOnce medical practices have familiarized themselves with and utilized their Electronic Health Record (“EHR”), they develop a basic understanding of its functionalities and generate ideas on how to improve its efficiency. In order to do so, it is necessary to conduct an assessment of overall practice performance. Optimizing an EHR too soon after an implementation may lead to additional worries and confusion, so administrative and clinical staff should spend the first two-to-three months getting comfortable working through the EHR. You can’t improve on what you don’t know. Below are some thoughts on how to proceed with optimizing an EHR and the reasons behind the recommendations:

Engage Patients in their Care

In recent months, The Camden Group has been written several articles about Patient Access.  Just as patients need access to local care, they also need access to their EHR. Choosing not to provide patients the ability to view their EHR puts practices at a disadvantage. To provide better care and achieve desirable outcomes, practices need to provide patients the ability to become engaged in their medical care. Patients will soon expect this. If practices don’t provide it, patients may look elsewhere for a practice that does offer these conveniences. 

For example, a colleague who recently moved into the community was evaluating multiple family practitioners. After much research, she narrowed her decision to two equally qualified physicians and chose the one that had a fully implemented patient portal.

Enable Patient Reminders

Patient reminders are another way to provide better care for patients. This feature allows for reminders to be sent to patients in advance of important preventive care testing as well as follow-up care to manage their chronic conditions. Patients must be reminded to follow up on their healthcare. Providers who have not optimized the patient reminder functionality waste valuable time and staff resources to accomplish this task.   

Promote Provider Communication

Electronic provider-to-provider communication is often neglected during the initial implementation of an EHR. Optimizing the full functionality of this portion of the EHR will allow real-time health information exchange about a patient’s condition among providers and other care team members. If providers and care team members do not communicate in a timely manner, unnecessary repeat testing may occur or important patient information may be delayed. Without proper communication, patients are often referred to specialists who do not receive any of the test results from the primary care physician. The specialists re-order all of the tests—including expensive radiological exams. Ultimately, the insurance companies may deny payment for the duplicated procedures or tests..

These are just a few benefits of optimized EHRs. Best practices suggest that a medical practice establish specific goals it wants to achieve and then start with an assessment to identify and address the gaps in order to meet those goals. Once a direction is determined, practices should seek advice from the EHR vendor, peers, and consultants to develop an implementation work plan with realistic expectations. A successful optimization will result in increased satisfaction among both administrative and clinical staff as well as patients. The medical practice will also experience improved revenue, reduced cost, and compliance with government incentive programs.


This is the first of a three-part blog series surrounding Electronic Health Record optimization. Part 1 focuses on engagement, Part 2 on build-out, and Part 3 on maintenance.


Soledad_Prete_headshot.pngMs. Prete is a senior consultant with The Camden Group and has over 25 years of comprehensive experience in Healthcare Information Systems and multiple site EHR implementations. She has in-depth knowledge of eClinicalWorks, NextGen, athenahealth, and Epic and has worked with many physicians and administrators in facilitating successful EHR program development, evaluation of system functionality, and defining optimal implementation approaches. She may be reached at sprete@thecamdengroup.com or 312-775-1700.

 

 

Carmina_Nitzki_headshot.pngMs. Nitzki is a senior consultant with The Camden Group, with over 20 years of experience working with medical groups and physician practices and has strong practical knowledge of a group’s revenue cycle processes and managed care contracting. Her thorough understanding of multiple practice management and EHR systems helps practices improve billing/collections processes, establish effective front office procedures, and improve financial performance. She may be reached at cnitzki@thecamdengroup.com or 312-775-1700.

 

Topics: EHR, EMR, Patient Engagement, EHR Optimization, Soledad Prete, Carmina Nitzki, EMR Optimization

Three Keys to Improved Medical Practice Workflow Redesign

Posted by Matthew Smith on Apr 28, 2015 3:25:00 PM

By Susan Corneliuson, MHS, FACHE, Senior Manager, and Shannon Wolfe, Senior Consultant, The Camden Group

Doctor-Nurse-Communication.jpgNew consumer-oriented service delivery sites such as retail clinics and virtual visits are popping up to fill voids in access to care. In order to successfully compete in the future, medical groups must evaluate the way they currently operate with a critical focus on managing patient access through the promotion of consumer-oriented services and efficient workflows. One way of competing in this new market is to increase access without adding locations or providers by improving the efficiency of existing locations and providers. Redesigned workflows place the patient at the center of the care model, with the goal of improving patient engagement and access to care. This results in a better patient experience and improved clinical outcomes at reduced cost.

1. Identify Care Model and Care Team

One of the key attributes in workflow redesign is to identify the care model and care team needed to ensure that providers and staff are practicing at the top of their license or skill set. This might mean transferring work from providers to clinical staff or from clinical staff to front office staff. It also entails identifying the most valuable use of all staff time. This may be achieved through effective use of technology while engaging patients through the use of patient portals, email, text messaging, and home monitoring.

2. Utilize Process Flow Mapping

Another attribute is to utilize process flow mapping to create a picture of the current-state workflows and identify areas of potential waste or bottlenecks. Once current-state workflows are mapped, utilize a team of providers and staff to create a vision for the future (or ideal state). Work as a team to eliminate as much waste as possible to move towards the future state. Establish performance targets for the ideal state and measure baseline performance to gauge progress. Conduct cycle time studies as part of the redesign effort as an effective measure of wait time (value-added vs. non-value added time). Test the redesign efforts and compare results to established targets and continue to modify until goals are achieved.

3. Optimize Technology to Meet Clinical Care Needs

Finally, ensure providers and staff are effectively trained on the practice management (“PM”) and electronic health record (“EHR”) systems and that the technology is fully optimized to meet clinical care needs. Spend time shadowing providers to evaluate how the system is used in practice and what changes can be easily made to better accommodate workflows. Make sure a local resource may be contacted with questions or advice as well as dedicated site-specific subject matter experts (“SMEs”) for immediate troubleshooting. Create a continuous learning environment, through the use of webinars, on-site educational sessions, and shadowing to increase provider/staff adoption of the technology, and reduce rework or general frustration due to a lack of training or appropriate optimization of the system.

Workflow redesign efforts, if successfully implemented, can significantly decrease non-value added time by allowing for increased time with patients and increased access to care. Improving operational efficiencies and optimizing electronic systems also increases provider and staff satisfaction thereby supporting a patient-centered environment.

Medical Practice Workflow Redesign, The Camden Group,


Susan_Corneliuson2.pngMs. Corneliuson is a senior manager with The Camden Group and has over 13 years of healthcare management experience. She specializes in physician integration strategies, practice assessments, operational improvement, care and workflow redesign, and compensation arrangements. She is the co-author of The Governance Institute’s signature publication for 2012, Payment Reform, Care Redesign, and the New Healthcare Delivery Organization. She has a strong background in physician practice management with experience in medical foundations, provider-based clinics, and specialty hospital settings. She may be reached at scorneliuson@thecamdengroup.com or 714-263-8200.

 

Shannon_Wolfe.pngMs. Wolfe is a senior consultant with The Camden Group specializing in the areas of physician practice operational improvement, physician compensation modeling and redesign, practice assessments, and workflow studies. She also has experience in strategic and business planning, facility planning, medical staff development and structure, market analysis, and hospital operations. She may be reached at swolfe@thecamdengroup.com or 310-320-3990.

Topics: EHR, Care Model, Susan Corneliuson, Shannon Wolfe, Workflow Redesign, Medical Practice Workflow Redesign, Care Team

Meaningful Use Infographic | New Attestation Deadline Reminder

Posted by Matthew Smith on Mar 12, 2015 11:54:00 AM

EHR1.jpgEligible professionals now have until 11:59 pm ET on March 20, 2015, to attest to meaningful use for the Medicare Electronic Health Record ("EHR") Incentive Program 2014 reporting year.

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services ("CMS") extended the deadline to allow providers extra time to submit their meaningful use data. CMS continues to urge providers to begin attesting for 2014 as soon as they can.

This extension also allows eligible professionals, who have not already used their one “switch”, to switch programs (from Medicare to Medicaid, or vice versa) for the 2014 payment year until 11:59 pm ET on March 20, 2015. After that time, eligible professionals will no longer be able to switch programs.

Medicare eligible professionals must attest to meaningful use every year to receive an incentive and avoid a payment adjustment. Providers who successfully attest for the 2014 program year will:

Note: The Medicare extension does not affect deadlines for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. Additionally, the EHR reporting option for PQRS has been extended until March 20, 2015. 

For help, call the EHR Information Center: 1-888-734-6433

__________________________________________

The following infographic from athenahealth, titled, "Meaningful Use: On the Road to Attestation," presents results from a survey of over 1,400 Epocrates members who shared their concerns and progress on their way to meaningful use success.

A full-sized version may be accessed here (click image to enlarge).

athenahealth_infographic-resized-600

 

Topics: EHR, EMR, Meaningful Use, CMS, Infographic, Electronic Health Record, Electronic Medical Record

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Attestations May Drastically Drop in 2015

Posted by Matthew Smith on Jan 8, 2015 4:39:00 PM

Meaningful Use, MU, Attestation, Medical Practice Insider polled nearly 2,000 physicians to reveal that 55% do not plan to attest for meaningful use Stage 2 in 2015.

The questioning was simple yes/no question: Do you plan to attest for Stage 2 in 2015?

The answer? Doctors are planning to forego Stage 2 by a margin of 994 to 822 participants.

Status check: MU participants
About 75% of office-based primary care physicians had some form of EHR system in 2012, according to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Since the 2009 enactment of the HITECH Act, which established the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs for eligible professionals (EPs) and hospitals, nearly two-thirds of physicians who implemented health IT tools said financial incentives and penalties were a major influence to adopt such systems.

EPs have been paid nearly $10 billion by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the meaningful use program to date. Only 3,655 unique Medicare EPs had received payments for Stage 2 attestation as of early December, however, compared to 268,686 EPs for Stage 1.

Individual comments from surveyed providers show a variety of reasons — some financially motivated, others not — for physicians deciding that they've had enough with the meaningful use program and will go no further.

"I did Stage 1 in years one and two, but it is almost impossible to do Stage 2. It requires patients to have emails and engage my EHR,” one cardiologist explained. “Well, I have a lot of patients in their 80s and 90s, and they don’t have computers, let alone email."

A family practitioner who CMS said was in the top 3 percent in terms of readiness and reporting is now at a crossroads.

"I’ve done Stage 1 three times now. I have the option to do either Stage 2 or Stage 1 for the fourth time. I would rather stay with Stage 1 for now because my patients are reluctant to use messaging and I personally do not like the interface for my portal,” the family practitioner noted. “I do not have too many Medicare patients even though I am participating in an ACO, so I am not concerned much about a penalty. I just want the software to be perfected and be more usable."

An internist echoed that last point about usability: "Every night there’s more chart work. I can’t find things in the patient chart easily, and it's hard to compare current and old EKS’s, current and old labs."

A rheumatologist, meanwhile, said that the administrative costs exceed any financial gains, meaningful use incentives and otherwise. “I am re-examining getting on an MU-certified EMR in 2015 as interoperability and eRx systems tend to mature and become more prevalent."

And then there’s the old-fashioned preference for paper.

"Because I don’t use an EMR, my work is easier, profits are better,” a gastroenterologist commented, “and I get my work done in 30 percent of the time it takes EMR-equipped hospital doctors."

It’s important to point out that the above comments are from specialists, a collective that often faces unique meaningful use challenges — particularly when it comes to core, menu and clinical quality measures engineered for providers with a broader swath of patients and services, making it easier to fulfill those requirements.

Topics: EHR, EMR, Meaningful Use, Electronic Health Records, Electronic Medical Records, Stage 2

Infographic: Is Meaningful Use Helping or Hurting EHR Adoption?

Posted by Matthew Smith on Dec 3, 2014 11:14:00 AM

Infographic, Meaningful Use, EHR, EMRWhen the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched their EHR Incentive Programs back in January 2011, the main goal was to reward healthcare practitioners for adopting electronic health records and increasing efficiency within their practice. But one question everyone still finds themselves asking is whether or not the incentives have actually encouraged EHR adoption?

NueMD compiled research from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), CMS, and the American College of Physicians (ACP) looking to identify adoption trends and determine potential obstacles to successful implementation. Check out the findings below.

To view a larger version of the infographic, please click here and click on the image once it opens in your browser.

MU, Meaningful Use, Infographic, EHR, EMR, Electronic Health Record

 Infographic provided courtesy of NueMD. 

Topics: EHR, EMR, Meaningful Use, CMS, Infographic, Electronic Health Record, Electronic Medical Record, MU

New EHR Attestation Deadline for Eligible Hospitals: 12/31/14

Posted by Matthew Smith on Nov 24, 2014 3:01:00 PM
Courtesy of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services 

CMS, EHR, Meaningful UseCMS is extending the deadline for eligible hospitals and Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to attest to meaningful use for the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program 2014 reporting year from 11:59 pm EST on November 30, 2014 to 11:59 pm EST on December 31, 2014.

This extension will allow more time for hospitals to submit their meaningful use data and receive an incentive payment for the 2014 program year, as well as avoid the 2016 Medicare payment adjustment.

CMS is also extending the deadline for eligible hospitals and CAHs that are electronically submitting clinical quality measures (CQMs) to meet that requirement of meaningful use and the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) program. Hospitals now have until December 31, 2014 to submit their eCQM data via Quality Net.

Note: This extension does not impact the deadlines for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program.

How to attest?
Medicare eligible hospitals and CAHs will use the Registration and Attestation System to submit their attestation for meaningful use for the 2014 reporting year. The system is open and fully operational, and includes the 2014 Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT) Flexibility Rule options. Medicare eligible hospitals and CAHs can attest any time to 2014 data until 11:59 pm EST on December 31, 2014 to meet the new 2014 program deadline.

Attestation Tips
Here are some steps to help make the attestation process easier:

  • Consider logging on to use the attestation system during non-peak hours, such as evenings and weekends
  • Log on to the registration and attestation system now and ensure that your information is up to date and begin entering your 2014 data  
  • If you experience attestation problems, call the EHR Incentive Program Help Desk and report the problem

Reminder: Medicare eligible hospitals must attest to demonstrating meaningful use every year to receive an incentive and avoid a payment adjustment.

2016 Payment Adjustments
Payment adjustments will be applied at the beginning of FY 2016 (October 1, 2015) for Medicare eligible hospitals that have not successfully demonstrated meaningful use in 2014. Read the eligible hospital payment adjustment tipsheet to learn more.

Note:  CAHs have a different payment adjustment schedule than Medicare eligible hospitals. Review the CAH Payment Adjustment and Hardship Exception Tipsheet.

Resources
The EHR Information Center is open to assist you with all of your registration and attestation system inquiries. Please call, 1-888-734-6433 (primary number) or 888-734-6563 (TTY number). The EHR Information Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. (Central Time), except federal holidays.

Attestation resources are available on the Educational Resources webpage of the EHR Incentives Programs website.

Topics: EHR, EMR, Meaningful Use, Medicare, CMS, Medicaid, Attestation

Summary of Care Meaningful Use Requirements in Stage 2

Posted by Matthew Smith on Nov 18, 2014 10:42:00 AM

EHR, EMR, Electronic Medical Records, Meaningful UseIf you are an eligible provider participating in the EHR Incentive Programs, you will have the option of reporting the Summary of Care menu objective in Stage 1, but will be required to meet the core objective in Stage 2.

CMS wants to ensure providers are able to meet Measure #2 of the Summary of Care objective in Stage 2. Below is some additional guidance to help you meet the measure.

Guidance for Meeting Measure #2

For Measure #2 of the Stage 2 Summary of Care objective, an eligible professional, eligible hospital or critical access hospital (CAH) may count a transition of care or referral in its numerator for the measure if they electronically create and send a summary of care document when a third party organization is involved so long as:

  • The summary of care document is created using certified EHR technology (CEHRT);
  • The summary of care document electronically transmitted by the eligible professional, eligible hospital, or CAH to the third party organization is done so using EITHER:
    1. their CEHRT’s transport standard capability; or
    2. an exchange facilitated by an organization that is an eHealth Exchange participant.
  • The third party organization can confirm for the sending provider that the summary of care document was ultimately received by the next provider of care.

In instances where a “third party organization that plays a role in determining the next provider of care and ultimately delivers the summary of care document” is involved, the service the third party provides does not have to be certified for the transmission to be counted in the numerator for Measure #2. Nor are there any specific requirements around the technical standards or methods by which the third party delivers the summary of care document to the receiving provider (e.g., SOAP, secure email, fax).

For More Information

For more information, read the updated FAQ. For additional Stage 2 resources, visit the Stage 2 webpage of the EHR Incentive Programs website.

Topics: EHR, EMR, Meaningful Use, CMS, CEHRT, CAH, Critical Access Hospitals, Summary of Care

More EHR Audits Planned for 2015

Posted by Matthew Smith on Nov 11, 2014 5:48:00 PM

As the healthcare industry moves toward digitization of health records, OIG has requested a $400 million FY 2015 budget, an increase of $105 million and 284 additional full-time employees to help expand OIG audits and reviews, several of them examining IT security, compliance and, yes, even electronic health records. 

"Important changes are taking place across the healthcare industry," wrote Daniel R. Levinson, U.S. inspector general, in OIG's 2015 work plan justification. These changes, Levinson continued, include "an emphasis on coordinated care and an increased use of electronic health records. OIG will need to adopt oversight approaches that are suited to an increasingly sophisticated healthcare system and that are tailored to protect programs and patients from existing and new vulnerabilities."

Part of OIG's role in 2015 will include leveraging data analytics and "forensic enhancements" to investigate the increasingly sophisticated healthcare fraud, which is, now more than ever, including electronic health records in the process. 

"We will perform audits of various covered entities receiving EHR incentive payments from CMS and their business associates, such as EHR cloud service providers, to determine whether they adequately protect electronic health information created or maintained by certified EHR technology," OIG officials outlined in the 2015 report. 

Priorities for 2015 include:

  • Identify EHR system fraud and determine "how certified EHR systems address these vulnerabilities."
  • Review Medicaid and Medicare EHR incentive payments and ascertain if providers or hospitals received payments they should not have received.
  • Analyze the IT security of community health centers funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration.
  • Review the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services health information technology systems and verify the agency adopted necessary security controls to protect EHR data.

OIG has already demonstrated its commitment to EHR audits. Just this September, the office found the Louisiana Department of Health and Human Services wrongly claimed EHR incentive payments. The OIG audit discovered the state agency was overpaid 13 hospitals $3.1 million in federal EHR cash. The payment errors, as officials pointed out, were due to unclear and incorrect patient volume calculations. Some 80 percent of the state's hospitals analyzed in the audit failed to comply with federal regulations or guidance.

Topics: EHR, EHR Audit, Office of Inspector General, EHR Fraud

Hospitals: EHR Deadlines Approaching for 2014 Reporting

Posted by Matthew Smith on Nov 6, 2014 12:53:00 PM

CMS, EHR, Meaningful UseNovember 30, 2014 is an important date for the 2014 Medicare EHR Incentive Program for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs).

Attestation Deadline

Eligible hospitals and CAHs must successfully attest to demonstrating meaningful use by November 30 to receive a 2014 incentive payment. Hospitals participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program need to refer to their state deadlines for attestation.

The CMS Attestation System is open and fully operational, and now includes the 2014 Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT) Flexibility Rule options. Medicare eligible hospitals can attest any time to 2014 data until 11:59 p.m. ET on November 30, 2014.

Reminder: Medicare eligible hospitals must attest to demonstrating meaningful use every year to receive an incentive and avoid a payment adjustment.

eCQM Submission Deadline

Eligible hospitals and CAHs who are electronically submitting clinical quality measures to qualify for that requirement of meaningful use must submit to qualify for that requirement of meaningful use must submit to Quality Net by November 30 to successfully meet the deadline to be evaluated for a 2014 incentive payment. Hospitals participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program need to refer to their state deadlines.

2015 Hardship Exception Deadline

CMS reopened the submission period for hardship exception applications for eligible hospitals to avoid the 2015 Medicare payment adjustments for not demonstrating meaningful use of CEHRT. The new deadline is 11:59 PM ET November 30, 2014.

Eligible hospitals that have never met meaningful use before may apply during this reopened hardship exception application submission period if they were unable to attest by July 1, 2014 AND were unable to fully implement 2014 Edition CEHRT due to delays in 2014 Edition CEHRT availability.

2016 Payment Adjustments

Payment adjustments will be applied at the beginning of FY 2016 (October 1, 2015) for Medicare eligible hospitals that have not successfully demonstrated meaningful use in 2014. Read the eligible hospital payment adjustment tipsheet to learn more.

Note: CAHs have a different payment adjustment schedule. Review the CAH Payment Adjustment and Hardship Exception Tipsheet.

Resources
Attestation resources are available on the Educational Resources webpage of the EHR Incentives Programs website.

Topics: EHR, EMR, CMS, Hospitals, Electronic Health Record, Electronic Medical Record, Hardship Exception, eCQM

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