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Meaningful Use EMR Could Be a Stumbling Block to Your Practice
Submitted by ndavis on Thu, 08/25/2011 - 15:29
Have you tried EMR Solutions for your practice or health system? Are you looking at implementing an EMR system soon? If you already have, you might have some battle scars and a tale-to-tell (and, you may be on your second vendor by now!). In either scenario, the push to transform your medical records and charts into useful digital media is not going to be “fun”.
So take a deep breath and let’s look at the facts. With “successful” adoption rates for EMR all over the map, and compliance for at least criteria 1 integration on the low end of the graph, (I’m sure you’ve heard the horror stories!) it’s no wonder Meaningful Use EMR is a thorn in the side on many hospitals and physician practices.
Many doctors, including my own, are still scratching their heads about Meaningful Use EMR. At a doctor visit last month I asked if he was working on his Meaningful Use EMR migration. He told me wryly, “What exactly is Meaningful Use? I can’t figure it out! Do you know what it is?” I was surprised at his reaction and replied carefully that I thought Meaningful Use is required by the government to assist doctors in hitting their regulatory benchmarks. He seemed annoyed by the whole thing (and for good reason). The consensus among healthcare professionals is Meaningful Use EMR means more headaches. But seriously, just like bad tasting medicine, the move to electronic medical records (though painful) should see many benefits down the road.
A Successful Meaningful Use EMR Launch Requires the Following Components:
1. Ongoing support of the staff; both physicians, nurses and support personnel.
2. Regular software upgrades and performance monitoring.
3. Intensive and frequently updated staff training sessions.
4. Develop a system of “rapid feedback” to catch errors before they are introduced and could negatively affect the enterprise.
5. Curry a culture of Performance Management Solutions.
The ability to measure and report performance is critical to Meaningful Use EMR. If you overestimate your ability to mitigate risk from the EMR implementation you could be punished by chaos in the staffing ranks and a shock to the system (with errors introduced, non-adoption, lack of real training, etc.) and then Quality plummets and re-admissions spike.
Conversely, if you are too slow and conservative to adopt EMR you risk delaying (or, at worst) never achieving the EMR criteria necessary to report on costs and quality metrics now required for Shared Savings success. By biting the bullet and rolling with the changes Meaningful USE EMR should result in definitive savings in both cost and efficiency; Reduce inappropriate emergency department usage, identifying and practically eliminating asthma and diabetic admissions, dramatically reducing unnecessary readmissions.
There is no doubt Meaningful Use EMR will ultimately streamline your operations and increase information flow and create more opportunities for your business. The question is; how do you get there safely and at what cost?
Like any good Play, there are Acts and an Intermission (with "scene changes") which are a much needed break in the roll out of your EMR. With proper planning and execution a seamless and well tested EMR migration can be accomplished. Doing enough tests and rehearsals before the curtain rises on your Meaningful Use EMR can mitigate your risk and liability. With so much uncertainty surrounding the transformation to EMR it is no wonder many healthcare professionals are still scratching their heads about how it will all happen.
Do you have any "war stories" thus far about your Meaningful Use EMR saga? Post your comments and you can share your thoughts with our readers. Relevant posts will be published along side this article.
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