It just might be the ticket to success.
I would assume professionals seeking a solo practice system probably wouldn’t want to pay the price for Anasazi Software or put in the work to implement it, however for mental health and addictions treatment organizations this Electronic Health Record (EHR) might be just the ticket.
On the surface, Anasazi software looks a little more complicated to run than a number of EHRs being offered to Mental Health organizations today, and that’s a function of more robust functionality being available. It has to be robust to serve hundreds of professionals and securely manage thousands of consumer records. The software becomes less complicated as professionals’ home pages and other functionality is configured to meet the specific professional’s needs. Configuration is substantial for billing, but in the end technical professionals find it works like they’d expect, quite standard and direct, which is largely considered doing it the right way from the technical point of view. Billing and Clinical functionalities are integrated well with two different worlds of responsibility that are transparent to one another.
There was a time, I didn’t want to talk about the prescribing functionality in this software, and today medication orders are much smoother, streamlined and quicker for the prescriber to use than when I first reviewed the module a couple years ago.
In case you don’t know, state governments can be particular about reporting data about consumers. First and foremost, reporting needs to be secure, so consumer information doesn’t leak out and violate HIPAA requirements for consumer confidentiality. Next, they need everybody who’s reporting to them to be reporting the same data, and when it’s electronically reported, it needs to be in a common format. For example, in New York, the NYSCRI forms are purported to be the wave of the future and EHR manufacturers like Anasazi need to offer the forms as part of their product. Currently Anasazi offers 22 of the NYSCRI forms and as requirements and desire to use the remaining forms arise, the sales person I talked to promised they will be included into the system. This seems a sensible approach to these sometimes daunting forms. By the way, I’ve known the sales person a long time and believe what he says.
Meaningful Use incentives enable mental health and addictions facilities to recoup some (if not all) the cost of implementing the EHR. Anasazi’s approach to Meaningful Use is commendable. They began training in securing MU incentives at the last user group meeting, and they use a “launch pad” with built in reports to assure the requirements are being met to earn the incentives. The setup is where the work comes in, and after this feature is set up, the monitoring is simple enough with the reports.
When I first saw Anasazi’s WYSYWIG design tools a couple years ago, I was not impressed. The tool has matured, and has enabled a solid level of customer development of forms, drag-and-drop indexing and other features…design tools are a must for organizations who don’t want to pay for expensive programming unless absolutely necessary.
OK, you may ask, with all this praise, are there any drawbacks? Sure, nothing in this world is flawless, and it’s usually a matter of opinion. If I were seeking an EHR, I’d have my Information Technology expert ask about the “back end” architecture and the tools like middleware that come into play during the development process. This is not to say there’s anything necessarily wrong with the foundation of Anasazi, just that it’s good to be aware of what goes into building the software you’re purchasing.
There are other companies serving the sector who have more experience in Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and since consumers receive care from multiple professionals, and since the federal government has included EDI as a requirement in proving an EHR is used meaningfully, Anasazi has focused more on this lately. I’d want to know more about their successes.
The company behind the software is of primary importance. Recently, Anasazi has bolstered its’ technical staff and has completed a number of enhancements to the software that were requested by the national user group. It sounds like Anasazi is poised to expand its share of the software market.Read more →
It’s new! Relatively speaking.
Within the past few years, AccuMedic’s AccuMed software has been appearing in mental health clinics as their Electronic Health Record (EHR). AccuMed has a long history as a billing software manufacturer, and now the clinical documentation is becoming more commonly seen, especially in New York, where AccuMedic has two EMR customers in NYC and two more on Long Island. There are more around the country. AccuMed appears to have all the commonly needed pieces in place for clinical documentation. On top of that I hear the billing system is dandy. That makes it an enterprise EHR.
As a software implementer, I appreciate the all-in-one approach. Modules are fine, however, an EHR works better if clinical documents are related to one another, like the assessment feeding information to the treatment plan, the progress notes being able to grab data from that treatment plan AND have all that related to a charge and a bill for easy access to documents important to insurance billing…all this information is usually available in a list on the screen or a quick report in a good EHR.
This approach to clinical forms and flexibility are becoming “industry standard” and is used by many software vendors.
This EHR’s functionality includes a flexible approach to some nifty state-recommended forms, enabling the customer to use them or not, and the built in design tools enable modification of forms to arrive at documentation that meets the needs of a particular facility, usually without involving expensive programming time. A third party report writer is purported to be easier to use than Crystal Reports (the industry standard report writer), yet just as robust. Now, a run of the mill one-to-three professional office that serves 90 consumers may be hesitant to pay the price tag for AccuMed, but the up side to small and medium sized behavioral health clinics is solid…from what I saw, it’s worth the money if a clinic has 50 users or more.
The “homepage” approach that is becoming the standard for user interfaces consumers and professionals see on the internet these days is in place, and while the look of the sub-windows for services, tasks, notes, etc. is a bit boxy and looks like a series of lists, the page does enable “one-click” access to about any consumer document you’d like, whether writing a new one or reviewing treatment history. This benefits the consumer, simply because a professional is more likely to look at a document if he doesn’t have to search for it, and that could be critical in a therapy or group counseling session.
Drag-and-drop functionality to re-index these sub-windows aids navigation and records searches and seems to work fine. It’s also worth noting that users can add data columns to these lists “on the fly”.
I talked to one of the sales guys for AccuMedic, and he says the billing module is effective in deducting services from authorizations as they are performed, which is a response to an early complaint. This lets us know the company responds to requests to enhance functionality where it makes sense.
The appointment screen looks a bit busy, however, at the same time it looks functional. Some fields may not be needed, and if your organization is interested in purchasing an EHR it might be good to address hiding unneeded data elements that are not necessary to your organization’s scheduling process.
I walked away with some questions about the treatment plan’s handling of drop down selections in recording the consumer’s problem/goal/objectives, and how related they are to one another…in other words do different suggestions for goals show up when I select different problems?
I also wonder how the system is rolled out. There’s a difference in an EHR project and an EHR product. Before I bought AccuMed, I’d want to know details about how software upgrades are handled…if a programmer is required, that means the installation is an EHR project, which is a labor intensive way to do business. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just takes more of work on the part of the vendor.
No software receives 100% approval from a prospective customer. AccuMed receives a high enough score that I’d certainly like to see more information about AccuMed, as well as an on-site presentation. My hunch is that it’s a fine product and a good group of folks to work with.Read more →
It’s amazing how much information you can get about a business without talking with anybody there.
The reviews for the purpose of this blog skim the surface for professionals interested in purchasing an electronic record for their consumers’ records, and to satisfy some curiosity of some consumers. Some Electronic Health Records (EHR) are appropriate for organizations, some have solo practitioner applications, and all of them claim they work for behavioral health. Celerity’s CAM product is an ASP, or Application Service Provider setup that’s delivered over a secure internet connection meeting mandated consumer confidentiality requirements. I particularly like this approach to information technology because it eliminates the need to buy a fileserver and a bunch of expensive equipment up front and pay somebody to maintain it…and servers do need maintenance. And speaking of maintenance, whenever a professional buys software, it’s usually required that an annual maintenance fee is forthcoming to the vendor. With an ASP, work you’d need to do yourself in spite of the software support, is usually done by the vendor. I like it when the vendor is responsible for updating the software when new federal requirements come out or new features come available with an update. Celerity’s far from the only company that offers this option, and it’s just one of the things to be aware of if you reach out to the company to investigate the CAM EHR.
There are two major suggestions in the industry about functionality that improves organizing the treatment a professional provides. First, if you work in an organization with multiple professionals, a central scheduling module is a great way to help the professionals stay busy when appointments cancel and time slots need to be filled. Celerity talks quite about this, and their EHR includes nifty features like color coding appointments so certain items jump out at you when you bring them to the screen.
EHR software that’s been updated to current technology generally has features you see when you visit internet sites, like when you buy airline tickets or something off amazon.com. This includes the ability to enter information one time and have it pop up somewhere else to fill in other forms on the screen. For the EHR this means that when an assessment, note or other document is written, it can pull previously entered information that’s required to meet the ever-expanding barrage of rules and regulations for documentation automatically. Usually this requires a rule-based system that assures the software electronically inspects to certain documents to make sure data has been entered and then grab it. Cautionary notes include a careful review of exactly what data is moved from one form to another, because person-centered care dictates original writing…professionals need to avoid cookie cutter documents. Also, if I were shopping, I’d ask Celerity to show me all the documents I’m likely to use and if they need modification to work in a professional’s business I’d want to know who’s responsible to do the modification and how much time and money changes like this would involve.
Billing is a big deal, simply because it’s so doggoned hard to jump through all the hoops to get paid by the insurance company. CAM brags about their billing module, and I’d recommend investigating this completely before buying, and ask Celerity to help set expectations regarding when the checks would start rolling in…sometimes setting this up is arduous, and the operation of the billing system requires a specialized professional.
Insurance billing often requires pre-authorization or services rendered, and that means somebody has to contact the insurance company directly. Once that’s done, the authorized services and dates the insurance can be charged need to be easily accessible. CAM appears to have that information easily accessible and color coded for easy review.
Another concern for professional organizations is being able to use information that’s stored in the EHR. Once a consumer has been served by a professional, there’s a hope that some good will come of it. Assessments can be used as measurement tools to assure a consumer is getting better, not worse. Access to notes from previous sessions and treatment plans on the computer during a session help the consumer and professional review what’s been done in a session, and to measure progress in treatment. Another important aspect of an EHR is reports. Reports can keep a business on track, provide a means to measure effectiveness of treatment for multiple consumers and generally help a professional do his job better. Celerity says they have a “robust report writer”. If I were purchasing an EHR, I’d want to know whether I could use that report writer or not; in short, how complicated is it? The only way I know to determine that is to use it, which is entirely possible in a web presentation.
Celerity is doing business in 28 states, which is important simply because they have been challenged to meet state-specific rules and regulations. If you’re interested in Celerity, make sure there are folks in your state using the product successfully. About the only way I know to do that is to get a report card from a half-dozen professionals using the system. I like to try to poll customer satisfaction in several areas, like billing, clinical, and administrative functionality. Separate references from different organizations are a really good thing.Read more →
I had to chuckle when I read “user-friendly” in a recent list of demands from software.
We’ve been trying to capture that goal for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) on the personal computer since the pioneering days of the 1980s, and we keep working. The result has been software that’s pretty user friendly these days, and that’s part of the message Amazing Charts is trying to get across about its EHR. I like the part on the web site that says Amazing Charts is low-cost, and so do professionals in this business. Now, “low-cost” is a relative term, and before I spill the beans on the dollars, it’s important to know what the heck is available in this package. User Friendly When using an EHR It seems it can take “dozens of clicks” to get things done in many aging software packages, and although a general exaggeration, more than three clicks to get to a progress note is too many, neighbor…professionals find software navigation is often tedious and wish for a simple approach, which is what Amazing Charts claims in describing their process flow. To this end, the Amazing Charts website indicates the system is sensitive to your workflow. This is a big deal to me and if you’re looking for software the secret to this sort of success is to make sure it’s configurable to your needs with design tools to make the treatment notes, assessments, reports and treatment plans your own. Working with a software company’s rigid idea of a document can be a pain. Many software vendors need to pay one of their programmers to do work like this, and pass the charge along to the customer; it’s another thing to inquire about. If the tools are available, make sure you have somebody with time and the aptitude to use them and make the software work for you.
Meaningful Use This is a good one. The Office of the National Coordinator requires certification in order to collect the incentives of over $60,000 for every prescribing professional using the software. I’ve written many posts tracking this, and am a proponent of taking advantage of these incentives; they can more than pay for the system. Amazing Charts has a testimonial from a customer that’s received a check from Medicare. Medicaid is part of the program in most states.
Hardware Unless I missed something, this may be a drawback to some folks. Amazing Charts appears to be deployed on a local server (which the professional treatment organization must buy and support, which carries an annual cost), and is not delivered via the web. Many professionals want the server hosted by a technical organization and deployed via the web, others don’t; there are pros and cons both ways, so consult with somebody like yours truly before you buy.
Interfaces One of the major concerns in purchasing an EHR is interfaces to other software either on a Behavioral Health organization’s practice management software or sources of data that can be securely accessed over the web like laboratory and pharmacy programs. It’s much better to receive outside data on a patient electronically for two reasons: you don’t have to pay somebody to enter the results into the computer and because humans aren’t involved, the data that does go into the system tends to be more accurate. At first blush, Amazing Charts gets an “A+” in this area.
Other Stuff Amazing charts includes a scheduling module, electronic prescribing that’s Sure-Scripts certified and an internal messaging system for multiple provider organizations. Nice. A superbill can be generated, and insurance billing appears to be via a billing service, which can be worth the price if a professional is busy enough to need help with this. You can even review a chart on your smart phone for an after-hours call with the app. This is another “A+”
Price $1,995 per user is a reasonable price. A three month trial period is a good idea for any software company simply because after the ordeal of implementing software and getting used to having it around, a professional isn’t likely to dump it. Ongoing software support is $995, which seems a bit steep until I look at it as less than $83 a month…look at software support as insurance; it’s just something you gotta have. They’re maintaining a healthy GPA regarding price.
If I were buying, I’d want to know more about Amazing Charts specific Behavioral Health penetration. I am old-school in serving mental health and addictions and it remains clear to me that these disciplines of treatment are special. There’s a lot of talk about physicians on their website, and this is fine if you’re a mental health professional working a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or are partnered with an MD. With the integration of care and the relationships that seem to be building among professionals providing treatment for ills of the body, mind and spirit in the same facility, there’s value to the ability to track all this.
After all is said and done a behavioral health professional considering Amazing Charts should talk to a few people in a 200 mile radius that are using the software, and if it still seems like a good idea, make sure it meets your professional needs and workflow processes.Read more →
As I threatened recently, here’s another Electronic HealthRecord (EHR) review for software that’s appropriate for small private practices…I guess.
ClaimTrack has been around since 1990, and I’ve known one of their vice presidents for many years. The longevity speaks for the company, and the staff I know has always seemed like straight-shooters. ClaimTrak offers a bundle of requirements that I feel are necessary in an EHR. A key for the private practice market is not only the availability of a web-based platform (being able to access the software via a secure internet connection), but being able to install it and use it on a simple PC. It seems you can have ClaimTrak about any way you want it.
…and there’s another important feature important to psychiatrists, it’s certified to meet meaningful use requirements.
I’m happy to discover that ClaimTrak has a Treatment Plan. Anybody who’s followed my opinions on clinical functionality knows I’m a proponent of collaborative treatment with a consumer. It seems hard to do that without a treatment plan. The aspect of this to look into is the custom features of the treatment plan…there are as many plan preferences as there are professionals, so if you’re looking into products, make sure it’s modifiable and fine-tunable.
A number of billing programs for our sector of business seem to be developed-as-you-go. The descriptions I’ve read say that’s not the case for ClaimTrak, with all the standard requirements like being able to handle Medicare, Medicaid and insurance billing with a co-pay for the same claim…sounds like a snoozer, but our professionals need to bill correctly or they won’t be working for the consumers for long. I’m also a big fan of being able to save the progress note for a given session and create a billable record automatically…another vital snoozer.
A peer of mine, David Lloyd, who’s well known for designing state systems for efficiency in our business says that central scheduling is a key to building a better mouse trap. In a small, busy practice with few people around to help with the work, and where consumers may be waiting for an appointment, a good scheduling module can help fill the blank spots when an appointment is canceled. ClaimTrak’s scheduling module seems to be complete, enabling professionals to review their appointments a number of ways, and it’s tied into the billing module, so if the schedule is marked as complete, the indicated service could be billed if that’s the professional’s preference. The rage these days is for a schedule to look like MS Outlook, and ClaimTrak doesn’t seem to fill that bill. To me, that’s of secondary importance, since patient confidentiality is met by isolating the appointment from the rest of the world out there, which isn’t necessarily true with Outlook.
In order to qualify as an eligible professional and collect Meaningful Use incentives, being able to write and track the order in the EHR is required, as is the ability to electronically share that prescribing information. This keeps the professionals treating the patient aware of (hopefully) all medications prescribed, so the treating professionals know to avoid a drug interaction. ClaimTrak addresses this issue well enough to meet the requirement, and even has a Mediation Administration Module to record how the medication administration is going. My advice to the professional is to call up for a demonstration, then check it out again a couple weeks later after seeing a couple other products…Some products just don’t fit some people’s preferences, and it’s frustrating both for the vendor and the customer when that happens.
Dashboards are becoming a standard of efficiency in an EHR. This functionality enables different sorts of users (counselors, receptionists, etc) to gather a series of reported figures and access points to functionality, like notes or billing, and for another user on the system to have a different dashboard that better suits his workflow…pretty slick. I didn’t see that sort of thing going on in ClaimTrak, so a professional should be sure to ask about that feature if shopping.
If a professional has a partner, or a receptionist, or somebody else they work with, a valuable tool is communicating within the EHR. This is important in order to maintain consumer confidentiality, and it can be tough texting or Emailing patient information and to avoild breaking HIPAA requirements. I was unable to pull up any references to built-in, HIPAA compliant inter-office messaging system, but in a smaller practice that could be of little importance.
All in all, I was pleased in what I saw. Right about now, you’re likely wondering how much all these wonderful capabilities cost…click on the link above and give them a call.Read more →
Professionals who need an Electronic Health Record (EHR) for a private practice have a number of options, and the trick to finding software that works for the individual practice is settling on one of them.
My advice is to get a list of as many products as possible with a little information on each of them off the web and read it. Then, narrow the field to a half-dozen or so based on initial research and check their web sites out. This can be a complicated matter, what with the myriad of opinions on software out there and the temptation to just buy what your pal Joe uses in his practice. Don’t do that. Do the research, or hire a professional (like yours truly) to do the research and the satisfaction level will certainly be higher once the money’s spent. A newsletter I subscribe to from an industry publication had a link to a practice management software package, and I’ve been threatening myself with tackling reviews of software for solo and small practice software for well over a year, so I took a look.
The product is called TheraQuick, and there’s a video on the website that gives a pretty concise overview. As with all overviews, this stimulates questions for me.
StarQuick Solutions is the small California company that manufactures TheraQuick. I was immediately encouraged to see the staff is comprised of varied disciplines, including a rocket scientist, a psychologist, and an expert in software interfacing. Depending on the charisma and personalities involved, there is at a fair chance that the software will be a balance between the needs of the users and a vendor’s business realities. I look for a practical development approach that keeps an eye on affordability for elegant features and functionality. That pragmatic statement is all about survival of the current software and the vendor’s business.
My overview of the product is positive; however I have almost no substantive knowledge of the company. If I were buying for a solo practice, I’d want to see more of the product and have some in-depth conversations with a couple people at StarQuick. I would like to know how long they’ve been in business, how many customers they have and to talk to some of those customers. It’s not out of line to ask those customers about their relationship with the company, hoping they aren’t the programmer’s aunt.
Here are the pros and cons I saw in a brief overview:
A lot of good: The software covers a lot of bases, and the more your primary software system does, the less a professional needs to get from some other source. • Billing, due to insurance requirements, is inherently difficult; a module is included, as well as basic accounting for services rendered and credit card charging. • The software seems pretty simple to operate. • I didn’t get an in-depth look at the customizing features, but the product enables the user to modify a “Dashboard” to suit their needs; Dashboards are a one-screen view and access point to whatever the user would use most – consumer record access, treatment history, billing, etc. • Professionals can minimally modify the session note to suit their particular style and needs; I’m not sure how far this goes, but regardless, it’s a positive feature. • Scheduling looks good, and there are a number of similarities to MS Outlook; I like to see all my tasks and appointments for the day, week, and month at a glance, and the product allows me to do this. • The system can be set up for different office locations for the professional who travels around (there are many folks meeting this description); this is a plus and in some states a requirement.
I’d Like More: Like all software packages, there’s always more work that can be done. • I’m a stickler for workflow. If the documentation doesn’t fit in with the daily work, it creates work because you have to come back and do it later. If, instead of collaborative documentation and treatment planning with the consumer, the professional writes nothing down and makes no follow up steps with the consumer to advance treatment, the documentation becomes an added step in accounting for what happens. I didn’t see much attention paid to concepts like these. • I’d like to see a treatment plan. Now, I’ve worked with treatment organizations for a long time, but haven’t really spent much time in solo practices…perhaps treatment is not planned with the consumer in this environment, but it seems reasonable to me that a treatment plan should be part of working with the consumer to resolve the problem by meeting short-term objectives and establishing roles and “rules of the road” for the treatment relationship. • I’d like to see a stronger Report Writer…I demand robust report writing capabilities, and as a Crystal Reports writer, perhaps I expect too much. An overwhelming majority of the folks I’ve talked to over the years about the Electronic Health Record (EHR) really want reports to look a certain, special, individual way. Sometimes that’s due to local or state regulations, sometimes a Joint Commission (JCHAO) or other accrediting, licensing or auditing agency; sometimes just because they’re happy with a format they’ve used for a long time. The point is without a very robust report writer, you just can’t make the reports look the way important people want them to look.
I think that anybody in the software manufacturing business who can sell their product to 100 people, continue to provide effective support and still grow probably has a product that will work for a bunch more people. Where a number of professionals drop the ball is in investigating the company they will be working with for a number of years. A little research pays off for the life of a practice, which is why busy professionals contact me.Read more →
My mom was big into psychics…not that she believed them, she was merely intrigued. Right?
Predictions regarding the Electronic Health Record (EHR) for the year are out, and not that I believe them, but I’m intrigued. Let’s start with Marla Durben Hirsch, a contributing editor for FierceEMR. She has five predictions, and the one I’m most interested in is software vendors using cloud technology. Cloud technology is a marketing term that encompasses a bunch of services offered by an EHR vendor. Sometimes referred to as an ASP (Application Service Program), it includes using the server, gobs of disk space, and great services like automatic updates to the latest, greatest software enhancements. From a vendor standpoint it’s easier to maintain and support because the vendor has control of the technology. Sometimes professionals and the organizations they work for tend to cut corners on technology to save a few bucks. From a professional’s viewpoint, cloud technology may be good because they’d rather not become a technology expert or have to hire a local consultant to handle all the jobs involved in maintaining a system. The core of this provision of the EHR is that it’s deployed on the web.
The first worry that usually surfaces is the security of consumer data and confidentiality of a consumer’s health information.
I’ve talked before about security, and SSL, or Secure Socket Layer is the most common method of securing a connection between a professional and their data when the EHR is housed and maintained elsewhere. Another security method is Citrix, which is supposed to be even better security than SSL. There are more methods of securing the confidentiality of consumer records, and anybody who sells an EHR system must offer good data access security these days, or else the HIPAA police will get very upset and there will be consequences to pay. So, since this was all worked out years ago, data security is generally not an issue when a professional uses a web-based EHR; people buying software still ask about it, so I address it.
Cloud technology is especially valuable to solo professionals (products like practice fusion) or small organizations with under 100 employees (products like Foothold Technology’s AWARDS System. Professionals really need to be treating consumers, not troubleshooting server problems or wondering if a backup is available after a system crash.
InformationWeek has its predictions published already. I like number seven. I think what they’re talking about is providers of one product (like lab or pharmacy services) delivering web-based EHR modular software solutions to woo more customers into using their primary product or service.
One significant drawback to a solution of this sort is that it’s a module. Both professional and consumer are better off with a total solution where session notes (including breakthroughs and next steps) and mutually developed treatment plans can be attached to everything else in the consumer’s record. Still, the prediction is for this sort of modular approach to software in mental health and addiction treatment is on the upswing for 2012.
Healthcare IT News has a different take, and I find it quite interesting. For example, since the growth of Healthcare IT has been a major focus of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and the gains have only been modest, I agree that will played up quite heavily in the presidential election. This sort of thing can be spun to either create controversy, or used as evidence of doing a great job, depending on which side of the fence you’re standing on.
Whether you accept the predictions that are coming at us like popcorn as valid or not, it is at least fun and educational to check in with what people in the world out there think.
Enjoy your day, and don’t sweat the predictions…unless you believe in psychics.Read more →
“It slows me down!”
A lot of professionals complain about entering their notes and other consumer care documents into the Electronic Health Record (EHR), saying it slows them down, or they don’t have time, or something of that ilk. My experience with this issue is that once the EHR is properly in place, it saves time and the professionals actually start to like it. I even hear comments from consumers that they like the idea of collaborating on their treatment plan and knowing what the next steps are going to be when they show up for their next session (a handy use for the EHR). It’s true, however, that the EHR can slow professionals down for at least a few reasons:
The good news is that all these shortcomings can be avoided.
Process Analysis is simply following a consumer through treatment and seeing how the professionals’ documentation is captured before the EHR comes into play. Process Design for efficiency uses the analysis and needs a couple very important tools to enable the EHR to work to the advantage of the professional: The screen designer and the report writer (other tools like treatment team and consumer communications software are great, but these two tools are the foundation of designing a working system). Process Implementation actually pulls together an EHR design that makes documenting services less time and effort consuming.
So, if the EHR really can save professional time, provide treatment team communication and help deliver better treatment to the consumer, how come so many professionals resist using it? I’m sure there are hundreds of excuses and a number of valid reasons not to use the EHR, many related to specific technology problems that could be remedied for a price. Other than that, professionals would rather treat consumers than learn to use an EHR…or improve their keyboarding skills.
There are a bundle of solutions out there to address professional resistance to using the EHR, and one is a marriage of low-and-high tech: The Remote Scribe.
Imagine, if you will, you’re in a session with your psychologist, and there’s a large screen on the wall that displays your EHR. You answer questions in an assessment, or talk about the plan to treat your difficulty, and the screen starts displaying the assessment selections or typing magically appears during the session. Interesting.
The high-tech portion of this solution is the simple presence of the EHR in the first place. The low tech portion of the solution is that the notes are relayed via a headset and microphone to a “Remote Scribe” (a human being). So, another data entry person is on the payroll. Not a new twist, this is getting the same old documentation solution back into the healthcare arena. The scribe has been called a transcriptionist for many decades, and some professionals would rather retire than move away from this sort of medical treatment documentation service. I suppose it’s a valid way to keep technology resistant professionals working, but it strikes me as paying double for documenting services, which is the data entry bummer. Even if the Remote Scribe delivers a return on investment, it’s still adding a task into the mix that doesn’t need to be there if the EHR is designed and implemented with efficient and effective professional workflow and with the consumer’s best treatment in mind.
The simple solution, and a much more valid one for my money, is to follow the direction of the EHR that’s moving us toward National Health Record and better care for consumers with the help of technologies enabling electronic sharing of consumer records in order for professionals to treat the person as a team.Read more →
2011 has been a memorable year for MindHealthBiz. I hope I’ve helped steer some people in a positive direction with this bolg.
MindHealthBiz continues to evolve, focusing more on the core expertise, which incase you don’t know is Hands-on Electronic Health Record selection, implementation and vitalization. I’ve met some new friends this year, which inspires gratitude. I’ve also had some people from my past help me out in ways I could never foresee. A ton of “coincidences” have come my way, all positive.
I’ve had some personal trials this year, who hasn’t? I am convinced that every challenge has led me to a better spot. Perhaps it’s just the old addage “That which doesn not kill us makes us stronger”…I prefer to look at each one of these events and situatios in my life as gifts from the Universe.
Remember in 2012, Peace and Love is where it’s at! -T.Read more →
It’s amazing how humans invent pet names for concepts…even money: Samoleons, bucks, sheckles, MU.
That last one, MU, is Meaningful Use incentives a subject near and dear to healthcare’s heart, since it helps pay for all that expensive Electronic Health Record (EHR) software and the effort to make it work efficiently and effectively. The EHR is intended to keep better records, thereby helping treatment professionals work as a team with consumers, whether they work for the same facility or not. The EHR is evolving into a tool delivering better access all treatment records, as long as the consumer signs a release of information form.
The MU delivers cash incentives to assure the professionals are using the EHR in a meaningful way, to guide treatment into productive, healing directions. There are rules, and the first set of rules, the 15 core objectives of Stage 1, are supposed to be on line now, following a strict timeline to speed up the process of getting the EHR working and accepted nationwide. The core measures are technological assurances that Meaningful Use incentives (our tax dollars) are invested wisely.
Progress has been a little slow.
Professionals feel the timeline has been too aggressive, or don’t want to spend the money, or don’t think it applies to their treatment discipline…pick one or more. The fact is, professionals who saw the opportunity are collecting checks. It’s all in how you work with the system.
In response to the slow EHR acceptance and in order to encourage more organizations to ramp up their EHR, The US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has announced a year’s delay to meeting Stage 2 of Meaningful Use so more people can implement their EHR to meet the Stage 1 requirements. Got that? Good, because it can be confusing. There are three Stages, and not room here to discuss it all in this discussion, so let’s stick to some early benefits and the aforementioned reason why Stage 2 has been delayed.
In line with our president’s primary EHR reasoning, MU has created 50,000 jobs so far in Healthcare IT. That can’t be bad.
OK, so what’s the big deal? Well, the Stage I core measures are the easy ones. Most software vendors of any significance can meet these requirements to collect the incentives already. You’ve probably seen some of the elements in your friendly neighborhood mental health center or your primary physical health physician’s office. These core measures include activities like electronic prescribing, which cuts the time to order medications and virtually eliminates medication errors that can be harmful or even fatal. One Stage I “Menu Set” measure assures that your information can be shared electronically among your professionals offering care, so the primary physician and the psychiatrist will offer supportive therapies instead of contrary ones.
Stage II objectives include some elements that may not be very tough for the software manufacturer to include, but to implement the software into the workplace is a chore. The hope is that the benefit exceeds the pain to get the functionality up and running. Another day, we’ll examine Stage II objectives.
The jobs created in healthcare and information technology make the expense worth the effort of meeting both the Stage I and Stage II requirements. The MU incentives can pay for an entire EHR and its implementation over the course of the five year period professionals collect the payments. And ultimately there’s one outcome that can’t be seriously denied.
When a professional has access to more health information about a consumer, she’s better able to treat the consumer. When professionals have outcome measurement tools that can be measured nationwide with de-identified data, treatment can improve. When professionals work together, the consumer gets more comprehensive and effective treatment by treating the whole person.
All this and samolians? What a deal!Read more →