Using your EHR to reach Meaningful Use
The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs were created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to provide financial incentives to providers and hospitals who adopt and demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records (EHRs). Achieving Meaningful Use can be a confusing and challenging endeavor for providers and their staff. The Meaningful Use Resource Center was created to provide a single, comprehensive informational tool for providers and their staff as they work towards meeting the Meaningful Use requirements. This section contains specific information about Meaningful Use and EHR Vendors.
Changing how you work, or how your office staff do their work can be an arduous task, but the rewards go beyond receiving incentives under Meaningful Use. In fact, a lack of thorough workflow planning is one of the biggest reasons for avoidable losses in productivity and extended work days. The path to successful EHR implementation starts with practice workflow analysis and redesign. If efficiently managed, workflow redesign can be the difference-maker to maximize office efficiencies and improve care coordination using EHRs.
The first step in achieving meaningful use is understanding if your practice is ready to move from paper records to electronic health records (EHRs). Click on guide below, which will take you through six steps of implementing an electronic health records system, which also includes guidance on reaching Meaningful Use.
Below are additional resources to help you redesign or refine your workflow processes to meet Meaningful Use requirements. First, a few tips on approaching workflow redesign:
- Tip 1: Identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies in your current workflow. Decide which aspects of your workflow need improvement and prioritize them. Then do the work in stages, creating wins along the way.
- Tip 2: Experiment with a new workflow in small ways, or test different ways of doing a task to identify what works best in your practice. Try using the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) method.
- Tip 3: Listen to staff. What sounds like resistance is often valuable information about a process issue.
- Tip 4: Use standard workflow templates to get started and visualize how the work gets done. Then, customize the templates to show the process works in your practice.
This document will help you assess your practice workflow through “AS IS” (how workflows currently exist) and “TO BE” (how workflows can be optimized through practice transformation) process mapping.
The templates included in the PowerPoint slideshow linked here will give you a visual guide as to how your current processes can be restructured within your practice to help move your office workflow toward achieving Meaningful Use.
Overcoming the challenges involved in achieving Meaningful Use can be difficult. Below are helpful links to information for some of the most common problem areas.
Patient Reminders - sending reminders to patients for preventive and follow-up care
Meaningful Use requires that providers send reminders to patients for preventive and follow-up care using methods preferred by patients. In Stage 1, the Patient Reminders Menu Measure focuses on patients who are aged 65 or older and 5 or younger. In Stage 2, the Preventative Care Core Measure extends patient reminders to all patients. Some providers have experienced trouble meeting this requirement for a variety of reasons: need for training, work flow adoption, and vendor issues.
Patient-Specific Education Materials - distribute patient-specific education materials
Providers participating in the meaningful use incentive program must use a certified EHR system to identify and provide patient-specific education materials to at least 10 percent of all unique patients with office visits. This is a menu set measure in Stage 1 of meaningful use, and a core measure in Stage 2.
Problem Lists - maintain an up-to-date problem list
Providers participating in the Meaningful Use incentive program must maintain up-to-date problem lists of current and active diagnoses based on ICD-9-CM or SNOMED CT clinical coding standards. At least 80 percent of all unique patients must have at least one entry, or an indication of none, recorded as structured data.
- Registration Difficulties due to PECOS and NPPES - review this checklist to make sure your PECOS and NPPES registrations are completed