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Category Archives: Meaningful Use

What is the Difference Between EHR and EMR?

EMR and EHR“EMR” and “EHR” are terms that refer to two separate methods of recording patient data. However, the terms have become widely synonymous, and can cause confusion amongst patients. “EMR” stands for “electronic medical record” and “EHR” stands for “electronic health record”.  Upon first glance, it may sound as though the two terms could be used in the same context.  However, there are actually significant differences between the two that are important to note. Read More

Leading EHR, Billing & Practice Management Software Demonstrated Live at Academy of Integrative Pain Management Conference in San Diego CA October 19th – 22nd

San Diego, CA - 28th Annual AIPM MeetingThe Academy of Integrative Pain Management 2017 conference in San Diego, CA will take place at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront located on the San Diego Bay, adjacent to the Gaslamp Quarter, from October 19th to 22nd. As the only clinical meeting dedicated to integrative pain management, the conference is set to host the largest network of pain care professionals. With leaders, influencers and innovators in pain care management in attendance, joined by multidisciplinary clinicians from around the country, this is an event not to be missed. Read More

How Can You Achieve Patient Engagement in Your Practice?

Healthcare and Medical ApplicationsPatient requirements are continually evolving as patients are beginning to request more control over their care than ever before. Both Medicare reform, and the MACRA reporting procedure, are placing new requirements on practices to deliver patient engagement, pushing practices to prioritize value-based care.

There are several digital interactive tools that can help to achieve optimal patient engagement levels, from automated scheduling, to online patient information resources, and appointment reminders. The long-term advantages of these tools are significant and lead to improved patient engagement, as well as financial benefits, and improved healthcare outcomes.

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California ASC 2017 Annual Conference – Indian Wells, CA September 6th – 8th | 1st Providers Choice

California ASC Conference 2017The California Ambulatory Surgery Center Association’s (CASA) 2017 Annual Conference in Indian Wells, CA at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells Resort & Spa, is a crucial fixture on the calendar for Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) professionals. With key industry leaders in attendance, the conference’s program contains events in Finance, Human Resources, Clinical and Quality oversight. The conference is a unique opportunity to visit 1st Providers Choice at booth #63, which will be exhibiting top-class customizable ASC software.

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Preparing your practice for 2016

practice in 2016As we approach the close of 2015, it’s important look ahead and prepare for 2016. There are a lot of changes to look out for with regards to meaningful use and PQRS standards.

The best strategy to get a head start on the new year is to be prepared. So, we’ve assembled a list of high-priority initiatives to help you get your practice rolling into the new year smoothly.

1. Meaningful use stage 3 implementation

Practices will need to meet Stage 3 minimum requirements come 2018, but because these requirements include extensive software upgrades, it is in the practice’s best interest to get started now.

Stage 3 meaningful use emphasizes 4 main objectives:

  • Software solutions must focus on improved security of patient information
  • Doctors must fully adopt ePrescribing capabilities
  • There must be provisions to support clinical decision-making
  • Software must easily facilitate data sharing between other health care providers, as well as the patients themselves, to increase patient engagement.

In 2015, CMS shortened the reporting period for meaningful use from 1 year to 90 days for all participants. However, be aware that in 2016, only first-time participants of meaningful use will be eligible for a 90-day reporting period.

2. PQRS in 2016

2016 will bring a few changes to PQRS reporting:

  • The penalty for not reporting PQRS in 2016 PQRS will be 4% for solo providers, and groups with 2-9 providers and will jump to 6% for groups with 10 or more providers
  • Newly proposed cross-cutting measures will include preventive care and screening, unhealthy alcohol use, screening & brief counseling; breast cancer screening, falls, risk assessment and falls, and plan of care.
  • New measures groups will include cardiovascular prevention, diabetic retinopathy, and multiple chronic conditions.
  • For the 2016 reporting period, EPs will need to report at least 9 measures, covering at least 3 of the NQS domains.

To review all of the changes to PFS and PQRS for 2016 and their provisions, click here.

3. Analyze your accounts receivable and get your claims paid in a timely manner

Give yourself the best chance at receiving claims payments in a timely manner by establishing a clear system among your staff. This process starts at the front desk, where staff should make sure to always make a copy of insurance cards, double check that patients have completed all necessary information on the forms, and that information is inputted correctly into the system.

Provide a clear payment policy (which patients will sign) that will allow for the practice to collect overdue fees on-site for recurrent patients. Charge entries can cause a delay if they are entered with even the slightest of errors. Designate a staff member to manage charge entries in an undistracted office room. Finally, delegate time to follow-up on claims that are overdue.

4. Consider outsourcing billing

If you haven’t thought about outsourcing billing, take a moment to analyze how moving billing out of your office can help you focus more on patient care, reduce billing errors, ensure billing compliance, and free up some office expenses used on office supplies and updating billing software.  Read more about some of the benefits of outsourced billing.

5. Focus on practice management

Administrative tasks can mount and cause frustration for physicians wanting more face time with patients.  EMR IMS Software Training will help cut down on time spent learning new EMR systems and will help ease any anxiety that comes with the integration process.

The time to start is now. 1st Providers Choice is dedicated to assisting physicians run an efficient and more care-based practice. Interested in learning more about our ePrescribing software, EMR IMS Software Training, or other services? Contact us online or call 480-782-1116.

Why Physicians Need to Upgrade to Meaningful Use Stage 2 Certified EHR Software

2014 Edition EHR softwareThe EHR Incentive Program has been around for several years now, and few healthcare providers are unfamiliar with Meaningful Use and all it entails. The program main draw is the stimulus payments that physicians can qualify for each year by successfully adopting, implementing, upgrading or demonstrating meaningful use of certified EHR technology.

Starting this year, qualifying for incentive payments requires using 2014 Edition certified software. This means that physicians must attest to Meaningful Use using an EHR solution that has proven through extensive testing that it is capable of supporting requirements for both Stage 1 and 2, including electronic health information exchange, interoperability and patient engagement.

In order to accommodate physicians whose EHR vendors have not yet achieved Stage 2 certification, CMS and the ONC decided that in 2014 only all Meaningful Use participants will report for just 90 days – regardless of whether the physician is in their first year of Stage 1 or already getting started on Stage 2. This means that healthcare professionals can begin their Meaningful Use reporting this year as late as October 1, 2014. Physicians are warned, however, not to wait until the last minute to get started.

1st Providers Choice understands physicians’ concerns, and we want our users to start the reporting process early. That’s why we worked hard to get certified for Stage 2. Our EHR software and Patient Healthcare Portal solution are both 2014 ONC Stage 2 Certified, allowing physicians to start their 90-day reporting period immediately.

fully certified EHR software

To help you achieve your goals, we assign a Meaningful Use expert to your practice. They guide you through the reporting process and show you how to use the EHR’s Meaningful Use dashboard to keep track of your progress. Our trainers also work with you to go over using drug formularies, setting up lab interfaces, e-prescribing controlled substances, and using the patient portal to achieve Meaningful Use.

Our patient portal makes it easy for physicians to meet the following patient engagement requirements:

  • Provide online access to health information to more than 50% of all unique patients (who were seen by you during the reporting period) within 4 business days.
  • Have 5% of all unique patients view their health information online, download it, or transmit it to a third party.
  • Have 5% of unique patients (who were seen by you during the reporting period) send you a secure message.

1st Providers Choice has also made the necessary upgrades to ensure our EHR is up to date and our Practice Management software is ready for ICD-10. We have already begun testing our software with insurance payers and clearing houses to ensure a smooth transition to ICD-10 for hospitals and physician practices.

Interested in learning more about fully certified EHR software? Call 480-782-1116 today!

Providers Prepare for Stage 2 of Meaningful Use

Meaningful Use stage 2 guidelines build on stage 1, promote data exchange and patient engagement.

stethoscopeWhile many providers are still knee deep in the first stage of meaningful use, countless others have yet to implement an EMR system, much less attest to meaningful use. Still, many medical professionals have already started preparing for meaningful use stage 2. Understanding what is expected from providers for meaningful use is the best way to prepare and to ensure that objectives and reporting requirements are met.

When will I need to begin reporting?  The earliest that any eligible hospital or provider can attest to meaningful use stage 2 is 2014. To do so, healthcare professionals must first demonstrate two years of meaningful use under the criteria for stage 1.

What should I expect?  For providers who have already spent two years familiarizing themselves with the first stage of meaningful use, including its core and menu objectives, attesting for stage 2 should be fairly straightforward. Stage 2 retains the same structure as the first phase but increases the number of core measures that must be met as well as percentages for those objectives. For example, in stage 1 physicians were required to record specific demographic information in their certified EMR software for more than 50 percent of patients. In stage 2, the requirement has increased to more than 80 percent of patients.

  • Core and Menu Objectives: For meaningful use stage 2, eligible providers will need to meet 17 of 20 core objectives and eligible hospitals will be required to meet 16 of 19. Both hospitals and providers will need to meet 3 of 6 menu objectives.
  • Clinical Quality Measures (CQM): CQMs have been removed as a core objective; however, physicians must still report on CQMs to show meaningful use. Providers will be required to report on 9 of 64 CQMs, and hospitals will need to report on 16 of 29.

What else has changed from stage 1 to stage 2?

Reporting period: In 2014 there will only be one three-month reporting period for all providers, regardless of which stage of meaningful use they are on Batch reporting: Starting with stage 2, organizations will be able to submit attestation information for all of their eligible professionals in one file. Previously, data had to be entered separately for each provider.

Patient engagement: A new core objective in stage 2 requires all providers (except those in limited broadband areas) to use secure electronic messaging to communicate with at least 5 percent patients. For a different objective, physicians must provide at least 5 percent of their patients the ability to view online, download and transmit their health information within four business days of the information being available to the provider.

Electronic exchange: A new core objective will require physicians to provide a summary of care record for more than 50 percent of patients that are referred to a another care setting or provider. Of those care records, more than 10 percent must be sent electronically – and at least one must be to a provider with a different EMR system or to a CMS-designated test EMR.

Are you looking for an EMR system that can help you meet meaningful use objectives? Contact us to learn more about the interactive Meaningful Use Reporting Module in our fully certified medical billing, EMR and practice management software.