Attesting to Meaningful Use: Getting Paid to Improve Patient Care

Today’s entry comes from Robert Bass, OD, FAAO

CMS, the HITECH Act, meaningful use? Oh, no!! Improved patient care and stimulus money? Oh, yes!! How to get it done painlessly? OfficeMate and ExamWRITER!!

Dr. Robert Bass

Dr. Bass recently implemented OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 as his certified EHR and has already qualified for stimulus money.

For me, the HITECH Act was initially difficult to understand, especially all of the requirements for meeting meaningful use (MU). OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 made it easy for me to comply with the requirements and document the necessary information. CMS warns that it may take a doctor 10–20 hours to complete the attestation, but I was able to complete it in less than 45 minutes and was successful in my attesting to meaningful use within the first quarter of the reporting year. The OfficeMate/ExamWRITER software was integral in my successful and prompt attestation.

My practice began using OfficeMate/ExamWRITER a little over a year ago and upgraded to the certified v10 on January 3, 2011. Implementing a certified electronic health record (EHR) for meaningful use has raised the level of attention to detail of my staff and myself because we now have to document specific criteria for every patient. This enforces a consistently high level of care from one patient to the next. We have noticed better recordkeeping in such areas as patient demographics, correspondence, and referring doctors. All of these improvements took shape without our having to drastically change how we use OfficeMate and ExamWRITER.

I am looking forward to receiving my incentive check for my compliance, but even more so, I am looking forward to continuing to provide the utmost care for my patients.

I urge all optometrists to implement an EHR, and I recommend that you start now. Each year of the HITECH Act builds on the next, and the incentive payments are reduced each year. In 2011, you can be eligible to receive incentive payments after 90 days of using a certified EHR in a meaningful manner. In the coming years, the attestation period will be longer, and the payments will be smaller. Act today while the rewards are at their highest.

Dr. Bass is a proud alumnus from the College of William and Mary, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He graduated with honors from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1986, Dr. Bass became a Fellow in the American Academy of Optometry. Dr. Bass practices optometry in Manassas, Virginia, where ha has practiced for thirty years. An accomplished professional, Dr. Bass is also an avid fisherman and a dedicated family man.

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