Attesting to Meaningful Use: A Success Story

Today’s entry comes from Lorie Lippiatt, OD.

Dr. Lorie Lippiatt

Dr. Lorie Lippiatt has attested to meaningful use with the help of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10.

To some, coming back to work after the New Year’s Day always feels like a quiet, somber return to reality after the fun festivities of the holidays. But at my practice, it was an exciting return from Christmas break. The office was abuzz because we were going live with our certified software!

We implemented OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 on January 3, 2011, which was the first day we were eligible to demonstrate meaningful use (MU), and began our 90-day attestation period. After registering on the CMS Web site, we were ready to go!

Although we have used OfficeMate/ExamWRITER for many years, the first couple of weeks were a learning experience for my staff and me. Due to the requirements of the MU objectives, we needed to make a point of more carefully documenting our interactions with the patients in OfficeMate and ExamWRITER to ensure that we were meeting the MU Objectives. Thankfully, the fields were clearly identified throughout the program, which made the process easy and straightforward.

Initially, we ran the MU reports in the software daily. We did this to ensure that everyone on staff was participating fully and to spot any critical areas where our documentation was not meeting the MU objectives. Once we identified and resolved any potential weaknesses and felt confident in our understanding and implementation of the MU criteria, we ran our reports weekly, and then monthly. In the meantime, our quality of patient care was improving!

When the 90-day period ended, and CMS announced we could attest on April 18th, we were ready! In preparing to attest to meaningful use, I took a pretest that CMS offered online to verify our readiness and determine if our reporting would be accepted. It was! So, on April 18, 2011, I logged in to the attestation site, and, using the numerical values provided to me through reporting built into OfficeMate, I successfully attested to meaningful use for 2011 in about 30 minutes.

We should be receiving our check sometime before June this year. I plan to reinvest in my practice with the incentive money, and to incentivize my staff with a bonus for their help in participating in the process!

Dr. Lorie Lippiatt is a 1988 graduate of The Ohio State University College of Optometry; she founded the Salem Eyecare Center, Inc., in 1989. Today, the center is a 5,500-square-foot facility that encompasses a complete children’s vision center.

Understanding Meaningful Use Objectives, Part 2

A message from James Kirchner, OD, Chief Professional Officer for Eyefinity/OfficeMate:

Dr. James Kirchner

In a previous article, I took you through the first six Meaningful Use (MU) objectives in the “core” group as established by the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). In this edition, I’m going to explain the remaining nine MU objectives. Remember, CMS divided the 25 meaningful use objectives into two groups: the first group of 15, called “core” objectives, and the second group of 10, called “menu” objectives. The directive from CMS is that eligible providers must complete all 15 core items and at least five of the 10 menu items, for a total of 20, to meet MU requirements. As I’ve mentioned before, there are exclusions available to the eligible provider, allowing noncompletion of an objective, yet fulfilling MU. I will address these exclusions in a future Trends and Tactics.

If you missed the first six from the last article, you can still read it on our blog. Remember, for all of these easy-to-accomplish MU objectives, OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 will provide the necessary tools that allow you to fulfill the requirements.

Here are the remaining nine core objectives:

1.     CPOE (Computer Physician Order Entry) for medication orders
More than 30% of unique patients, with at least one medication in their medication list as
seen by the EP, must have at least one medication ordered using CPOE.

2.     Implement drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checks.
The EP has enabled this functionality for the entire EHR reporting period.

3.     Implement one clinical decision support rule and the ability to track compliance
with the rule.

OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 will give you this ability.

4.     Report clinical quality measures to CMS or the state.
Extension of PQRI reporting using OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10

5.     Protect electronic health information created or maintained by the certified EHR technology through the implementation of appropriate technical capabilities.
OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 will provide this functionality.

6.     Generate and transmit permissible prescriptions electronically (eRx).
More than 40% of all permissible prescriptions written by the EP are transmitted
electronically using certified EHR technology.

7.     Provide patients with an electronic copy of their health information (including diagnostic test results, problem list, medication lists, medication allergies, discharge summary, procedures), upon request.
More than 50% of all unique patients of the EP who request an electronic copy of their
health information are provided it within three business days.

8.     Provide clinical summaries for patients for each office visit.
Clinical summaries provided to patients for more than 50% of all office visits within three
business days

9.     Capability to exchange key clinical information electronically (for example, problem list, medication list, medication allergies, diagnostic test results) among providers of care and patient authorized entities
Performed at least one test

Now you have seen all 15 core objectives that provide meaningful use. In my next article, we’ll look at the 10 menu objectives. Remember, your certified EHR must provide you with the tools to easily fulfill the objectives. OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 is certified and will give you those tools. We want to enable you to qualify for the funds associated with meaningful use and help you provide the best care to your patients. The time to register for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is now, even if you don’t have your certified EMR in place. We encourage you to register now.

Understanding Meaningful Use Objectives, Part 1

A message from James Kirchner, OD, Chief Professional Officer for Eyefinity/OfficeMate:

Dr. James Kirchner

At Eyefinity/OfficeMate, we are celebrating the certification of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10. We are excited to be able to produce a certified EHR, which is a critical component of your meaningful use (MU) strategy.

Now it’s time to help you understand the MU objectives. As I promised in my previous articles, I’ll give you the specifics of the 25, MU criteria, so that you can be confident in your ability to use your certified software in a meaningful way. My goal is your success in getting your portion of the stimulus money—all $44,000.

There are 25 objectives as established in the Final Rule by CMS, I’m going to detail all 25 over the next few blog articles. I’ll make them very practical to understand. I’ll begin by detailing the first 15 which are called “core” objectives and CMS expects eligible providers (EPs) to perform all 15. The second set is called “menu,” and you will be expected to perform 5 out of the 10 menu objectives. Therefore, a total of 20 out of the 25 objectives will need to be accomplished for successfully using your certified EHR in a meaningful way.

There are exclusion provisions that have been established, so that you can decide if any of the 15 should be excluded by you. I’ll address the exclusions in the future. For now, let’s go through the list. I’m going to group the objectives by 3 major categories for the sake of clarity. I’ll do the first category in this edition and the other categories in next few blog articles.

Category 1: Recording and Securely Storing Specific Patient Data

  1. Record Demographics
    Record the patient’s preferred language, gender, race, ethnicity, and date of birth.
  2. Maintain a Problem List
    Maintain an up-to-date problem list of current and active diagnoses.
  3. Maintain an Active Medication Allergy List
    Maintain a list of patient medication allergies. If the patient hasn’t any medication allergies, you must record as none.
  4. Maintain an Active Medication List
    Maintain a list of patient medications. If the patient isn’t taking any medications, you must record as none
  5. Record and Chart Vital Signs
    Record height, weight, blood pressure, calculate and display BMI, plot and display growth charts for children 2–20 years of age, including BMI.
  6. Record Smoking Status
    Record the smoking habits of patients 13 years and older.

There you have the first set of MU objectives. Remember that your certified EHR must provide you with the tools to accomplish the tasks listed above, but it will be up to you to do the work.

I know that many of you will be concerned with some of the objectives listed. I mentioned that the CMS Final Rule makes allowances for exclusions. The topic of exclusions is worthy of a complete edition of Trends and Tactics, so stay with me through this series, and I’ll explain them.

Big Changes Are Coming to OfficeMate and ExamWRITER

Are you curious about what Eyefinity/OfficeMate has in store for spring 2010? Headed out to Vision Expo East? Swing by our booth (#2336) and get a sneak peek at OfficeMate/ExamWRITER version 9.0 (v9.0) before anyone else does! The new v9.0 delivers cutting-edge technology to amplify the performance and profitability of your practice.

With 175 enhancements, v9.0 offers significant new and advanced features. In addition, v9.0 is built on an SQL database platform that provides greater improvement in speed, flexibility, and stability over the previous platform. v9.0 offers many features to help simplify accounting practices, increase accuracy, and save time calculating charges for insurance and allocating reimbursements.

Plus, v9.0 is a catalyst toward our certified version that positions you to receive federal stimulus money available through the HITECH Act, which encourages adoption of electronic medical records (EMRs) like ExamWRITER.

As we update the technologies that power OfficeMate/ExamWRITER, you’ll need to evaluate the computer equipment used throughout your practice to meet new hardware and system requirements.

To view the requirements, including hardware, software, peripheral, and network requirements, visit the hardware and system requirements page on our web site.

As we move closer toward the release of OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v9.0 later this spring, be on the lookout for additional communication from us. You can find the latest news here on our blog, the officemate.net and eyefinity.com web sites, and our Twitter feed. All of these avenues of communication will all be abuzz with news and information about v9.0. Also, check your email inbox for the latest information.

Review of Optometric Business Highlights EMR Adoption

Kim Castleberry, O.D., is featured in this piece (below) from the Review of Optometric Business on implementing electronic medical records and the benefits that EMRs can provide.

Dr. Castleberry, who uses ExamWRITER EMRs, is also one of the expert panelists featured in Eyefinity/OfficeMate’s free online panel discussion: “Stimulus Money: What Do I Need To Know?” taking place this Friday, Feb. 5, and Monday, Feb. 8. Click here to find out more and to register.

Kim Castleberry, O.D.

Read the first half of the story from  the Review of Optometric Business below. Click the link at the bottom to read the rest.

The Pace of Change is Accelerating – for Electronic Health Records and All the Rest

When it comes to practice management software and electronic medical records, change really is the only constant, says Kim Castleberry, OD, who runs a $2 million a year practice, Plano Eye Associates, in Plano, Texas (www.planoeye.com).

Back in 1991, Dr. Castleberry began using OfficeMate practice management and its ExamWRITER package for handling electronic medical records. He was among the first ODs to do so. “I wanted to reduce my overhead and have easier chart access,” he says. And that’s what happened.

Read the rest of the story here.

Still unclear about the HITECH Act and qualifying for stimulus money? Join our free, online panel discussion and get answers!

Are you still unclear about how to qualify for stimulus money available through the HITECH Act?  Find the answers to your questions by joining our free, online panel discussion titled: “Stimulus Money: What Do I Need to Know?”

The free panel discussion is open to anyone via WebEx on either February 5, from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. PST or February 8, from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. (PST).  Click here to register.

Our panel discussion will help break down what the HITECH Act  means for you and your practice. Topics include:

  • HITECH Act overview
  • Financial incentives for providers
  • Meaningful use
  • E-prescribing
  • The urgency to act now
  • Q and A session

The panel discussion will feature Jim Tate, president of EMR Advocate LLC., which provides consulting services to EMR vendors, developers and others in the health information technology industry. Tate has supported more than thirty ambulatory and inpatient EMR vendors in their CCHIT (Certification Commission for Health Information Technology) certification projects, and currently serves as a consultant to Eyefinity/OfficeMate.

Also featured on the panel are: Lorie Lippiatt, O.D., of the Salem Eyecare Center in Salem Ohio, Kim Castleberry, O.D., of Plano Eye Associates in Plano, Texas, and Ryan Wineinger, O.D., of Wineinger Vision Associates in Shawnee, Kansas.