Patient Portals: How to Train Your Patients to Use Them

Robert BassAn EHR patient portal offers patients a secure way to view records, schedule appointments, and interact with your office. Along with elevating patient care, EHR patient portals enables you meet meaningful use requirements.

Check out how Robert Bass, OD, increased patient portal usage with his patients. Read the entire article: Patient Portals: How to Train Your Patients to Use Them

Copied with permission from Review of Optometric Business.

Eyefinity Announces Strategic Technology Partnership with Modernizing Medicine, Inc.

Eyefinity EHR logoEyefinity and Modernizing Medicine, Inc. (MMI) have announced a new technology partnership that will integrate Eyefinity’s award-winning practice management portfolio with MMI’s Electronic Medical Assistant® (EMA), a cloud-based electronic health record (EHR) solution, resulting in a fully-integrated offering for the optometry industry. This partnership will provide optometry practitioners and physicians with the next generation of cloud-based technologies that will enable their practices to meet the demands of an evolving industry, with an adaptive learning engine and intuitive user interface built by medical industry experts and optometrists for maximum workflow efficiency.

Eyefinity EHR, launching in late 2013, brings together the collective strength of Eyefinity—the long-time industry leader for practice management and EHR solutions, as well as the number one software provider for federal stimulus payments for demonstrating meaningful use—and MMI, a proven leader in EHR technology for more than 1,000 physician practices across the country in specialty markets including dermatology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, plastic surgery, and cosmetic surgery. MMI was listed at No. 47 on Forbes’ annual ranking of America’s Most Promising Companies for this year.

“Eyefinity is bringing the newest EHR technology to eyecare professionals and physicians, built specifically with the optometry practice in mind,” said Steve Baker, president of Eyefinity. “Our exclusive partnership with MMI enables us to bring a medical-based EHR system to the optometry sector and integrate it with the robust Eyefinity Practice Management solution, with the intent of giving doctors the ability to deliver an unparalleled patient experience and increase practice revenue.”

Eyefinity EHR features include:

  • Native iPad technology. Provides fast, easy workflow in the palm of your hand.
  • Cloud-based documenting. Charts available at multiple practice locations eliminating costly hardware; built-in data backup included.
  • Adaptability to diagnosis style. Adaptive learning eliminates the need for complicated templates.
  • Patient portal. Patients can easily input medical history and demographic from either home or a tablet and information can be updated by the patient in future visits.

“We are excited to partner with a leading company like Eyefinity in taking EHR technology to the next level,” said Daniel Cane, President and CEO of MMI. “Eyefinity EHR, powered by EMA, is built to maximize a practice’s efficiency in providing patients with quality care, and is exclusively available from Eyefinity for the optometry market.”

For the latest information on Eyefinity EHR, including videos about this new product offering coming later this year, visit www.eyefinity.com/thelist. Interested in this new technology? Register to get on our exclusive list to be the first to learn more.

Wouldn’t It Be Great if “What if” Could Be “You Can?” Well, It’s about to Happen!

What if technology could make your practice more efficient? What if more time could make you more money? What if technology could make you truly mobile? What if technology could learn how you like to diagnose? What if technology could help you create a better patient experience?

Wouldn’t it be great if “what if” could be “YOU CAN?” Well it’s about to happen.

Coming this summer, Eyefinity will introduce a cutting-edge EHR system that works the way YOU practice medicine. Coupled with the robust OfficeMate Practice Management system, no other system compares for increased revenue and enhanced patient care.

Don’t get left behind—check out this video, then register to get on an exclusive waiting list.

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.

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.

Understanding Meaningful Use

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

In my last post, I challenged each of you to begin the process of utilizing electronic medical records (EMR). I want to reinforce that call to action; you need to adopt a certified EMR, like ExamWRITER, now. The government wants you to use EMR, not in a superficial manner, but in a meaningful way. That desire is the basis for the incentive payments that will be available to all eligible providers.

Meaningful use is the foundation for the entire government incentive payment initiative, yet this concept seems vague and confusing. It’s like trying to drive down a foggy road without a clear view of where we are headed. It shouldn’t be this way. Meaningful use is quite simple once you understand its basic concepts. Over the next 5 years, the healthcare industry is being asked to move to a high-level use of electronic record keeping and information exchange in anticipation that it will dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of American healthcare. In order to reach this goal, the meaningful use of EMRs will progress through 3 stages over this period of time. The first stage will be over years 2011 and 2012 and, according to the Final Rule, has specific meaningful use objectives that eligible providers must satisfy to qualify for incentive pay.

The objectives (or measures) are not difficult and, if not a part of your typical workflow, can be easily added. Your certified EMR will provide you with the tools to satisfy the meaningful use objectives. There are 25 meaningful use objectives, 15 that are called “core” and 10 that are named “menu”. The government is requiring that all 15 core objectives be met during your reporting period and that 5 out of 10 menu objectives be met, with your choosing the 5 that you meet. There is room for exclusion in these core and menu objectives if you cannot perform them, due to an objective being outside of your scope of license, or if you do not have any patients that would allow you to meet the objective. In these cases, you would simply identify that item as an exclusion and it would qualify as having performed the objective. However, there is a lot that is unclear about this exclusion language, and it doesn’t appear to me that it will be allowed frequently or on a recurring basis.

I feel that the easiest way to understand meaningful use is to recognize the government’s objectives in the first stage. The 3 basic criteria include use of a certified EHR:

  • In a meaningful manner including e-prescribing, data storage, and retrieval
  • For electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of healthcare
  • To submit clinical quality and other measures

The 25 meaningful use objectives fit within those 3 areas. In my next column, we will look a little deeper at examples of these objectives. It’s my desire to help you understand this whole program, to be comfortable with its demands, and to give you the tools to achieve meaningful use of your EMR. My immediate challenge to you is to begin using your EMR, or if you haven’t purchased ExamWRITER yet, do so and begin the implementation process. There is no need to wait—begin the EMR process now.

For more information: Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs.