Archive for February, 2011

Feb
21
2011

himss11 Three Reasons Doctors (And Everyone Else!) Should Drop By The DrFirst Booth At HIMSS

  1. You’re going to need a recovery room.
    Especially after attending a few Meaningful Use seminars that leave you feeling panicked your practice will never catch up. Head straight on over to Booth # 442 to relax in our lounge area and discover the painless path to Meaningful Use scaled and priced just right for small practices: Rcopia-MU e-prescribing. And we do mean the perfect size and cost. At just $7 a day, Rcopia-MU can qualify doctors within 90 days for tens of thousands of dollars in Meaningful Use incentives. We’ll have demos of Rcopia-MU around the clock, so come see one for yourself (and bring a friend!)
  2. Discover the next big thing for your iPod Touch, iPad, or iPhone!
    Check out our new iPhone app! Have your patients in your pocket! The first 75 beta users will get to use the software for free! (You need to have a license to Rcopia or Rcopia-MU to access an account.)
  3. Loot. Lots of it.
    What would HIMSS be without the goodies? And we’re giving some seriously good stuff away every day…Enter our Golden Ticket giveaway for our daily drawing to win an iPod Shuffle, Nano, and Touch! Plus, everyone who watches our demo of Rcopia-MU will walk away with a free t-shirt!

PLUS- For media only, we have USB, Laser Pointer, pens with our Media Kit on it! Limited Quantities- so visit our booth early on Monday!

About Irene Froehlich:

Ms. Froehlich has been with DrFirst since its inception in 2000. In her role as Director of Marketing, she oversees the planning, directing, and coordinating all marketing and public relations efforts at DrFirst. Ms. Froehlich has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Find all posts by Irene Froehlich | Visit Website

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Feb
17
2011

moz screenshot 2 More Meaningful Use Money On The Way? Latest Budgets Give Big Clues
Doctors and detectives have something in common- they use clues to solve cases.

And yet, although there are many clues supporting the continued funding of “Meaningful Use” – many doctors are still not convinced that they can reliably count on the government to pay their bonuses.

So, here is another indicator:

President Obama’s budget increases fiscal year 2012 funding for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) – a 37% jump from 2010 funding. (The ONC oversees health care IT initiatives including the Meaningful Use incentives program.) Clearly he is unperturbed by Republican threats to defund the Affordable Health Care Act.

PLUS- the ONC is also slated to receive an astonishing leap in stimulus funding from the HITECH Act; $498.6 million in 2011 and $874.3 million in 2012.

Of course, Republicans are still making noise about scrapping the entire health care reform legislation, and while that does muddy up the waters- here is the reality:

  • The Senate likely won’t pass any House legislation that calls for defunding health care reform. And even if it does, Obama’s veto pen is sure to come out.
  • Electronic medical records have long been a bipartisan goal. We expect this to resume after the political posturing runs its course (on this issue, anyway).

These could be some of the same reasons why states like Mississippi are moving full steam ahead to prepare for an expected slew of submitted physician claims for Meaningful Use incentives. If you’re not moving forward, you are putting yourself at risk for not having funding available when the gauntlet drops! Stay tuned for a more detailed post on that next week.

About Irene Froehlich:

Ms. Froehlich has been with DrFirst since its inception in 2000. In her role as Director of Marketing, she oversees the planning, directing, and coordinating all marketing and public relations efforts at DrFirst. Ms. Froehlich has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Find all posts by Irene Froehlich | Visit Website

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Feb
14
2011

If you’re a small medical practice manager or physician, you might be thinking – “Huh? We’re nowhere near meeting “Meaningful Use”. We don’t even know if we ever will be!”

After all, when have the little guys ever had the money to hire full-time IT departments, which surely must be required to meet Meaningful Use? And doesn’t this involve buying an Electronic Health Records system and dumping all my paper records – something many small practices aren’t ready for? Finally, what about all the other government directives to juggle, with names like “Physician Quality Reporting” and “ICD-10 Codes”?

Take a deep, deep breath. The truth is, smaller practices have several distinct advantages the big health care providers don’t.

Cheaper IT resources

The small practice that wants to meet “Meaningful Use” simply doesn’t need to spend the kind of money that the big guys do. First, they won’t require full-time IT experts. While it does require working computers with a secure Internet connection, and someone who knows how to hook them up. The smart solution for small practices is to hire an outside IT consultant a few hours a month on an as-needed basis for the tech stuff. It will certainly cost far less than hiring in-house, even with consultants that charge higher hourly rates.

Can use modular solutions instead of complete EHRs

Demonstrating “Meaningful Use” of Electronic Health Records is not the same as demonstrating full use of a complete EHR. In fact, small medical practices can use a certified, modular solution like DrFirst’s Rcopia-MU e-prescribing software to qualify for more than $63K in Meaningful Use incentive funds. Did we mention it’s priced at only $7 a day? That’s less than the cost of an exam bed. So much for the myth that it costs small practices a bundle to meet Meaningful Use.

Some IT health directives don’t even apply to small practices

Small medical practices will be relieved to learn that a major directive, switching to ICD-10 coding standards, is only for inpatient facilities – at least for the first phase. So for now, this effectively rules out most small practices.  And while some quality reporting is required, the main incentive program, the Physician Quality Reporting System, is not. (However, participating small practices can easily submit physician quality reporting data with Rcopia-MU!)

Stay tuned as we bust more Meaningful Use myths in the months ahead.

About Peter Kaufman:

Schooled at MIT, Dr. Kaufman nurtured a strong interest in medical informatics while a Bowman Gray School of Medicine faculty member. After entering private practice he founded PiNK software in 1996 to produce EMR software, later becoming DrFirst’s chief medical officer upon its founding. He lectures nationally on various healthcare IT topics, and as a board certified gastroenterologist, he continues a limited clinical practice. Dr. Kaufman is a member of the Health IT Standards Committee, Privacy and Security Workgroup for ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology). Representing the American Gastroenterology Association’s (AGA), Dr. Kaufman is a delegate to the AMA and was the co-chair of the Physicians Electronic Health Record Consortium (PEHRC). He has participated on workgroups at CCHIT (stand-alone e-prescribing), HIMSS (e-prescribing), and NCPDP (e-prescribing).

Find all posts by Peter Kaufman | Visit Website

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Feb
09
2011

Deciding to upgrade to a complete EHR solution is just the first part of the equation for many practices. The next step is deciding which one to buy. Thanks to Dr. Carolina Samuels, one of DrFirst’s Hospital Services Group consultants, this decision just got a lot simpler.

Dr. Samuels worked with a team to create an online searchable database, named the EHR Selector, that provides unbiased information on numerous ONC-certified electronic health records systems. Now providers, practice managers, and consultants can pull a list of suitable EHRs based on a practice’s unique requirements, such as:

  • Medical specialty
  • Practice size
  • Technology standards
  • Price
  • HIPAA, CCHIT, and Meaningful Use criteria

If you’re a provider signed up with a regional extension center that offers a list of qualified EHR solutions, it’s still worth your while to use the EHR Selector. That’s because most RECs based their qualifications before ONC-certification groups ever certified a single EHR. And without this certification, an EHR won’t officially meet key HITECH Act and Meaningful Use qualifications.

Be aware that pulling the most appropriate list of EHRs will take you more than one session. This is a professionally developed database meant to help users define their correct requirements and discover the most closely matched EHR systems. Search criteria includes more than 600 features and functions, so best results will typically call for several sessions. By the same token, this also makes the EHR Selector an excellent requirements analysis tool. Providers can feel confident using the findings as part of their vendor RFPs. On a separate note, we are not able to verify that they have the most up to date information on all EMRs available on the market, so take the results with a grain of salt.

The EHR Selector is available on a subscription basis with varying price tiers. Check it out at www.ehrselector.com.

We’ll close with a reminder to readers, that if you are still in research mode for an EHR, you should consider getting an interim solution with DrFirst’s Rcopia-MU, cheap and easy, and guaranteed to meet all 25 Meaningful Use criteria. Make sure you don’t miss the 2011 window for incentives, and take your time selecting the RIGHT EHR for your practice!

About Irene Froehlich:

Ms. Froehlich has been with DrFirst since its inception in 2000. In her role as Director of Marketing, she oversees the planning, directing, and coordinating all marketing and public relations efforts at DrFirst. Ms. Froehlich has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Find all posts by Irene Froehlich | Visit Website

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Feb
07
2011

If you aren’t familiar with the federal government’s eRX Incentive Program, aka MIPPA, it offers eligible physicians a nice carrot to switch to e-prescribing – extra funds equaling up to 2% of their yearly Medicare Part B billing claims.

But the time of rewards and no punishment is drawing to a close! Physicians need to be made aware that there is a “stick” that comes with the program and it’s coming soon. Starting in 2012, some doctors will see a payment reduction instead. And they have just a few months this year to do something about it: deploy an e-prescribing solution and submit at least 10 electronic prescriptions by June 30th, 2011.

Group practices reporting as GRPO I or GRPO II practices have to demonstrate all prescriptions were electronically submitted in this time period.

Otherwise, physicians are looking at a 1% Medicare Part B payment reduction in 2012; 1.5% in 2013; and 2% in 2014 and beyond, unless they demonstrate one of two “hardship” factors – that they practice in a rural area without sufficient high speed Internet access, or without available pharmacies to process e-prescriptions.

But there is no need to worry. DrFirst’s Rcopia e-prescribing solution meets the MIPPA requirements and costs just $2 a day. If you do not currently use a fully certified EHR and are looking for an even greater return on investment, consider  Rcopia-MU (Meaningful Use). It meets all requirements for MIPPA, PQRI and ARRA and costs less than $7 a day.

Do the math – if you bill a considerable amount in Medicare Part B claims, the incentive money you can get from e-prescribing can be up to 8x times as much – or more – than the cost to deploy a DrFirst e-prescribing solution. This represents a low cost, low risk investment in the most widely supported and utilized functionality of modern clinical information technology.

Remember, the window for 2012 closes  on June 30th, 2011 to document e-prescribing use to avoid the penalties and get the  incentive payments instead. Find out how DrFirst can get you there by contacting us at sales@drfirst.com

About Tom Sullivan:

Dr. Sullivan is a practicing cardiologist who joined DrFirst in 2004, just after completing his term as President of the Massachusetts Medical Society. He is known throughout the healthcare industry as the father of the Continuity of Care Record (“CCR”) and a leader on the future of healthcare technology. He is assisting DrFirst in ensuring that Rcopia continues to add the functionality necessary to maintain its leadership position both in electronic prescribing and in the channel of communication between various sectors of the healthcare community and the physician. Dr. Sullivan is active in organized medical groups at the state and national level, and is both a delegate to the AMA and the Chairperson of their Council on Medical Service as well as past Co-Chair of the Physicians EHR Consortium.

Find all posts by Tom Sullivan | Visit Website

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Feb
04
2011


Doctors shouldn’t wager on an Act of Congress before acting on Meaningful Use

If you’re playing in a Fantasy League you know it’s going to be a close game on Sunday. The Steelers have made the most Super Bowl appearances and Roethlisberger has something to prove. But then again the Packers are the favored team and Aaron Rodgers is on fire… If you’ve got money riding on the game, it’s an agonizing decision.

We hear from doctors on a daily basis that they too are struggling with a decision that involves a lot of back and forth: whether to invest in a Meaningful Use solution this year, or wait.  The concern is that the new Congress is making threats about defunding the HITECH Act. What if doctors invest in meeting Meaningful Use requirements, only to get shorted out of promised incentive funds because Congress pulls the plug?

A hard-hitting InformationWeek article makes a great case for why doctors shouldn’t worry. The article’s top reasons:

  • Even if House Republicans pass a law to cut funding from the HITECH Act, the umbrella legislation that covers Meaningful Use incentives, the Senate probably won’t pass it – and President Obama would just veto it, anyway.
  • Incentives are paid out yearly until 2014; after which, payment reductions kick in. If funding is cut, it will likely be for those who adopt meaningful use later during the incentive period. 2011 is the year to reap the most incentives – up to $21K this year alone.
  • It’s the twenty-first century, folks. We now know that IT Health technology cuts costs and improves care, incentive programs or not.

On this last point, Chuck Christian, CIO at Good Samaritan Hospital, especially agrees. He stated to InformationWeek: “We’re not doing this because we think we’ll get a windfall, we’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do.”

But he’s aware the program’s funds have an expiration date. “If you’re late to the game, you’ll get a reduced amount. There’s a finite bucket of money, when it’s gone, it’s gone,” Christian said to Information Week.

The article also points out that transitioning to electronic health records – the core of Meaningful Use – has typically been a bipartisan goal. We expect it will be again, once the current political posturing runs its course.

Our conclusion: we believe securing Meaningful Use funds is by far a sure thing- check are already in the mail for early adopters- and an even better bet for providers that invest in a low-cost solution like Rcopia-MU!

About Peter Kaufman:

Schooled at MIT, Dr. Kaufman nurtured a strong interest in medical informatics while a Bowman Gray School of Medicine faculty member. After entering private practice he founded PiNK software in 1996 to produce EMR software, later becoming DrFirst’s chief medical officer upon its founding. He lectures nationally on various healthcare IT topics, and as a board certified gastroenterologist, he continues a limited clinical practice. Dr. Kaufman is a member of the Health IT Standards Committee, Privacy and Security Workgroup for ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology). Representing the American Gastroenterology Association’s (AGA), Dr. Kaufman is a delegate to the AMA and was the co-chair of the Physicians Electronic Health Record Consortium (PEHRC). He has participated on workgroups at CCHIT (stand-alone e-prescribing), HIMSS (e-prescribing), and NCPDP (e-prescribing).

Find all posts by Peter Kaufman | Visit Website

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