Considering the switch to EHR and escribing? Here are five helpful, realistic tips to help you through the transition
1. A ”free” EHR is not necessarily free. There are a number of free EHR’s on the marketplace. I do have to admit, free
sounds great to me. However, once you begin researching the free options, you quickly discover that most are not free at all.
Some will allow pop-up ads to appear in order to fund the free option. Consider the impact of engaging your patient in their
healthcare by showing them information on your EHR, and they see a pop-up ad appear. Not the image of your practice you
want them to have. Some free EHR’s do not have an e-scribe feature, which is a requirement for Meaningful Use. By not meeting
Meaningful Use requirements, your practice will face increasing deductions in payment from CMS. While we are on the subject
of Meaningful Use, you need to consider if a free option is certified as a complete EHR for Stage 2 on the ONC Certified Health
IT Product List. Is it likely that a free EHR had the time and resources poured into it to meet the stringent Stage 2 requirements?
In fact, of the nearly 1400 products certified as a complete EHR under the 2011 criteria, only 102 products have met the Stage 2
requirements as of January 22, 2014. Virtually no free EHR option will allow you to integrate your billing process without an
additional charge. And what about ICD-10? It quickly becomes apparent that “free” is really not free.
2. Your first days with EHR will NOT be smooth, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR VENDOR PROMISES. Not exactly
how a great salesman would artfully spin it, but probably true. For example, in my pharmacy practice, we implemented a
custom-built, paperless software program that was written specifically for our company. The benefits of such a system were easy
to see upfront. And, the software was written specifically for us. How could it be anything but smooth sailing? Well, I can tell you
that our first day was far from smooth, and some frustration boiled to the surface from time to time amongst the staff. Although
the transition was difficult (we had no prior training-just thrown in to sink or swim!), I could not imagine our business today
without that same software. I learned firsthand that training and discussions with your staff before your “go-live” day are key to
minimizing the disruption. Probably most important of all is meaningfully addressing your staff’s concerns about the transition
BEFORE training. Believe it or not, in this day and age some people are still afraid of technology. Others simply just despise
change of any kind. Because without a doubt you WILL end up addressing staff concerns, it is better to do it before the transition
than after. Informing your patients that you will be implementing new tools and features into your practice is an important piece
of the puzzle as well. You may want to consider scheduling a light patient load for the first “go-live” week to minimize patient
inconvenience and maximize your staff’s ability to learn and adjust to the new software and workflow.
3. If you don’t document it, it didn’t happen. All Stage 2 Meaningful Use Certified EHR’s will by definition have all of
the documentation tools and features that you need to successfully attest for and receive the Meaningful Use Incentives.
However, because of the increased demands of Stage 2, there is more documentation to do. And your EHR can’t do it for you.
Several of the best systems can prompt you to perform certain documentation tasks, but ultimately it is up to you to perform
them. Now, factor in ICD-10. Our system, as others, can select appropriate ICD-10 and CPT codes for you. However, in order to
ensure that you get PAID for those codes, you MUST have appropriate and sufficient documentation to back those codes up.
Although changing your documentation practices may at first be difficult, diligence in this area will keep your patient charts
razor sharp clinically, allow you to meet the demands of Meaningful Use, and optimize your revenue.
4. A robust e-scribe feature really WILL save you time. As a pharmacist, I have been able to view this topic from both
sides of the fence. So, in fact, I know that your e-scribe feature can save EVERYBODY time. Let’s run down an all too-common
scenario for filling a prescription for a patient. Let’s say you want to write a script for Augmentin. You hand write the script and
send your patient on their way. They arrive at the pharmacy (invariably just as your office lunch hour begins), only to be told that
the pharmacist cannot read the handwriting. So, after the pharmacist calls the office when you open from lunch, a nurse flags
you down between patients and verifies the script says bid instead of qid. (interruption number one for you and your staff). The
pharmacist begins filling the prescription only to find out that Augmentin is a non-preferred drug and has a very high co-pay for
the patient. So, at the patient’s insistence, the pharmacist calls back to ask you to change to something else (interruption number
two for you and your staff). You change the prescription and the pharmacist attempts to fill it, only to find out that the new
prescription is not covered on the patient’s insurance at all and requires a prior authorization. So, the pharmacist calls your
office again (interruption number three) for either a prior authorization or yet another alternative. Sound familiar? In this
scenario, your patient could easily wait an extra hour or more for a simple prescription, you and your staff could easily be
interrupted three or more times, and other pharmacy customers (your patients and other doctor’s patients) wait time is
increased. With a high-quality escribe feature such as ours, all of this can be avoided. Our award-winning escribe software allows
you to send perfectly legible scripts and view patient formulary information – saving you, your staff, your patients, and other
patients time and aggravation.
5. Review your e-scribes for clear, understandable sigs before clicking send. This sounds very simplistic, but you
would be amazed at the number of incorrect sigs that require us to call offices back. Unfortunately, it is not as uncommon as one
might think to receive a sig that reads something like, “Take 1 tablet by mouth in the right ear with each meal once daily”. Of
course, no one intends to send a sig like that. And it is important for everyone involved to remember that in the beginning,
because all of us are human, some mistakes will happen. However, with training, practice, and just a few seconds of review, you
can save yourself, your patients, and others time and aggravation by avoiding calls back from the pharmacy. Also, if you have
special instructions for the patient that your sig field doesn’t support (Patient must make appointment for further refills), make
use of the notes section or similar field that the pharmacy will be able to view when they receive the script. Our pharmacy (as
many others do) will place that note (if appropriate) directly into the instructions printed on the label in addition to telling the
patient. This will ensure your message gets delivered to the patient while keeping your sig field “clean”.
To help you address these concerns and others when you switch to EHR and e-scribing, you need software that is ONC Stage 2 certified, can integrate your billing and clearinghouse needs, and is ICD-10 ready. You also need fellow medical professionals on your side that understand the demands and pressures you face on a daily basis. To learn more, check out our EHR webpage or contact us today at email@example.com or (419)302-2804 and let us show you why we are “The Prescription Your Practice Needs!”