8 Steps to Smoothly Achieve Meaningful Use

As the rubber meets the road on meaningful use, providers and healthcare organizations are realizing the complexity and administrative work involved in enrolling and attesting. It can indeed be a cumbersome process, one of many “beasts” providers are facing. Here, athenahealth shares eight points for providers to consider when choosing a vendor, integrating the EHR into their organization and achieving meaningful use.

1. Vendors should add value through service and support, such as performance monitoring, automating status updates, enabling dashboard views of how individual providers are performing against measures and performing registration and attestation steps via proxy access.

2. Providers should consider solutions that have low upfront entry fees and charge as a percentage of collections, ensuring the vendor has “skin in the game” in securing meaningful use payments from clients.

3. Consider cloud-based solutions. Software installations weren’t designed to handle the kind of rapid response that today’s changing healthcare landscape requires. Implementation lag times are out of sync with program requirements, leaving many providers at risk of missing incentives. Cloud-based solutions don’t suffer from the same problems. With all users sharing a single instance of meaningful use-certified software, implementations are rapid and users are immediately on a certified EHR.

4. Providers should maintain better visibility into the impact of meaningful use on their individual productivity rather than working off of anecdotal impressions.

5. The most energy will be generated the first time a provider goes live with its EHR. Use that energy to build momentum, using friendly competition to see who can conduct the smoothest go-live.

6. Organizations need to select one or more staff members to receive training in meaningful use, then manage and guide the process. Vendors should complement these efforts with support and expertise, fulfilling the traditional responsibilities of clinical analysts.

7. An EHR that will see widespread physician adoption will allow for multiple documentation modalities so physicians can choose how they chart. It will also distribute the work and documentation in the EHR across all five stages of the patient visit (check-in, intake, exam, signoff and checkout), freeing the physician in the exam and not slowing them down.

8. The process of meeting meaningful use should not be something satisfied in addition to regular care workflow, but within it. EHRs should be built into workflow, surfacing when needed and at the appropriate point in care. Also, vendors should be certified in all Clinical Quality Measures — many are only certified in nine.

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