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    10 questions to ask your EHR vendor to prepare for MIPS

    When playing chess, the goal is to achieve checkmate. To do that requires a savvy strategy, the same kind needed to find success under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).

    And it also requires the right tools, including a practice’s electronic health record (EHR) system.

    Tina Colangelo, a MACRA readiness expert in New York City, recommends asking vendors the following 10 questions so physicians are fully prepared for the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

    1. Are you doing what you're supposed to do for my practice?

    Embrace the EHR as you embrace MACRA, and use it as a learning tool instead of dreading every time using it. Hold the vendor accountable, because the practice probably invested thousands of dollars. The vendor also probably charges to upgrade, so ask about anything regarded to MACRA that requires an additional fee.

    2. Did you conduct a security risk analysis in 2017?

    Every vendor should do that, says Colangelo. Practices are charged with protecting patients' information under HIPAA. The information is in the hands of the EHR system, and ultimately, the vendor. If a security risk analysis isn't done, practices will lose either 25% of its overall MIPS points or all points in the advancing care information (ACI) category.

    3. What MIPS measures can you report to CMS?

    Make sure the measures the practice wants to report can be handled by the EHR vendor. That could be a problem if, a gastroenterologist for example, purchased a system that only submits primary care measures.

    4. What functionality is available to track the measures?

    Physicians want reassurance their EHR monitors those measures and that all the data around them is complete. Ask the vendor what specific tools the EHR has to track measures and monitor performance. For example, does it print a weekly report or a bi-weekly report? 

    5. How does the EHR help my practice target measures and key performance indicators?

    First, ask whether the system offers the use of templates or dashboards. Then ask, "How does it help my practice submit MIPS measures?"


    Next: Questions 6-10

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    • [email protected]
      Great article, but #2 is very misleading. An EHR company will not perform a security risk assessment. They may provide answers to some important questions that are a part of an SRA, but that alone will not survive a MIPS, MU, or OIG audit. SRA needs to be done by the practice, and includes safeguards beyond the EHR (administrative and physical safeguards, as well as encrypting data at rest). I refer my customers to the ONC SRA tool if they want to do it themselves, or to IT companies that specialize in medical practices.

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