Transition to EHRs dragging you down? New Web site can be a lifeline
If you feel as if you are drowning in regulations and hard-to-understand data related to the transition to electronic health records, the federal government has thrown you a lifeline.
A newly redesigned Web site is available now from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), www.HealthIT.gov. The new Web site provides a central, easily navigated resource where practices can find the information they need to understand and implement health information technology (HIT).
Physicians can learn how other doctors are using HIT through case studies of solo and multispecialty practices that have achieved meaningful use and improved care by having better quality information and automatic reminders of recommended screenings and updates. The site also includes data from studies that have examined the benefits of implementing HIT and e-prescribing, from improved efficiency to better outcomes and positive returns on investment.
For specific assistance in managing the transition to EHRs, HealthIT.gov offers a road map for practice transformation that includes check lists, tasks, process flow charts, and assessments. Physicians can find contact information for the regional extension centers that can help them access local and federal resources and provide hands-on assistance throughout the implementation process. The site also provides a central point for physicians to learn more about the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and find the certified HIT products needed to qualify for the incentives.
In case your patients express some concerns, the site provides information for patients and their families on the benefits of HIT information security and using HIT to improve healthcare.
“This technology is critical to improving patient care, enabling coordination between providers and patients, reducing the risk of dangerous drug interactions, and helping patients access prevention and disease management services,” said President Barack Obama in announcing National Health Information Technology Week recently.
The new ONC Web site goes a long way toward making implementation of that technology simpler for physicians and demystifying it for patients.
MORE ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE
Teaching hospitals need the costs of significant cutbacks in residents? duty hours to be offset by savings in preventing adverse events. A new study, however, suggests that internal medicine residents continue to report significant burnout. You may be surprised to find out how much financial strain, not just work stress, contributes to that problem.
Does every silver lining have a dark cloud? President Obama is calling on Congress’ deficit-reduction “supercommittee” to fix Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR), which puts primary care at a significant financial disadvantage. Yet, he also is seeking $248 million in Medicare payment cuts. What does the president intend in his proposal for “reducing overpayments?”
How do you “like” this? If you are typical of most physicians, you are using Facebook and possibly other social media sites for personal and professional purposes. Although physicians find that social media has some advantages for patient care, they also expressed some continuing concerns that you may share.
Information-sharing through electronic health records can create opportunities to improve treatment of individual patients as well as delivery of healthcare in the nation. Those advantages come with some risks to patient privacy, however. A federal agency is coming up with new standards to increase safeguards; find out how they are likely to change the way your practice records and shares information.
Despite strong push-back from some medical groups, the plan recently proposed by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission to address physician payment is not all bad news for primary care physicians (PCPs). Although the group is calling for a 10-year freeze on Medicare payment increases, it also supports repeal of the sustainable growth rate formula, which disadvantages primary care. Find out how MedPAC also proposes to realign payment to reward PCPs.