MEDHOST

Let’s talk: 1.800.383.6278   

Opioid analgesics are FDA-approved prescription medications that can provide pain control for moderate to severe pain when appropriately prescribed; however, inappropriate prescribing can lead to opioid abuse, diversion, and deadly overdoses.1

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of drug overdose deaths was four times higher in 2018 than in 1999 despite a recent decrease and, of those 67,367 deaths in 2018, nearly 70 percent involved an opioid and 14 percent involved prescription opioids. As stated by the CDC, “the best ways to prevent opioid overdose deaths are to improve opioid prescribing, reduce exposure to opioids, prevent misuse, and treat opioid use disorder.”2

Benefits of Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances

Electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) allows physicians to transmit controlled substance prescriptions securely to their patient’s pharmacy. The use of EPCS reduces prescription fraud and diversion by removing the risk of prescription forgery and alterations. It also decreases prescribing errors that are often caused by illegible handwriting and use of unapproved abbreviations. And, because the electronic prescription data flows into state prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) databases, EPCS can help provide physicians with insight into a patient’s controlled substance prescription history, thus helping to identify “doctor shopping” behaviors and opioid overuse.3

Current Usage and Future Requirements

EPCS is now legal in all fifty states, yet it is not widely adopted. Less than 60 percent of all United States prescribers are currently EPCS-enabled, despite having 96 percent of US retail pharmacies capable of receiving electronic controlled substance prescriptions.4 However, individual state and federal regulations will soon change that.

The Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act, passed by Congress in 2018 to help combat the opioid crisis, requires EPCS for all controlled substances prescriptions covered under a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) Plan, beginning January 1, 2021.5 Recently, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they will delay enforcement until January 1, 2022.6 Despite the delay in enforcement, many states are continuing to pass their own EPCS-required mandates to help address the opioid crisis. Twelve states have already required the use of EPCS prior to December 31, 2020 and an additional 15 states will begin requiring EPCS this year.7

How Your Facility Can Make an Impact in Your Community

MEDHOST EPCS solution is DEA-compliant, Surescripts-certified, and is available in both MEDHOST Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) and MEDHOST Enterprise Electronic Health Records (EHR). To learn more about how MEDHOST can help your facility reduce opioid prescription fraud, improve patient safety, enhance physician workflow, and meet EPCS state and federal requirements, please reach out to us at inquiries@medhost.com or call 1.800.383.6278.

References:

1Preuss, C.V., Kalava, A., & King, K.C. (2020). Prescription of Controlled Substances: Benefits and Risks. StatPearls [Internet]. Retrieved from here.

2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  (2020, March 19). Opioid Overdose. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/index.html

3The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). (2019, December 18). Health IT Playbook: Opioid Epidemic & Health IT. Retrieved from https://www.healthit.gov/playbook/opioid-epidemic-and-health-it/

4Surescripts. (2020, December). Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances. Retrieved from https://surescripts.com/EPCS/

5Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2020). Medicare Program: Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances; Request for Information (RFI). Federal Register 85:150 p. 47151-47157. Codified at 42 CFR §423. Retrieved from https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-08-04/pdf/2020-16897.pdf  

6Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. (2020). Medicare Program; CY 2021 Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Scheduled and Other Changes to Part B Payment Policies; Medicare Shared Savings Program Requirements; Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Program Requirements for Eligible Professionals; Quality Payment Program; Coverage of Opioid Use Disorder Services Furnished by Opioid Treatment Programs; Medicare Enrollment of Opioid Treatment Programs; Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances for a Covered Part D Drug; Payment for Office/ Outpatient Evaluation and Management Services; Hospital IQR Program; Establish New Code Categories; Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) Expanded Model Emergency Policy; Coding and Payment for Virtual Check-in Services Interim Final Rule Policy; Coding and Payment for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Interim Final Rule Policy; Regulatory Revisions in Response to the Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID–19; and Finalization of Certain Provisions from the March 31st, May 8th and September 2nd Interim Final Rules in Response to the PHE for COVID–19. Federal Register 85:248 p. 84472-85377. Codified at 42 CFR §400, 410, 414, 415, 423, 424, and 425. Retrieved from https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-12-28/pdf/2020-26815.pdf

7Imprivata. (n.d). Federal and State Regulations. Retrieved from https://www.imprivata.com/federal-and-state-regulations. Accessed January 3, 2021.

Best Practice Successful Health IT Implementation Cover EHRElectronic Health Record (EHR) implementation can be very disruptive. Poor planning and execution can significantly impact you operationally, clinically, and financially. More than 50 percent of EHR systems either fail or fail to be properly utilized.1 The adverse effects of a poorly implemented health IT solution will usually be felt immediately as your staff adjusts to your newly implemented solution, but may last indefinitely. In this executive brief, we will discuss critical elements inherent in and associated with successful implementations; elements that can position your organization for long term success.

Replacing an existing EHR or any core health IT solution is expensive and future operating costs vary widely. Successful healthcare organizations do thorough research and are as informed as possible before settling on a particular EHR solution. The right decision will help reduce wasted time and resources, costly errors, and staff frustration.

Many of those living in this modern era of information have never experienced such a far-reaching, globally impactful event like the novel coronavirus.

For a population that is used to a wealth of data at our fingertips, yet to be faced with so many unknowns, it can be difficult to rationalize a new status quo. Especially when that data pertains to your health.

Healthcare has historically been a late adopter of the most applicable information technology solutions. In our discussions with healthcare industry leaders and experts, there is a prevailing theme of hope. In the midst of COVID-19, the imperativeness of healthcare information technologies, like those meant to improve virtual care and patient access is becoming even more apparent.

A Call for Innovation, Adoption, and Improvement

COVID-19 is disrupting businesses and industries nationwide, and somewhat disproportionately healthcare. In the face of reduced operations, limited services, and in some cases cut or furloughed staff, some experts predict that upon recovery, healthcare will be better off than before.

Could it be that there is a positive side effect to this virus, a silver-lining? Yes! COVID-19 is bringing to light the critical need for HIT for population health management. The current pandemic has shown that integrating smarter, more automated, more interoperable technologies into everyday healthcare is not only a priority, but a necessity.

COVID-19 is an accelerant to a hospital’s adoption of digital-forward operations, says Michael Archuleta, CIO of Mt. San Rafael Hospital. Archuleta’s IT department is a five-time recipient of Healthcare’s Most Wired Award. He attributes some of their hospital’s relative operational success during the pandemic to a strong technological foundation.

“Healthcare organizations need to take a more ingrained approach in incorporating IT as a core component of the organizational strategy,” says Archuleta. “If we can take the experience gained from this unique challenge, we can evolve our practices and continue to invest in technology. That technology investment will allow us to continue to build tools that benefit our patients both inside and outside our organizations.”

Paul Wilder, Executive Director of CommonWell Health Alliance, shares a similar vision noting how an integrated, nationwide healthcare IT network can vastly improve population health management. Wilder claims that healthcare interoperability may not only help hospitals from an operational standpoint but can also close gaps in the epidemiology of COVID-19 and future wide-spread illnesses.

The former CIO of the New York eHealth Collaborative noticed that many providers initially had difficulty treating COVID-19 patients because of a lack of data. Wilder claims that as the virus spread, providers had to rely on secondary data to identify patterns which can cause issues.

“If more providers are given access to at least deidentified COVID data sets, clinicians can then begin to make better clinical pathway decisions,” states Wilder.

Wilder also points out that any interoperability initiatives that gain speed on the heels of the pandemic will need to closely consider patient privacy and security.

Safeguarding Patients with Information Technology

At the center of it all, Archuleta reminds us that healthcare is first and foremost about safeguarding patients’ lives. Patient lives are also intrinsically connected to patient health data. When a facility is breached, not only can it put a patient’s health at risk but can also expose private financial information. Penalties that come as a result of a breach can significantly affect a hospital, which can eventually impact a community’s ability to receive timely, quality care.

Healthcare as a potentially easy target for cybercrime has only become more apparent during the pandemic.

In mid-March the US Health and Human Services Department was hacked. In late April, leaders of the World Health Organization were targeted by cybercriminals. In the midst of struggling with COVID-19, PPE shortages, and operational strains, Mt. San Rafael’s sister hospital suffered a ransomware attack.

Around 3 A.M., the Mt. San Rafael Hospital cybersecurity network began to track abnormalities in the systems. At that moment the network immediately locked down all connections to their sister facility.

“If we hadn’t disconnected from our sister hospital, that malware would have leaked into this organization and we would have been in the same boat,” says Archuleta. “We need to focus on those components. That’s the bottom line. Technology is important.”

Where to Start with Digital Transformation 

Technology is important, but what about those hospitals who were struggling to keep the lights on even before the pandemic hit? According to the most recent data from The Chartis Center for Rural Health, close to 47 percent of rural hospitals were operating at a loss pre-pandemic. Where do they find the resources for this digital transformation?

Alan Morgan with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) notes that recent updates to the CARES Act have helped. He adds that the relaxing of telehealth regulations have also helped relieve some burdens, especially for rural providers.

With HHS relaxing regulations concerning non-compliant telehealth technologies, it becomes easier for smaller hospitals with fewer resources to better connect with patients by enhancing their digital footprint.

“This crisis has highlighted a lack of investment and need for data systems that we can easily assess to deliver high quality care in rural America,” says Morgan. “Issues around interoperability, funding, capacity, and utilization of data tracking are coming to the forefront . . . I think it’s going to be a focal point once we are through this.”

From what MEDHOST has witnessed, Morgan’s vision is widespread across the industry. Such concurrent views are why Archuleta believes COVID-19 has been a catalyst for advancing healthcare’s digital transformation.

“Hospitals and their leadership need to start looking at IT differently,” states Archuleta. “At Mt. San Rafael we see IT as less of a cost center and more of an investment that ultimately allows us to provide more comprehensive quality care.”

For healthcare providers looking for ways to communicate the importance of digital transformation, Archuleta suggests they begin by outlining the financial, operational, and reputational damages and benefits.

“This crisis has fully displayed the value of technology and digital transformation,” adds Archuleta. “Unfortunately, a lot of hospitals are realizing that too late.”

Today’s patient is the “new hospital CEO,” says Archuleta. The sooner healthcare providers realize adopting the most relevant healthcare IT tools can help them best meet the demands of their new CEO, the better it will be for everyone.

To find out how MEDHOST is helping hospitals and healthcare facilities of all kinds get to the forefront of the digital transformation, email us at inquiries@medhost.com or call 1.800.383.6278

Going on 18 years, the nursing profession has exhibited the highest levels of honesty and ethical standards as ranked by Gallup poll.

It is clear that nurses have, and will continue, to play an integral role in promoting care quality across the industry. However, the demand for trained care professionals, especially in the areas of nursing, continues to be a critical issue.

An aging patient population – which includes a retiring nurse demographic – has contributed heavily to continued shortages for care providers. Healthcare initiatives like expanding full-practice authority and redirecting a focus on community-based care have helped address demand. Providers may also want to take a look at how healthcare technologies can play a role in attracting and empowering these essential care providers.

The Importance of a Nursing Plan of Care

Practicing nurses are constantly dealing with rising job demands and patient volumes. It is critical that nurses have access to supportive resources that allow them to spend less time on-screens and more time at bedsides.

For the gaps human resources can’t fill, nurses often need to rely on technologies that help inform their core evidence-based practices (EBP). The EBPs nurses rely on can change at any time and follow along the lines of:

While each stage is of equal importance, the planning of care is an essential task. A clear plan of care enables nurses to perform their duties with both competence and compassion. A properly built, monitored, and executed plan of care can also help nurses balance outside pressures with the promise of delivering patient-centered care.

Even when patients are fighting the same ailment, they may respond differently to care plans. Because of the fluidity of nursing diagnosis, treatments, and responses, a nursing plan of care can often require a change of course. Managing changes to a patient's care plan requires intuitive systems like an EHR that can effectively facilitate such an at-flight science.

New technologies that create new care workflows are an area where time away from the hospital may pose distinct challenges. However, comprehensive onboarding for both new and previously retired nurses on a properly implemented EHR can be an effective solution when executing a plan of care.

EHR Nurse Plan of Care Musts

The demands put on a nurse require a high level of mobility and multitasking while maintaining compassion and attentiveness.

Plans of care and the tools used to generate and manage them should function in ways that allow nurses to spend their time in more meaningful ways.

An EHR solution should include these core characteristics to help nurses balance care planning and external pressures with patient-centered care.

  1. Customization to hospital workflows
  2. Integration with other healthcare data technologies
  3. Integration with patient engagement tools
  4. In-assessment care plan notifications
  5. Intuitive alerts and visual indicators
  6. Timed worklists and built-in nurse support systems
  7. Clearly marked documentation prompts
  8. Straightforward data fields

The nurses on the MEDHOST team who work as managers, product specialists, trainers, etc. understand the creed: “You never stop being a nurse.” Nursing remains an intricate practice with many moving parts that can often pull nurses away from their core duties, especially during unexpected emergencies or disasters.

When longer shifts and higher patient volumes can take a toll on the mental and physical endurance of nurses, technology can help give them back the time and energy needed to spend towards patients. Healthcare IT should minimize time on screens and maximize time with patients in all situations.

To learn more about how MEDHOST helps hospitals and their clinicians effectively deliver patient-centered care, promote positive outcomes, and increase patient satisfaction, email inquiries@medhost.com or call 1.800.383.6278.

For over three decades MEDHOST has been working towards a core mission: to empower healthcare organizations to advance the patient care experience and improve business operations.

Constantly adhering to that mission through highly adaptable healthcare IT tools and services takes commitment. And it all starts with a dedicated team.

The MEDHOST family includes healthcare, IT, and business operations specialists from a wide range of backgrounds. All of these talented individuals play a role in developing and perfecting the solutions we build. Backing our teams of HIT developers and product specialists are knowledgeable account managers, customer support experts, and business professionals. Together, this team works to ensure each solution and service we provide helps our more than 1,000 healthcare partners nationwide best meet their staff and community’s needs.

What are those solutions and services? The cross section below offers a high-level view of how MEDHOST helps streamline care delivery across the continuum. When fully integrated into your hospital’s infrastructure, MEDHOST can help maximize returns on your most important technology investments.

Download the infographic

To learn more about the MEDHOST’s cloud-hosted EHR solution and other services or products, email us at inquiries@medhost.com or call 1.800.383.6278 to speak with one of our specialists.

Subscribe to keep up-to-date with the latest happenings in healthcare IT news! Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, subscribe to our blog, and check out our resource center.

Helping physicians gain complete vision into a patient’s medication history — especially for controlled substances — is just as much about ensuring patient safety as it is adding clinical workflow efficiencies. Creating safety nets for both physicians and patients is a critical part of the MEDHOST mission. During Patient Safety Awareness Week (March 8 – 14) and all throughout the year we salute those taking steps to make the healthcare journey more secure.

To drive patient safety awareness, we’re sharing a quick snapshot of the current PDMP (Prescription Drug Monitoring Program) landscape. Alongside the review is an overview on how healthcare technologies, like ePCS (electronic prescription of controlled substances) can work in partnership with state agencies to create safeguards for both patients and providers.

A Quick Look at America’s PDMP Network

Currently, 49 states offer their healthcare providers access to a PDMP. Legislation like the SUPPORT (Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment) for Patients and Communities Act and CMS Clinical Quality Measures for the Safe Use of Opioids are also good examples of the federal government helping push for PDMP standardization.

Evidence points to progress in the battle against controlled substance abuse through HIT integrations. However, when patients and their data begin to cross state lines, things become a bit trickier.

The Challenge of PDMP Standardization

An extensive state PDMP network has the ability to reinforce patient safety and help reduce potential for controlled substance abuse. An ongoing barrier to optimizing nationwide application of PDMPs is a lack in standardization from state to state.

While most states have a PDMP, when patients cross state lines, access and usage of that patient’s medication data can vary. An article in Healthcare IT News notes that when “out-of-state” individuals present at a hospital, prescribers may only have a fraction of that patient’s medication history.

How MEDHOST Helps Improve Patient Safety

Access to accurate prescription information is a critical part of ensuring patient safety and reducing controlled substance abuse. Physicians can more easily view and share complete patient medication histories when varying patient data systems work together.

While progress towards improved PDMP standardization is being made, healthcare IT providers also have a role to play by driving improved PDMP integrations.

Improved access to clinical decision support tools like a PDMP has benefits for both physicians and patients. The MEDHOST EHR solution includes a secure ePCS application and allows facilities to create custom links to state PDMPs.

Offering links to PDMPs helps reduce clinical workflow interruptions. When physicians can easily identify at-risk individuals, patients are less likely to be placed in dangerous situations. In addition to quick links to state PDMPs, authorized individuals can also use MEDHOST ePCS to run reports on controlled substance prescriptions.

Accuracy in clinical decision support tools ranks amongst the top patient safety concerns for today’s hospitals. Coupled with the growing rate of prescription opioid abuse, there is an even greater need for patient health data that offers clinicians more useful insights.

Patient safety is a priority for hospitals and the government, which means it is a focus for MEDHOST. MEDHOST is committed to further development of ePCS and other EHR solutions that not only support clinical workflows, but also help hospitals meet regulatory requirements and keep their patients protected.

Learn more about MEDHOST ePCS and how our enterprise healthcare IT solutions support patient safety awareness. Call us at 1.800.383.6278.

Screening tools have been made available to MEDHOST customers nationwide to help identify Novel Coronavirus disease and distribute information to their patient populations.

FRANKLIN, Tenn., February 25, 2020 – MEDHOST, Inc., a leading EHR (electronic health record) and healthcare IT solutions provider, has made available Coronavirus disease (COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV) screening for its solutions based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation. During the last week of January, the new screening tools were made available to MEDHOST customers.

New travel related screening questions are available within the MEDHOST Enterprise EHR and Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) workflows and MEDHOST customers can use these screenings in the inpatient or emergency department settings.

“Quickly providing our customers with the tools needed to facilitate the identification of at-risk patients for outbreak risks that have been identified by the CDC is a top priority for MEDHOST” said Bill Anderson, Chairman and CEO at MEDHOST. “We are monitoring the situation and will provide updates to our customers as we get revised guidance from the CDC.”

 

About MEDHOST

MEDHOST has been providing products and services to healthcare facilities of all types and sizes for over 35 years. Today, more than 1,000 healthcare facilities are partnering with MEDHOST and enhancing their patient care and operational excellence with its clinical and financial solutions, which include a fully integrated EHR solution. MEDHOST also offers a comprehensive emergency department information system with business and reporting tools. Additionally, its unparalleled support and hosting solutions make it easy to focus on what’s important for healthcare facilities: their patients and business. Connect with MEDHOST on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

 

To view this on Newswire click here.

Contact:

Brian Grant

Sr. Director, Marketing

615-761-1000, ext. 1998

Brian.Grant@medhost.com

 

Samra Khan

Enterprise Brand Manager

615-761-1000, ext. 2119

Samra.khan@medhost.com

When is the right tool for the job not the right tool for the job?

The saying goes, “a person is only as good as the tools they use.” A tool that’s right for the job doesn’t necessarily make it the tool you should be using. A house can be built with hammer and nails, but no builder in their right mind would arrive at a job with only those two items in their toolkit. The time it took to accomplish a project alone would easily overshadow the upfront “technology” savings.

Having access to the right health information technologies (HIT) for the right jobs is a clear clinical workflow necessity. By analyzing the usability of tools like an electronic health record (EHR) system, providers can begin to make informed solution decisions that positively impact their physicians.

How Usable is Your EHR?

Of course, care coordination and home construction are vastly different. Even so, in this example we see how the right tool will get the job done, but with limited usability even the right tool can turn a process on its head.

When the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act  listed the transition to EHRs as part of meaningful use compliance it was expected to cause disruption. Over a decade later, some EHRs are still causing disruptions, specifically for clinicians who find they often disregard their workflows.

A study from the Mayo Clinic Proceedings revealed a strong correlation between EHR usability and physician burnout. In fact, when a subset of survey respondents was asked to grade their current EHRs usability, the final tally of scores resulted in an F for failure.

Beyond a physician’s mental and physical health, there are other dangerous side effects of physician burnout. Preventive screenings can be overlooked. Documentation can go missing. Medical histories can become compromised.

“Physician burnout is a real healthcare crisis,” says Doug Allen, MEDHOST Senior Vice President, Implementations. “When EHRs are one of the leading causes of physician burnout, vendors like MEDHOST can help hospital leadership connect physicians to tools that can help turn the tables.”

A physician-centric EHR that also helps reduce patient safety risks should have the following characteristics.

How to Ensure EHR Usability

  1. Alignment with Clinical Workflows

The operation of an EHR and its interface should not hinder a user’s ability to efficiently perform his or her job.

All of the above features are indicative of an EHR that is tuned to a clinician’s workflow.

A properly aligned EHR will also reduce the amount of time clinicians spend focused on their monitor versus spending time with their patients. The majority of care should occur provider-to-patient, not provider-to-computer. If clinicians find they are spending more time at a keyboard than at the bedside, it is likely EHR usability is not optimized to their workflow.

  1. Streamlines Data Between Care Settings

An EHR should allow for the seamless flow of documentation between all stages of the clinical workflow. From the admissions desk to labs to nursing stations to healthcare information exchanges, the need to switch between platforms should be marginal. An EHR with some form of single sign-on (the ability to connect to multiple independent systems via one gateway) is ideal.

  1. Regular System Maintenance

In most cases with a remote hosted EHR solution, timely maintenance at regular intervals will be handled by a dedicated team of healthcare IT specialists. For example, a reliable offsite host will schedule routine maintenance cycles and system performance improvements. By keeping a hospital informed on EHR maintenance, planned downtimes can be coordinated to minimize care disruptions.

Hospitals with an on-premise EHR will be responsible for performing their own system maintenance, which will usually fall to an internal IT team. However, hospitals with on-premise EHRs should still receive regular notifications on required system maintenance from their EHR provider. Regardless of who is running system patches and firmware upgrades, an EHR provider should always prioritize maintenance awareness. Staying on top of EHR technical requirements can help improve hospital security and limit exposure to threats.

  1. EHR Implementation Informed by Healthcare Expertise

A scalable solution will save a hospital time and money as well as demands on human resources. Scalability can often be measured in two portions – one-part user interface and one-part user experience. There is also a third part to help ensure optimal EHR usability at scale. The people tasked with implementing an EHR must have an intimate understanding of the end-user’s needs.

An implementation team made up of people with role-based, hands-on experience with healthcare IT systems can often solve the puzzle of scalability with greater accuracy. There should be zero expectation that all clinicians will use the EHR in the same way. Templated EHR features have their place; however, the most useful EHR implementations are tuned with specific users in mind.

Healthcare expertise and real-world experience in EHR implementation can help hospitals avoid systems laden with inefficiencies and broken integrations.

A Blueprint for EHR Usability

Modern healthcare has become increasingly complex. A quickly implemented EHR that simply covers required documentation and care coordination bases should reduce upfront expenses, but at what cost. Once the implementation team leaves the building, it may become clear all too soon that there is a clear difference between the right tool and the best tool.

The return on an investment in EHR usability can have a lasting impact on both a hospital’s bottom line and its people. An investment in EHR usability is an investment in your physicians. Conversely, by empowering physicians with healthcare IT tools tuned to their needs, a hospital is also investing in improved patient care.

Show your physicians you appreciate them and help keep their flame for patient care burning bright. Call us at 1.800.383.6278 to learn how we can help.

Further Reading:

How Rural Providers Can Use EHRs to Improve the Patient Experience

How to Leverage Your Hospital EHR to Beat Physician Burnout

How 5 Physician Documentation Methods Compare to Facilitate Safer Care

While the move to EHRs (electronic health records) has revolutionized the way physicians deliver care, an EHR is only optimal if it is implemented in a way that makes it an effective, time saving tool.

A quickly deployed solution that leads to annoying workflow interruptions often causes more harm than good.

Why EHR Implementation Matters

Physician burnout is a fairly modern concept that has only grown worse by EHR usability challenges, states a study from the American Medical Association (AMA.) Physicians who participated in the AMA survey remarked that battling unruly EHR systems was a source of frustration that contributes to burnout.

Another point from the 2019 HIMSS Leadership and Workforce Survey showed that healthcare executives believe there is a direct correlation between improving EHR usability and improved clinical outcomes. In other words, a useful EHR makes it easier for physicians to do their jobs, reducing stress, and leading to better outcomes for both healthcare professionals and their patients.

Considering that in many cases physicians are dealing with life or death scenarios, one can understand how poor EHR usability can play a major role in creating “long-term stress . . . emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a lack of sense of personal accomplishment.”

The EHR is a requirement of today’s healthcare providers, but to some providers it can be viewed as a source of physician burnout. When hospitals decide to deploy an IT tool physicians are required to use, it should be implemented in a way that supports clinical workflows rather than impedes them.

Four Treatments to Relieve Physician Burnout with EHR Implementation

Implementation involves more than just the installation of new software and hardware. New EHR implementation should also address the human element of the equation through discovery meetings, on-boarding, and training. A focus on the end-user will help address both a hospital’s technology and workflow needs.

1. Form a Strong Implementation Team

The best EHR implementations are informed and executed by HIT experts or resources that offer a high degree of role-based healthcare experience. These individuals have either performed the healthcare role or have deep experience utilizing and supporting an EHR solution. Each member of the team who executes the implementation should be able to advise hospital users at every level. MEDHOST’s EHR implementation team traditionally includes seasoned nurses, pharmacy techs, HIM directors, and revenue cycle specialists.

2. Conduct Extensive EHR Usability Testing

Multiple rounds of integrated testing with an EHR system may include scripts applicable to the prevalent patients and service lines that make up a hospital. As a supplement to testing, an EHR solution provider should share post-action reports for each round of analysis. Reports can be used to easily identify and resolve potential workflow issues before the EHR goes live.

3. Identify and Train “Superusers”

At least two individuals per department per shift who will access the EHR solution should be identified and trained as superusers. Superusers become masters of the technology and can help hospital staff better adapt to prescribed EHR workflows.

Training a superuser also entails examining how those individuals advise on EHR implementation to ensure they can make necessary changes once the process is complete. Long after implementation is complete, superusers can also act as liaisons or internal advocates for a facility to the EHR provider and assist with the on-boarding of new employees.

4. Support the Documentation Process

Implementation of a usable EHR should not only meet regulatory compliance, but it should create repeatable workflows that make the documentation process easier. Below are specific EHR functions or capabilities that can be implemented to help streamline documentation for providers:

Physician burnout is treatable with an investment in your team’s well-being. Hospitals can start investing in better physician experiences by investing in healthcare IT technologies designed and implemented to make their job easier. Reduce stress and empower your physicians to drive better patient outcomes.

Treat your clinicians to an EHR experience tailored to their needs. See how our expert implementation team can help. Call us at 1.800.383.6278.

Further Reading:

A Secret Recipe for EHR Implementation Success Seasoned by Best Practices

Creating a Safer Health Care Environment with the “3 Ts” of EHR Implementation

Optimize Your EHR to Be a Problem-Solver

The new healthcare price transparency rule is shaping up to be one of the biggest upcoming challenges hospitals will face as it will be a requirement by January 2021.

However, hospitals working to sustain operations, and most importantly, continue to provide their communities with quality care at the best value, need to start preparing now.

Why is Price Transparency Required in Healthcare?

The price transparency rule should come as no surprise to healthcare providers and their leadership. Consumer driven concepts like “nothing about me without me” and value-based care have been permeating the industry for the past decade. Price transparency is just another knot in a string of government regulations (MU 3, Promoting Interoperability, 21st Century Cures, etc.) designed to motivate providers to become more patient-centric.

Other non-regulatory elements, like the rise in high-deductible healthcare plans and a new generation of selective, internet savvy healthcare consumers, have also helped push the need for more transparency in healthcare costs.

Who Does the Rule Apply To?

The price transparency rules apply to hospitals defined by CMS as:

“…an institution in any State in which State or applicable local law provides for the licensing of hospitals, that is licensed as a hospital pursuant to such law, or is approved by the agency of such State or locality responsible for licensing hospitals…”

In non-legalese, the rule applies to any healthcare organization licensed as a hospital, including Medicare-enrolled as well as non-Medicare enrolled institutions.

The exceptions to the rule include federally owned and operated hospitals as well as ambulatory facilities. Hospitals will also not be required to list charges for emergency procedures, but those prices will be included in the gross charge requirements.

Four Healthcare Price Transparency Updates

1. Prices must be updated on an annual or real-time basis.

CMS has stated that prices must be updated on an annual basis, or as appropriate. As appropriate can be interpreted to mean when updating prices for a significant portion of shoppable events, these updates should post in real-time, which may be in addition to an annual posting. Pricing updates must also include the dates these changes took place.

Hospitals who are not price transparency compliant, according to the standards set by CMS, will face a fine of up to $300/day. In addition, noncompliance can contribute to a poor patient experience for those expecting to know the costs of procedures upfront.

Noncompliance with the regular updates could also harm the reputation of the hospital. People might conclude that these providers are hiding something, or they don’t respect the rights of patient-consumers.

2. Four standard charges must be provided in a machine-readable format.

As defined by a hospital’s chargemaster, the four standard charges include:

To create a machine-readable file of standard charges, hospitals will likely need to perform lengthy cleanups of their chargemasters.

“A hospital’s chargemaster often includes services or items that may no longer be relevant. That is one area a hospital will need to cleanup. The other has to do with listing out ancillary charges that are often bundled into a single more extensive procedure like a knee replacement,” says MEDHOST Director of Product Compliance, Shawn Wiese.

Cleaning out old charges and adding an additional layer of detail to chargemasters can create a lot of work for a hospital.

3. Hospitals must create a consumer-friendly list of shoppable services.

Hospitals will be required to post a consumer-friendly list of standard charges for at least 300 shoppable services. CMS defines shoppable services as “a service that can be scheduled by a healthcare consumer in advance.” These services must be posted in a public place—like a hospital’s website—and be easily searchable.

Of the 300 shoppable services, CMS has also specified 70 required services.

“Shoppable services is another area that hospitals may need to bring on additional resources,” says Wiese. “They will need to educate members of their community on how to properly utilize these lists—something like a case manager or services coach.”

4. Share maximum/minimum negotiated insurance reimbursement rates.

As an additional way to help consumers compare costs, the rule states that hospitals must share both the high and low reimbursement rates for specified services without identifying payors. By giving patients a better understanding of their financial responsibility, this portion of the rule may help healthcare consumers make smarter care decisions.

The negotiated rates portion of the rule may give hospitals an opportunity to take a closer look at how often those rates are being honored. In this instance, outsourcing contract management services may not only help them with price transparency compliance, but also help hospitals recover full payments.

Price Transparency Next Steps

It is expected to take a lot of time and resources for most providers to achieve price transparency compliance by the beginning of January 2021. Another key challenge for these hospitals will be making sure they are meeting these requirements in the most appropriate way without creating too much additional overhead.

With the government announcing the finalizing of this newest healthcare regulation, MEDHOST is already working on ways we can make the road to compliance easier. Check back often to find out how we can help guide your hospital to success in this new era of transparency. Please email us at inquiries@medhost.com with any questions.

Further Reading:

The Challenges of Patient Billing for Community Hospitals

Addressing the Rise of Healthcare Consumerism

YourCare Continuum: Helping a Community Hospital Meet the Changing Face of Patient Care