The HITECH Act / Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act, which is part of the ARRA Stimulus Bill, has funded an EHR incentive program, which rewards physicians and hospitals for electronic health record adoption. Medicare providers must adopt electronic health record technology by 2012 in order to be eligible to receive the maximum incentive payment of $44,000.
There are HITECH Act penalties for HIPAA violations. But Medicare physicians also have to worry about the Centers for Medicare Medicaid Services / CMS meaningful use penalties. Medicare reimbursements will be reduced starting in 2015 for health care providers who have not implemented electronic health record systems AND demonstrated meaningful use.
Medicaid health care providers are more fortunate. First of all the incentive program maximum for Medicare, is $63,750, which is significantly higher than the Medicare maximum. And secondly, health care providers can wait until 2016 to begin electronic health record adoption and still qualify for the maximum incentive payment.
But 30% of your patients must be Medicaid payers in order to qualify for the EHR incentive program. For pediatricians, the percentage is only 20% Medicaid, but then you only qualify for two-thirds of the maximum incentive payments, which is $42,500.
Choosing an electronic health record system:
In the ambulatory medical practice space, there are at least 400 EMR / EHR software options offered by about 150 EHR software vendors. So how can you tell which one is best for you?
There is no easy answer. In a prior post, EHR Software: What’s The Best Meaningful Use EHR Software? there was a link to a report of recommendations from various entities. Different groups have different survey results of the best EHR software.
Now there is yet another study. The IDC MarketScape: U.S. Ambulatory EMR / EHR for Midsize and Large Practices 2011 Vendor Assessment report by IDC Health Insights. The IDC study was limited in scope.
a) IDC Studied offerings to practices of 20 providers or more
b) Considered only 10 electronic health record products
c) Products evaluated were provided by eight EHR vendors.
So what did the IDC EHR Software study conclude?
Again, based on the limitations listed above, the conclusion was:
With respect to both current capabilities and strategy capabilities, eClinicalWorks, Cerner, Sage, and NextGen stand out among the “Major Players.” Each offers competitive products that align with customer perceptions of value and strong functionality, and they have executed sound business strategies that are very likely to align with customer needs as the market evolves.
from IDC Electronic Health Record Study
What’s the right EHR Software for your practice?
What’s good for a large practice is not necessarily good for a small medical practice. If you have fewer than 20 physicians or health care providers, then you cannot rely on the results in the IDC study. Even if your practice has more than 20 providers, the fact that only 10 EHR software products were evaluated may mean that the best one for you was not included.
Bottom line, you need help making the selection. Medical and clinical matters are your expertise. Technology and electronic health records is ours. Call 404-374-3384 to find out about the cure for your electronic health record technology woes.
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