Pediatric Practices Overcome EHR Challenges to Achieve ‘Meaningful Use’Date: September 5th, 2012Category: CORHIO e-NewsletterTopics: EHRs, Meaningful Use, Regional Extension Center
Pediatricians Are Successfully Adopting Electronic Health Record (EHR) Systems and Obtaining EHR Incentive Payments With Help From CO-REC
Pediatricians can face challenges when adopting electronic health records (EHRs) for their practice because many of these systems have been built with only adult patients in mind. While some EHR systems may not meet the full needs of pediatricians today, other systems are helping busy pediatric practices streamline practice workflow and improve patient care.
Pediatric practices that meet the minimum threshold of Medicaid patients, 20 percent of overall patient volume, are eligible for Medicaid EHR incentives and are seeking guidance from trusted advisors at the Colorado Regional Extension Center (CO-REC). CO-REC, a CORHIO initiative charged with helping primary care providers achieve Meaningful Use, customizes its support of providers to meet each practice's specific needs. This includes helping providers find the right EHR system and helping them to achieve Meaningful Use. Over the last year, CO-REC has helped many Colorado physicians qualify for federal incentive payments for meaningfully using EHR technology. So far, 646 eligible professionals have used some form of CO-REC assistance to successfully attest for Stage 1 of Meaningful Use in the state of Colorado.
Greenwood Practice Needed Assistance Selecting a Replacement EHR
Several years ago, Greenwood Pediatrics – a practice with three locations in the South Denver Metro area – tried to implement an EHR on its own. However, the system did not meet their needs and they decided to start over from scratch. In December 2011, Greenwood Pediatrics turned to CO-REC for help.
“CO-REC came to our practice and did a hardware analysis and an EHR evaluation,” said Clare Huber-Navin, nurse practitioner and clinic practice manager at Greenwood Pediatrics. “They were able to help us narrow down our selection to a handful of EHR vendors. Instead looking at 500 different vendors, we were able to focus on the few that CO-REC recommended to us and that would best suit our needs.”
Greenwood Pediatrics plans to have an EHR system fully implemented by December 1. “We’re looking forward to using an EHR – it really is a game changer for us. From office workflow to billing, we will be totally electronic. From a clinical standpoint, it will greatly improve coordination of patient care.”
“Physician Health Partners did a fantastic job helping this practice select an EHR,” said Kelly Higgins, director of the CO-REC initiative. Physician Health Partners (PHP) is one of six organizations that partner with CORHIO to deliver CO-REC services. Click here for a list of all CO-REC partners.
Durango Practice Calls on CO-REC for Help With Attestation
Pediatric Partners of the Southwest has been using an EHR since it first opened its doors 2005. The Durango practice has approximately 24,000 patient visits each year and has eight physicians on staff. “At this point, I can’t imagine life without an EHR – the benefits are endless,” said Dr. Cecile Fraley of Pediatric Partners of the Southwest. “Since our pediatricians also see patients at Mercy Regional Medical Center and at our satellite office, the EHR allows us to access the patient chart at any location greatly improving patient care. We can also use our system for e-prescribing and our EHR interfaces with the state immunization registry.”
When Dr. Fraley learned of the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, she knew she needed guidance to get through the attestation process. “CO-REC was tremendously valuable in helping streamline the entire attestation process in terms of what needed to be done and in what order, which saved me a significant amount of time. As a pediatrician and the practice administrator, it’s helpful to be organized as possible so that I can maximize the amount of time I spend with my patients,” said Dr. Fraley.
The CO-REC partner that is assisting this practice is Colorado Rural Health Center (CRHC).
Peak Pediatrics Receives Stimulus Funds
Another practice needing help with attestation was Peak Pediatrics. “I knew we would qualify for stimulus funds, so we turned to CO-REC to navigate the attestation process,” Barbara Hosick, practice manager at Peak Pediatrics. The practice has locations in Wheat Ridge and Winter Park and has 5,000 active patients, of which 45 percent use Medicaid. “Even for simple questions, it was nice having someone there to guide me.”
Thanks to the support of CO-REC partner HealthTeamWorks, Peak Pediatrics received their first Medicaid EHR incentive payment in mid-August. EHR incentives are funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and are sometimes referred to as stimulus funds. “The stimulus funds are great. They will help us to improve our facilities and buy new equipment. We pride ourselves in maintaining a nice office for our patients.”
Even though CO-REC has achieved its recruitment milestone with 2,529 primary care providers, it is still accepting new providers into the program. For more information about CO-REC, please contact CO-REC Program Director Kelly Higgins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meaningful Use Links
If you have questions about whether your practice can qualify for Medicaid Meaningful Use incentive payments, review this document (PDF) provided by CMS.
For a broad overview of Meaningful Use, including information about Medicare EHR incentive payments, click here.