Data Exchange: 3 Key Questions You Should Ask

The future of healthcare requires that you share clinical information across boundaries. Here are three key questions you should ask yourself—or any EHR vendor you deal with—about the data platform:

  1. Data ExchangeCan the system pull critical data from disparate sources? An EHR system should seamlessly integrate with other information sources and present the information in a readable, usable, and customizable format.
  2. Can the system share data with Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), hospitals, and labs? An EHR should have secure connections that allow information to be exchanged in real time.
  3. Is the system flexible enough to accommodate the rapidly changing government requirements? An EHR vendor should have the necessary resources to react quickly to regulatory changes, to improve EHR functionality, and to deliver it as needed.

Implementing an EHR system that can pull and present data in a usable format, securely share information with health data exchanges (HIEs), and offer the flexibility to adapt to dynamic government standards is critical to EHR functionality. These three points combined will yield better patient care, more cost-effective treatment, and allow for providers to meet the meaningful use requirements, now and in the future.

Two Critical Steps to Avoid ePrescribing Penalties

Start ePrescribing in 2011—in addition to increasing Medicare reimbursement by 1% in 2011, ePrescribing in 2011 prevents physicians from incurring the ePrescribing penalties for 2012 and 2013.

Although many providers are already ePrescribing, not everyone is aware of the timing involved to avoid the penalties:

  1. Providers must successfully ePrescribe on a total of 25 Medicare encounters between January and December 2011, or they will be subject to a 1.5% reduction in 2013 Medicare rates.
  2. Of the 25 Medicare encounters, providers must successfully ePrescribe on 10 Medicare encounters between January and June 2011, or they will be subject to a 1% reduction in 2012 Medicare rates.

Please note that physicians cannot receive incentives under both ePrescribing (MIPPA) and EHR Incentives (ARRA) during the same year.

A strategy to consider—which will maximize revenue from the two programs combined—is to pursue the ePrescribing incentives in 2011 and meaningful use beginning in 2012.

For more government related information, visit SRS Government Affairs.