Implementation of EMR between doctor’s offices and hospitals is the wave of the future. Now with government support and agreement of the need: Physicians and Practice Managers
ACO works toward efficient population health management.
United Medical, LLC is changing the behavior for efficient population health management. As the largest private ambulatory health care network in Delaware, United Medical is comprised of over 27 specialties and more than 135 practices throughout the state.
As a Cerner Ambulatory partner, the group operates with a unique objective in mind: to unite providers and patients under one Accountable Care Organization (ACO). The goal is to work with individual practices to increase the quality of patient care, streamline processes in the office and leave more time for each patient. With a local network currently uniting more than 180 providers and 325,000 patients, United Medical is well on its way to changing the health care landscape in Delaware.
“We aim to change the behavior of patients, insurance companies, government policy, physicians, hospitals and health systems. We are focused on a vision of a patient-centered community with Cerner,” says Kemal Erkan, CEO of United Medical.
In line with the government’s recent push to encourage physicians to adopt electronic health records (EHRs), Erkan’s team at United Medical works with practices throughout the state to assist in the adoption and implementation of Cerner’s Ambulatory EHR. Working exclusively with Cerner solutions helps the United Medical team take advantage of efficiencies across the system and become confident users of those solutions. United Medical assists physicians and patients in their journey to become paperless with Cerner’s highly customizable EHR. Physicians truly appreciate being able to access immunizations, inbound labs, health maintenance, reporting, diagnoses lists, medical history, documentation and e-Prescribing at any time, day or night.
“Implementation of EHRs between doctors’ offices and hospitals is the wave of the future. Now with government support and a general agreement of the need for electronic records, physicians and practice managers alike are focusing on a central goal of going digital in order to better the delivery of care. Cerner’s Ambulatory EHR offers tiers of solution functionality, allowing providers to place a toe in the water when moving from paper to electronic workflows. This allows a health system to provide a true community strategy to integrate all providers and staff members with increased functionality available to meet their needs and growth progression.”
Access any time, anywhere
Using Cerner Ambulatory, affiliates of United Medical can access patient and personal information from any location where Internet access is available. In addition, Cerner’s software enhances documentation, improves health maintenance tasks, provides follow up reminders, and incorporates other important functions resulting in lower hospital admissions and readmissions. All of these pieces from Cerner’s system help to significantly drive down health care costs and enable better care for patients and more focus for physicians.
“Cerner’s EHR provides physicians with increased efficiency and access to the information they need when they need it. Our health partners are pleased with the easy implementation and minimized upfront costs, as well as ongoing maintenance-free upgrades,” Erkan says.
He anticipates the average increase of revenue per practice to be five to ten percent (as an average of the prior calendar year). Once the revenues have been maximized for the practice, United Medical continues to work with practices to decrease their expenditures to enhance the workflow and operating processes.
“The partnership with Cerner has been fruitful for my team as well as my physician clients, providing us with the ability to incorporate pharmacies, radiology, primary care, specialty care and lab info systems with patient portals and hospitals/ HIEs to secure our vision of an Accountable Care Organization that works to bring all aspects of the care team together for the benefit of the patient.”
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The Pros Outweigh the Cons
To go digital, records will be available 24/7. Practices can reduce redundant labor, decrease storage space and essentially eliminate the majority of chart pulls and storage. One of the few bi-partisan agreements in 2009 was the Obama administration’s designated $19.5 billion to expand the use of electronic records. Under the stimulus program hospitals and physicians can receive significant financial assistance for IT purchases and will be penalized if they do not go digital by 2015. In August, the US Health and Human Services Department made it easier for hospitals and doctors to collaborate technology initiatives. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Office of the Inspector General relaxed Stark and anti-kickback rules. Hospitals are now allowed to donate EMR software and equipment to physician officers as long as the physicians pay 15% of the total cost. Many studies have concluded that after the initial expense for equipment and a 6 to 9 month time frame for scanning records and staff training, EMR saves time, space, and reduces errors.
Of course, as with any new technology, there remain some serious issues that need resolution. The major concerns appear to be standardization of connectivity and network management, system backups, staff training, and patient privacy. The state of Delaware has made great strides by installing the Delaware Health Information Network (DIHN), which will enables hospitals, labs and medical practices to transfer patient records, regardless of the computerized system. DHIN is the first fully operational statewide information exchange system. Of course undertaking a project of this magnitude requires oversight and training by a professional management company. One company, Cerner offers reasonably priced leased hardware options, as well as, teams of trainers and consultants to coach and edit physicians and staffs. This will insure that practices will maximize the usefulness of EMR, maintain standards, privacy, and patient satisfaction and be eligible for the stimulus monies while avoiding penalties.