Get Those Ducks in a Row: Preparing for Meaningful Use Stage 2
August 8, 2012
The updated requirements of Meaningful Use Stage 2 incorporate criteria for viewing images, leading to better patient care and streamlined integration among departments and facilities. Is your organization ready for this transition?
Are you set up for the EMR transition? Organizations that aren’t preparing for the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services’ Stage 2 deadlines could face serious operational difficulties down the road.
Improved patient care and regulatory compliance are driving healthcare providers to adopt electronic medical records (EMR), as a 2011 Iron Mountain survey showed. But now, Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements are likely to increase the number of electronic records organizations must manage by requiring them to preserve and provide access to images of scans and other medical test results.
The expanded requirements aim to boost the quality of patient care, because providers all along the chain of a patient’s treatment or medical lifetime can easily access the images and associated information to obtain a complete medical picture.
Complying with Ease
But with this progress comes major challenges for healthcare organizations that haven’t prepared for this integration in time for the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services’ deadline.
Although achieving compliance might be costly, your business could take an even bigger hit if you don’t comply. Downsides include incomplete patient files and communication difficulties among your organization, insurers and your patients.
Healthcare organizations are dealing with a trifecta of compliance demands as they strive to provide excellent patient care:
Meaningful Use requirements. The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services’ Rules for Meaningful Use include financial incentives—$19 billion allotted over five years, according to the American Medical Association—to healthcare organizations that convert their systems to EMR by 2015. Partner with a trusted vendor to achieve this goal.
ICD-10. A new set of medical codes will let healthcare providers gather and report more detailed information on patients and their care while also facilitating quicker bill payments. Providers must make changes to existing technology and train doctors, nurses, staff and medical coders in the new classification system.
HIPAA 5010. A new version of the 1996 act went into effect on January 1, 2012. It applies the same privacy protections of the original regulation to electronic transactions. These new regulations will encourage the standardization of information across all records formats, including an ICD-10 code for reporting healthcare diagnoses and procedures.
So how do you position your organization to reap the obvious benefits (such as optimizing access and reducing risk) of integrating imaging with your EMR? Incorporate these best practices:
- Gain control and optimize efficiency by centralizing your data in a single format in a single repository. You’ll free your information from restrictions imposed by varied formats and locations, and you’ll be better able to manage and share it. Your organization will benefit greatly from a reduction in the complexity and cost of managing data. You’ll reduce or eliminate migrations, along with your dependence on PACS vendors. Also, by indexing all of your data, you can store it more efficiently and ensure easy access.
- Manage your storage. To ensure your organization has access to all data relevant to good patient care, insurance claims or regulatory compliance, you may tend to keep every scrap of information. But pruning your archives can help ensure that extraneous records don’t obscure access to important information. By incorporating retention rules and applying best practices for information lifetime management (ILM), you not only improve access but also protect your data from unnecessary risk, eliminate the cost of managing obsolete data, optimize your storage capacity, and ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations.
- Share data internally and externally. One of the main benefits of moving to EMR is seamless flow of information among all facets of a patient’s medical history, from different medical departments to billing and insurance. To get a complete longitudinal record of a patient, you must adopt a strategy that allows information to be readily shared within your organization or hospital and beyond, to other groups that need access.
The transition to EMR will consume time and resources. In fact, many healthcare providers have begun to feel that their organizations are turning into full-time IT operations. A trusted partner with expertise in information management can offer the resources you need to meet compliance deadlines. As your new partner helps you achieve these incentives, you and your team can focus on your most important duty: providing the best possible patient care. Now that’s a proposition that’s hard to refuse.
Iron Mountain Recommends
With Iron Mountain® scanning services, you can:
Outsource imaging. Off-load time- and resource-consuming imaging tasks to an organization with years of experience and thousands of customers.
Centralize coding. Digitizing patient records upon discharge lets you either leverage offsite coders or centralize coding functions.
Improve revenue cycle. Consolidated electronic medical records minimize the time necessary to collect patient information after discharge and enable bills to be dropped faster. This improves accounts receivable days and discharged-not-final-billed (DNFB) accounts.
Do you have more questions about your organization’s EMR transition options? Read additional Knowledge Center stories on this subject, or contact Iron Mountain’s consulting services team. You’ll be connected with a knowledgeable product and services specialist who can address your information management challenges.
Moving from Paper to Pixels: Accelerate Your Transition to the EMR
Five Questions to Ask About Your Records Manager
Records Management and Your Path to the EMR: Are You Hip to Where It Hurts?