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The MACRA (QPP) API – MACRA Monday

Posted on August 7, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This post is part of the MACRA Monday series of blog posts where we dive into the details of the MACRA Quality Payment Program (QPP) and related topics.

When the MACRA program was announced, CMS also announced a new API for MACRA as well. In that announcement, CMS really just mentioned that the MACRA API would give developers access to the complete list of Advancing Care Information (ACI), Improvement Activities (IA), and quality measures for QPP 2017 (now called the QPP Measures Data Repository). While it was nice of them to offer this API, it really didn’t seem that useful.

Since then, CMS has launched what they call the QPP Submissions APIs which allow developers to submit MACRA data to CMS. This is much more useful and something that I believe will be adopted by many EHR vendors, data registries, etc.

Here’s a quick look at what these MACRA APIs can do:

  • Submissions API
    • Submit data as a single file or a set of smaller files throughout the reporting period, using QRDA-III or a new, streamlined QPP data format
    • Submit, update or delete ACI, IA and quality measures data during the reporting period
    • Receive feedback on the content and accuracy of a submission
    • Receive the preliminary score for a submission, based on the finalized policy
  • CMS Web Interface API
    • If you are registered for the CMS Web Interface, download your group’s beneficiary sample, modify it and submit it to the CMS Web Interface
    • Receive feedback on the content and accuracy of a submission
    • Receive a real-time composite score for a submission

For those that prefer a picture explanation of how the API works, you’ll enjoy this diagram of the current process and how the API works:

It’s great to see CMS really embracing APIs as part of MACRA. Now if we could just get the rest of healthcare and EHR vendors to implement high quality APIs.

OIG Video on EHR Oversight and eCW Settlement

Posted on August 4, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This video is a little dry, but about what you’d expect from an organization like OIG. However, it’s interesting that OIG found the $155 million settlement with eCW to be worthy of a video promoting the fact that OIG would pursue legal action against EHR vendors who don’t certify their EHR appropriately.

Check out the OIG video embedded below:

What do you think of this video? Is this needed? Is OIG sending a warning shot for other EHR vendors? Is this a type of healthcare fraud that we’re going to see a lot more of in the industry?

No doubt the eCW settlement has sent some shockwaves through the EHR industry and made a lot of EHR vendors wake up to the fact that they better not cut corners. The sad part is that I don’t think this increased effort to comply with EHR certification is really going to trickle down into benefits for doctors and patients. I do wonder if many lawyers watching this video will see this as an opportunity.

What do you think the impact has been and will be from the eCW settlement and this video?

Healthcare Scene Supporters

Posted on August 3, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

When you’ve been blogging for as long as I have and on as many blogs as I do, you start to take all the aggregate numbers for granted a little bit. At least until you sit down and add up all the numbers when someone asks you for them.

I did this recently and found that across the network of Healthcare Scene websites, we’ve generated over 22.6 million pageviews across 11,500+ blog posts and 17,566 comments. Just on EMR and EHR (this blog) alone, the 2075 blog posts have generated over 5 million pageviews. Plus, that doesn’t count the 53,000 email subscribers who read the content we create in their email client. We send about 150,000 to 200,000 emails per week with great healthcare IT content.

We’re proud of these numbers because it represents so many people getting information they can use to help them perform their job better and hopefully improve healthcare. Thank you for each of you that read us regularly.

Along with a thank you to our readers, I want to take a second to thank many of the companies that sponsor Healthcare Scene. We have a wide variety of sponsors that purchased sponsored blog posts, email marketing, and display ads (Check out our media kit for more info). Their support allows us to continue our work to provide great healthcare IT content, but we work hard to make sure they receive a lot of value in return.

If you’re a reader of this site, take a second to look through these companies that support Healthcare Scene. No doubt some of them could help your organization improve healthcare.

Galen Healthcare Solutions – Galen Healthcare Solutions is a great company that along with offering consulting services provides some really great tools and services to help organizations that are switching EHR software. They were one of the first companies I’ve found that handles EHR data conversions when you’re switching EHRs. Plus, they’ve also created a really great archive solution for those trying to deal with legacy solutions. If you’re switching EHR vendors or if you want to archive some old legacy health IT systems, check out what Galen Healthcare Solutions has to offer. Not to mention their EMR optimization services as well.

Solution Reach – While Solution Reach is well known in the Dental market, they are just now working to make a big splash in the medical market. They offer a patient relationship management system that helps a medical prctice with patient education, practice marketing, reputation management, patient reminders, and much more. If you’re a medical practice, take some time to check out the services they offer.

Intel Health – We’ve been lucky to work with Intel on a number of great projects including a couple recent CIO video interviews. I don’t think anyone needs an introduction to Intel, but many people might be surprised by how many things Intel is doing in healthcare. In a recent video we did with Intel they said “We know the future, because we’re building it.” In so many ways this is correct since Intel’s technology is at the heart of most of the exciting things we see happening in healthcare IT.

Conduent – Many of you might be familiar with our Breakaway Thinking blog post series that’s sponsored by the Breakaway Learning Solutions (A Conduent Company). Breakaway Learning Solutions provides a really innovative way to train EHR users using a simulator based training model. Whether you’re training EHR users as part of a go-live or you’re training new employees that join your system, take a look at Breakaway Learning Solutions unique approach to EHR training.

Stericycle Communication Solutions – As a long time sponsor, most of you will know about Stericycle Communication Solutions. They provide a wide variety of communication solutions for healthcare including patient reminders, call center services, patient self scheduling and much more.

FormFast – Most healthcare organizations are likely familiar with FormFast’s form technology which is in use at over 1100 healthcare organizations. However, FormFast also just recently launched a new product called FormFast connect which provides mobile pre-registration to patients’ mobile devices. If you’ve never seen their form technology, check it out and you’ll see the difference between other form options out there.

Kareo – You likely saw the recent #KareoChat we hosted, but we’ve also been working with Kareo in a number of other ways as well. For example, we’ll be presenting a webinar on Understanding Patient: The Secret to a Thriving Medical Pracitce on Aug 23rd. Kareo provides a full suite of software and services to medical practices including: EHR, Practice Management, Revenue Cycle, Practice Marketing, and much more.

Iron Mountain – Healthcare Scene has been creating a whole series of content for Iron Mountain’s blog. I’m sure most organizations know about Iron Mountain and you’ve likely seen their trucks. However, they also offer a whole suite of IT and data center services along with their records management, document imaging, data management, secure shredding, etc.

MRO – We’re happy to have MRO sponsoring our special HIM Scene website focused on HIM professionals. MRO is one of the leading providers of Release of Information services out there. If you’re looking for an outsourced service to streamline your release of information process, check them out.

HIPAA One – If you have to do a HIPAA Risk Assessment (yes, that’s basically all of you), then you’ll want to check out HIPAA One. They offer a solution that walks you through the HIPAA risk assessment and properly documents everything for you. I haven’t seen any other solution out there that’s simpler and more complete than what HIPAA One offers.

MedicaSoft – This is a brand new sponsor for us, but we’re happy to have them sponsoring Healthcare Scene. Along with offering a full EHR solution, Medicasoft also is seeing a lot of traction with their Paitent Portal solution and their interoperability solutions. I love the way MedicaSoft describes their solutions: “Innovative Healthcare IT Products Built with Modern Technology.” I know this is what many would like to see in healthcare.

Hopefully I didn’t leave anyone out. As you can see we have a great group of companies that support Healthcare Scene. We’re lucky to have them as partners in the work we do. Hopefully some of these companies can help you solve the problems you face in your organization. If you want to join this great group of companies, you can find more information here.

Thanks for indulging us a little bit as we recognize those who support all the work we’ve done. However, we still have a lot more to do when it comes to making sure technology improves healthcare. In fact, shortly we’ll be announcing a new healthcare IT event that’s focused on healthcare organizations collaborating together to improve healthcare. More details to come very soon!

A sincere and heartfelt thank you to all of you who support Healthcare Scene!

Patient Confidence in Chronic Care Management

Posted on August 1, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Managing chronic patients is an extremely important part of our healthcare system. Not only is there now a chronic care management code but it’s widely known that chronic patients make up a huge portion of healthcare costs. The more we can do to manage chronic patients more effectively, the better it will be for patients and healthcare costs.

The problem is that West recently did a survey which illustrates that we still have a long way to go in helping patients feel comfortable with how their chronic conditions are being treated and managing chronic patients.

Here are just a few of the stats from the West survey:

You can download West’s full Strengthening Chronic Care survey results if you want to see more details.

The most disturbing stat in the above graphic to me is that 59% of patients with a chronic illness do not feel they are doing everything they can to manage their condition. On the one hand, you could suggest that all of these people are just hoping that there’s more they could do to manage their illness, but really there isn’t anything more. However, I don’t think that’s very likely. I think it’s more likely that we could do more to better help manage patients’ chronic conditions.

One of the most exciting things about technology to me is that it can connect the chronic patient with the healthcare system in between office visits. That’s a powerful idea that we really haven’t capitalized on the way we should in healthcare. As we move to chronic care management and value based reimbursement, healthcare organizations are going to have no choice but to figure this out.

MACRA Twitter Roundup – MACRA Monday

Posted on July 31, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This post is part of the MACRA Monday series of blog posts where we dive into the details of the MACRA Quality Payment Program and related topics.

There’s always a lot of activity on Twitter that’s relevant and interesting and this is particularly true for MACRA. So, I thought it would be fun for this MACRA Monday to do a roundup of some of the recent tweets providing resources, information and perspective on MACRA.


This is an important list to know about if you’re participating in MACRA. Make sure you’re using an approved registry (QCDR for those following along at home). I wish it wasn’t a pdf, but it is CMS.


This is a great side by side comparison for those preparing for what’s coming in MACRA 2018. I also found it interesting to see that it outlines MACRA’s main goals as:

  • Improve Health Outcomes
  • Spend Wisely
  • Minimize Burden of Participation
  • Be Fair and Transparent

I think if those are the goals, they might have the wrong program.


This is many doctors views of MACRA. Although, Kris Held, MD is very vocal about it. Her Twitter profile even says she has a mission to get government out of medicine. I don’t think enough doctors are going to follow her lead and opt out, but we’ll see very soon.


This tweet just made me laugh. I guess there’s a Miss Macra. I’m not sure what the Miss Macra Festival is, but I find it hilarious when terms overlap like this. Not really the point of MACRA Monday, but I thought you might enjoy the laugh that I got from the odd overlap.

Planning vs Executing – Fun Friday

Posted on July 28, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you don’t follow my sister site, EMR and HIPAA, what’s wrong with you? Just kidding…kind of. But I digress…If you don’t read EMR and HIPAA, then you might not know that I regularly do what I call Fun Friday. On Friday, we’ve all generally had a long week and we are ready for something a little light hearted to start our weekend.

I don’t do it every Friday, but I do it regularly enough that people love it. So, where possible I’m also going to do Fun Friday here on EMR and EHR.

This week’s Fun Friday post is a Dilbert cartoon that takes a great look at the balance of planning vs executing:

I love the concept of working meetings. Meetings to discuss plans are not generally as useful as meetings that perform actions. Take a minute to think about how you can turn a meeting into an action completed and you’ll start to look at meetings in a very different way.

The Positive Impacts of EHRs and MACRA on Patient Care – #KareoChat

Posted on July 26, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

If you were to look at the Twittersphere or read a lot of the healthcare IT publications out there, you might think that nothing good has come from EHRs or MACRA. While there are plenty of points of criticism that are worthy of discussion about both of these things, I think the negative discussion overwhelms many of the positive things that have come out of EHRs and MACRA (and it’s predecessor meaningful use).

With this in mind, I recently did a blog post for Kareo which looked at some of the ways EHRs and MACRA can improve patient care. The intro to the post summarizes what’s happening well:

When healthcare pundits talk about MACRA they often offer a basic analysis of how the move to value-based reimbursement will be a good thing for healthcare, since then we are only spending money on care that provides value. Many doctors disagree and suggest that value-based reimbursement won’t create the value it purports to create. Either of these analyses overlooks many of the benefits that MACRA and the move to EHR software offer healthcare. The reality is that many of the most exciting initiatives in healthcare would not be happening today and would not even be possible if it weren’t for programs like MACRA and the implementation of EHR software. Let’s take a look at some of these improvements.

Be sure to check out the full blog post to read about a number of ways we’re benefiting from EHRs and MACRA.

This idea became a theme for me this month and so when Kareo asked me to host their weekly #KareoChat I thought it would be a great topic of conversation for the larger healthcare IT Community as well. I’m sure many of you can offer a lot of great perspectives on how patient care has been improved sthanks to these programs and technology. If you’d like to join the discussion, I’ll be hosting the #KareoChat on Thursday, July 27th at 9 AM PT. Just hop on Twitter and join in!

During the #KareoChat we’ll be discussing the topic of “The Positive Impacts of EHRs and MACRA on Patient Care.” Here are the 5 questions that will serve as the framework for the discussion:

1. Are you planning to participate in MACRA? At what pace? And why or why not?

2. Where do you see MACRA having a positive impact on patient care?

3. What are the short term benefits to patient care from having an EHR?

4. What are the long term benefits to patient care from having an EHR?

5. What other things beyond MACRA and EHR can we do to improve patient care?

I have a feeling that this chat is going to be a challenge for many. It’s so easy for us to see the negative. It takes much more work to see the positives. I think that’s largely because we start to take the positives for granted. Hopefully, during this chat we’ll take a step back and realize all the positives of EHRs and MACRA.

Full Disclosure: Kareo is a sponsor of Healthcare Scene.

A Few Thoughts on #HIT100

Posted on July 11, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

As many of you know, I’ve been working hard lately to keep the #HIT100 alive since I think the sharing of gratitude that happens with #HIT100 nominations is a phenomenal thing. For the most part, the good of the #HIT100 has outweighed the bad. As someone recently tweeted (sorry I couldn’t find the specific tweet), the kindness and appreciation that you see in the #HIT100 Twitter stream stands in stark contrast to much of what is happening in the world and on social media. That’s a beautiful thing and so I want as many people to pariticipate in sharing the great things happening in healthcare IT social media as possible. With that in mind, check out the details of the #HIT100 and participate.

While I think the #HIT100 provides so many good things, it’s sad that some in the #HIT100 community have had some bad experiences. Unfortunately, social media is a community and you can’t control it. However, what you can do is support those who get hurt, work to encourage the good side so that it far outweighs the bad, and encourage those that act inappropriately to change. I think Dr. Brian Stork’s tweet was an apt response to some of the negative experiences:

One reason I think a lot of people take the #HIT100 too seriously is that rank has value even if it’s only perceived value. However, given the crowdsourced process of the #HIT100, your rank on the list shouldn’t matter much. Here’s what I wrote back in 2014 about it:

The list as a whole is quite interesting and a great way to discover new and interesting people in healthcare IT. However, specific rank on the list is meaningless to me since it can easily be gamed. For example, if you nominate a lot of other people, then you’re very likely to get reciprocal nominations and be at the top of the list. Not to mention, with just my own Health IT related Twitter accounts I could get someone to the top 50 if I’d wanted. Although, I didn’t.

Given this, I recently tweeted the following:

I was serious about rank not mattering. I can’t choose what the rest of the community chooses to do, but my plan is to publish the top 100 accounts based on #HIT100 nominations but to publish them in a random order that hopefully will randomly resort every time you refresh the screen. Plus, I’ll be working to publish other lists like I’ve done in past years including Twitter accounts with only one #HIT100 nomination. All of this points to the idea that the list is great for social discovery. Not to mention all the gratitude and support that happens with each nomination.

I hate to see anyone on the #HIT100 getting hurt by the process. However, I hope the good that comes from it will far outweigh the bad. The best way I know how to make sure that’s the case is for all of us to share goodness with others during the #HIT100 nominations. What I find amazing about the process is the more good you share, the more goodness you’ll receive in return. Plus, that happens regardless of some easily gamed rank. Let’s all spread more good in the health IT social community and the world.

Happy Fourth of July

Posted on July 4, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I love the Fourth of July Holiday. We do a hike in the mountains to start the day and a big family party at night to end it. Should be a fun day. I hope everyone else enjoys the holiday as much as me. And to all those in healthcare that are still working on the holiday, we salute you!

I also love this picture to celebrate July 4th. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about finding joy in life and the pure joy of children. I’m not sure I have any great conclusions yet, but I definitely want to find more freedom to have joy in all parts of my life.