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EHRs Get the Celebrity Treatment

Posted on August 17, 2011 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

Earlier this Summer, I came across news that Greenway Medical Technologies – a developer of electronic health records (EHRs) and practice management and interoperability healthcare IT solutions located just outside of Atlanta – had taken to endorsing pro golfer Jason Dufner. It came as no surprise to me that a healthcare IT company was seeking to increase its profile among the general public. There has been a noticeable shift in increasing the public’s awareness of the impact of healthcare IT solutions on the patient care they will one day inevitably receive. It’s been a smart move on the part of providers and vendors alike to acquaint people with the technology that our government has spent so much time and energy on promoting. I was surprised, however, that Greenway Medical had chosen the celebrity endorsement route. (Golf wasn’t surprising, though. Greenway Medical’s CEO goes by the name of Tee Green.) How much increased visibility, not to mention interest, could a spokesperson bring while swinging a club on the fairway?

His first sponsorship outing at the British Open garnered little fanfare, as Dufner didn’t advance very far. Greenway Medical’s luck changed, however, as Dufner’s skill – and Tiger Woods’ ultimate absence – led him to place second at the PGA Championship last week. Held in Atlanta, the event offered a good excuse for my some of my colleagues at Billian’s HealthDATA, Porter Research and HITR.com to take a field trip to the Atlanta Athletic Club, where I suspect much of the local healthcare industry put in appearances over the tournament’s several days.

I’d have to agree with the Steve Campbell at EMRDailyNews.com, who offered congratulations to Dufner in a recent post “for a wonderful performance at the PGA and to whoever at Greenway made the decision to sponsor Mr. Dufner. The return on investment for that sponsorship just turned very positive.”

I’d also have to agree with one of the post’s commentators that “[r]egardless of his finish, Dufner and Greenway’s [credibility] rocketed this weekend with all of the primetime PGA coverage. Hours of it. And both Dufner and Greenway are classy and humble, in victory and defeat. Bottom line: EHR industry was another winner this weekend simply based on these associations.”

Perhaps Greg Fulton, Public and Media Relations Manager at Greenway Medical, puts it best: “Our main motivation was we felt it was time to continue to bring recognition to the entire health IT industry, now that initiatives like meaningful use are proving to be successful, and we have industry partners who have had good experiences being involved with the PGA TOUR.

“With Jason, we felt like we were partnering with a person first, a golfer second. He really does believe in the goals of innovative and sustainable care coordination that EHRs and healthcare IT can bring. He set up a foundation in his home state of Alabama following the tornado damage there to help people needing ongoing health services, for example.”

When I asked if Greenway Medical would consider entering into other celebrity endorsement deals sometime in the near future, Fulton explained the company’s celebrity strategy a bit further: “At HIMSS10 [in Atlanta], we did have Atlanta radio station deejay Melissa Carter, then of Q100, speak at a Greenway reception to her definite need for EHR data exchange and automated referrals, because she is a kidney transplant patient who needs that constant care coordination. And that’s what would make sense for what type, you ask, of celebrity or sports partnerships to undertake – ones that have a foundation in or can bring industry recognition and tell the story of the advancement of healthcare.”

Is it any wonder that Greenway Medical just announced its customers have secured more than $1 million in Meaningful Use incentives? How many more providers – many of whom are, it’s safe to say, avid golfers – are now aware of the company and will soon look into its products?

I’ll be interested to see what sort of healthcare IT celebrity endorsement pops up next, and where. NASCAR seems a likely candidate. I wonder if Danica Patrick has a coordinated care story to tell?

EHR Experiences – One Clinic’s Road to Meaningful Use

Posted on July 14, 2011 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.

Our next edition of EMR and EHR interviews covers the experience of Jan Patterson and the West Broadway Clinic’s path to meaningful use. The full EMR interview with Jan Patterson can be found on the new EHR and EMR interviews website. The following is a summary of that interview written by Kathy Bongiovi.

If you’re a doctor, nurse, practice manager, EHR consultant, CEO or executive of an EHR vendor, etc with EMR experience that’s interested in being interviewed, let us know on our Contact Us page.

West Broadway Clinic is one of the first clinics to show Meaningful Use. Jan Patterson, the office manager of West Broadway Clinic explained it was the clinic’s desire, from day one, to start using an EHR. The EHR certification is a vital piece for meeting the CME incentive requirements. Additionally the providers felt by using an EHR on day one they could ensure a continuity of care, regardless of which provider a patient might see in the clinic.

The clinic had heard about Cerner Corporation through one of the local hospitals. After interviewing several other vendors it felt that the integration of Cerner’s Practice Management System and Ambulatory EHR would suit its needs best.

West Broadway began using its EHR in May of 2008 and Patterson stated it was able to meet at least 9 of the meaning use requirements because of its EHR. Patterson felt two of the major factors contributing to meeting those requirements so easily were the elements already built into the EHR and the use of the Cerner EHR. As the clinic encountered issues it was able to contact Cerner’s Meaning Use team to assist in the process of attestation.

Additionally, attending Webinars set up by Cerner Corporation, examining materials provided by Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), and attending an MU Summit set up by Cerner Corporation to highlight some of the more important segments of MU, all played an integral role in ensuring West Broadway Clinic would meet Meaningful Use requirements.

The most challenging Meaningful Use requirement was encouraging all of the providers to use the electronic prescriptions function. After reaching MU in just over three months, just two days after attestation opened, Jan Patterson states the clinic continues to maintain its high level of entering the patients’ correct and necessary data and the numbers of electronic prescriptions being sent to pharmacies are increasing.

The benefits to patient care are immediate access to the most current visit information and patient history at its finger tips. Patients receive more continuity of care due to the fact that regardless of what provider they are seeing within their office , the provider can quickly and easily track what services and/or medications a different provider has provided the patient. Components such as eprescribe, medicine/drug interactions, allergy checks, complete documentation, immunization schedules and growth charts etc., have made the clinic more efficient throughout the office.

Patterson’s advice to anyone starting the MU process is to make sure you have gathered all the information and facts first and ensure all physicians/staff are not only fully advised of what is required to meet MU but are also committed to following the process through to its completion. It is important they understand the benefits and necessity of Meaningful Use. After three years of being on an EHR, Patterson cannot imagine functioning as efficiently on a paper system. Although Patterson acknowledges the money as an incentive, the real benefit in successfully attesting is the benefit to their patients. As Patterson suggests, “The increased benefits of safety cannot be undersold. With the assistance of the EHR, we are practicing better, safer medicine than we could on paper records.”

Read the full transcript of Jan Patterson’s interview.

Learning from One Doctor’s Experience with EMR – EMR and EHR Interviews

Posted on June 7, 2011 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 is the first in a series of EMR, EHR and Healthcare IT interviews that will be done on EMR and HIPAA and EMR and EHR. The full EMR interview with Dr. West can be found on the new EMR, EHR and Healthcare IT interviews website. The following is a summary of that interview written by Kathy Bongiovi.

If you’re a doctor, nurse, practice manager, EHR consultant, CEO or executive of an EHR vendor, etc with EMR experience that’s interested in being interviewed, let us know on our Contact Us page.

In a recent interview with Dr. West, an endocrinologist in Washington D.C. and blogger at Happy EMR Doctor, the doctor discussed his experience in finding an EMR capable of fulfilling the needs of his specialized practice and, at the same time, saving him time. Dr. West discussed the arduous process of going from a failed to a successful EMR system.

His first experience with EMR was frustrating and he ultimately ended his relationship with the vendor. West heard other horror stories regarding failed EMRs and was convinced if he kept trying he would find an EMR that would fit his needs.

Dr. West advises other doctors and healthcare professionals to avoid rushing into any relationship with an EMR vendor and to make sure that when they sign a contract, first make sure the contract has a “satisfaction and money-back guarantee”. He suggests that anyone searching for an EMR, should find a vendor willing to let them try out their product for at least a month with no strings attached. Dr. West adds that the doctor or healthcare professional should also make sure there are not a lot of very specific hardware requirements in case the provider needs to change vendors.

Although some studies suggest a decrease in productivity with EMR systems because of a lack of customization for given specialties, West is not suffering from any of those issues and gives the credit to his EMR, Practice Fusion which is free and web based. The doctor has been able to customize templates to fit his specialty in endocrinology and is therefore able to see patients faster and complete their notes by the close of business. The benefits of customized templates, in his practice, allow “a more uniform approach to common problems, such as diabetes and thyroid nodules.” He goes on to explain that the result is a “well-defined path of questions designed to gather the most meaningful and relevant information” from the patient.

An EHR thorn in Dr. West’s side is his decision to not participate in the government’s EHR incentive plan. He thought he’d pursue the path to meaningful use, but after a great deal of frustration he abandoned his pursuit of the government’s EHR incentive money. West stated he may blog about his inner struggle with this issue. If so, his comments will appear in his blog Happy EMR Doctor.

The interview also touched upon Medicare’s recent practice of eliminating consultation codes and the consequences of this practice. By eliminating codes, Medicare has restricted providers’ ability to bill in certain instances. This has led to Dr. West and others turning away Medicare patients thereby restricting some patients’ access to care.

Dr. West’s EMR success should give all doctors and healthcare professionals the incentive to conquer the EMR puzzle and regain some of their personal time now spent handling and maintaining paper charts.

Full Disclosure: Practice Fusion is an advertiser on this site. However, they didn’t know we were doing this interview with Dr. West. Also, Happy EMR Doctor, Dr. West’s blog, is part of the Healthcare Scene blog network.