Is Your EHR Making You Money?

Have you paid a large amount of money for your electronic health record (EHR)? Many doctors struggle to make this investment pay off.  With the correct implementation, you should be seeing a return on your investment through efficiencies in billing, patient documentation and incentive money from the federal government.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) encouraged healthcare providers to use EHRs in their practice.  If your practice utilizes an EHR for certain activities, you are entitled to incentive money.

If you implemented your EHR in 2011, you could receive $43, 720 in incentive money.  If you waited until 2012, your payment would have been slightly less – $43, 380.  If you started in 2013, your incentive payment will equal $38,220.  If you wait until 2014, your incentive payment will still be $23,520.  These amounts are now slightly decreased as a result of the sequester.

CMS Meaningful Use Stage 2 Guide, September 2013

In order to be eligible for portions of these payments, you must meet Meaningful Use Stage 2.  Meaningful Use Stage 1 involved data capture and sharing.  Meaningful Use Stage 2 moves beyond simple data sharing into advanced clinical processes.  Stage 2 is much more involved than Stage 1 certification.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 requires a rigorous health information exchange (HIE).  It includes additional requirements for e-prescribing and incorporating lab results.  Your EHR must also provide for electronic transmission of patient care summaries across multiple settings.   There is an further requirement of increased patient and family engagement.

Not only will these capabilities result in incentive money, but it will also enhance your practice.  Patients who are involved in their care get better results and require less care.  As the healthcare system moves to result based payments, your practice will be in the best position to receive higher reimbursement from insurance plans and other payers.

If your EHR isn’t making you money, you need to investigate why and put your practice on a course to make your investment pay off.

Tell us how you are preparing for Meaningful Use Stage 2? Share your ideas with us by clicking on the comment button below. We’d love to hear from you.

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