10 Tech Tips to Help Make Your EHR Bloom

Has the notion of converting to an electronic health record (EHR) germinated among your practice plans? For this big changeover to bear fruit in your practice operations, you need to proceed with care. TMA has tools, guidance, and reference material — most are free — to help you produce your desired results.

  1. Start by surveying the lay of the land using the TMA Electronic Health Records Resource Center's lists, tips, background information, and advice. You might start by taking the EMR Readiness Assessment and using the Net Revenue Calculator to estimate costs and savings per procedure with an EHR.
  2. Read the manual: TMA's just-updated EHR Implementation Guide, third edition, is available as a free download. This how-to publication looks at EHR adoption from all angles, in plain English.
  3. Begin narrowing your choices using TMA's EHR Product Evaluation Tool. TMA dug up details about the important features of the six most-used EHR products in Texas, laying them out in a quick apples-to-apples comparison.
  4. Find out what contract terms should be considered before signing an EHR contract. Read about it in the article, EHR Buyer Beware: Issues to Consider When Contracting with EHR Vendors
  5. Reap the benefits of your EHR. No one says your practice won't experience rocky times as your EHR system takes root in your everyday operations; at first it will slow down practice productivity. So you want to be sure to earn bonuses through the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive programs, and avoid the penalties for not meaningfully using your EHR. Go to TMA's EHR Incentive Program Resource Center to gather information about getting started, the reporting requirements, and deadlines.
  6. Use good tools. The Meaningful Use Achievement Toolkit, for example, makes it simple to report meaningful use, measure by measure, through five EHR vendors.
  7. Take advantage of growing opportunities. For example, nearly all pharmacies now can handle electronic prescriptions (and e-prescribing is a required meaningful use measure). Learn more in the TMA E-Prescribing Resource Center.
  8. Also, now that your patient information is electronic, you can share it: Health information exchange systems allow you to do so securely when coordinating care with referring and consulting physicians. Find out how this works in TMA's Health Information Exchange Resource Center.
  9. Share more: DocbookMD, a free TMA member benefit, (members only) is a HIPAA-secure application for smartphones, tablets, and PCs that allows you to safely send HIPAA messages bundled with photos of x-rays, EKGs, wounds, and more just as if you were sending a text. If appropriate, you can add the messages or photos into your patient's electronic record.
  10. Keep your knowledge fresh, as technology  and the rules that govern its use  change continually. TMA helps you keep current through continuing medical education on health information technology in the TMA Education Center. Or  if you need help or have a question, call the TMA Health Information Technology Hotline at (800) 880-5720, or email the hotline at HIT@texmed.org.   

 Published Aug. 12, 2014

TMA Practice E-tips main page