Why Choosing the Right EMR Is Necessary for Meaningful Use

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Despite an initial surge in electronic medical records adoption due to federal incentive programs, many qualifying healthcare professionals continue to put off conversion efforts due to the overwhelming number of EMR options on the market and the financial implications involved in adopting state of the art IT systems.

With meaningful use reporting periods coming to a close for 2012, the urgency to adopt EMR technology is growing. Still, healthcare facilities and independent providers don’t need to feel overwhelmed. Achieving meaningful use can be a breeze with the right EMR tools and the help of knowledgeable vendors.

Make sure that the EMR software you choose is certified. There are few EMR systems, in relation to the hundreds of products available on the market, that are not fully certified to meet national standards for data exchange, or interoperability. However, providers looking for more budget-friendly options should be wary of software prices that are too good to be true. If you don’t choose a fully certified EMR, you can forget about meaningful use.

Find out whether the vendor offers assistance with meaningful use reporting. There are many resources, such as regional extension centers, available to medical professionals trying to figure out how meaningful use reporting works. However, being able to count on your EMR vendor to show you how to use their software will make the process go a lot more smoothly. If the vendor tries to wash their hands of that responsibility, you may want to try looking elsewhere. Remember that the only way you can attest to meaningful use is by using your EMR in a meaningful way; and not knowing how to do so is going to complicate things in a big way.

Be attentive to the different registration dates and deadlines. Remember that, in order to earn the full $44,000 in incentive payments, providers must start the stage 1 reporting period by October 3. Make sure your EMR system is set up long before that to account for the learning curve before you have to show meaningful use. Providers who wait until 2013 to attest will only be able to earn $39,000, while those who wait until 2014 will only be eligible for up to $24,000. In order to achieve maximum results, be sure to make a note of important dates and prepare for them well in advance.