MEDICAL COMMUNITY BRACING FOR NEXT ROUND OF MEDICARE REQUIREMENTS
OGDEN, UT – Medicare is turning the heat up for its goal of having every medical practice and medical facility in the United States using a “Meaningful Use” EHR (Electronic Health Records) system. In its quest for full compliance, Medicare is increasing penalties for non-compliance and offering attractive incentives for compliance.
Ironically, while Medicare is turning up the heat now, the agency admits it is two-years behind in its own compliance monitoring cycle. That means penalties imposed today, will take effect in two years. So, what a practice does today, can either adversely or positively affect a practice.
The clock is ticking.
“With a meaningful use certified system, the bonus could be up to nine percent in the next two years,” noted Dr. Steven A. Porter, a gastroenterologist located in Ogden, Utah. “If you’re not using a meaningful system, it could mean a 9 percent penalty. That translates into nearly a 20 percent difference in a practice’s reimbursement. Frankly, medicare isn’t one of the top payers so a 20 percent drop could mean disaster for many practices.”
Dr. Porter is familiar with EHR systems, medicare and meaningful use, having developed one of the most progressive programs of its type. Progressive as evidenced by its prestigious Level 3 Meaningful Use Certification, a goal that merely 10 percent of the EHR industry has been able to achieve. That means more than 4,000 systems have yet to pass the stringent requirements.
Dr. Steven A. Porter pointed out that while Meaningful Use is an impressive, but exhaustive goal, the focus on the NovoClinical development was to address the needs of today’s medical practice by combining contemporary computer technology with an understanding of the medical practice processes.
“That may sound oversimplified,” Dr. Porter noted. “But there is a difference between a system based on the experience and understanding the flow and processes of a medical office as opposed to a program that may be based on assumptions. There has been extensive research done addressing why so many practices are unhappy with their EHR system. It may seem elementary, but many systems are based on programmer’s interpretation of the modern day medical practice needs. There is a tremendous difference between understanding a need and guessing a need.”
Perhaps it’s this misinterpretation of needs that has driven physicians such as John Levinson, a cardiologist at Harvard University to spearhead a grass roots program to scrap all the EHR systems on the market today and start over because these alleged electronic wonders have reduced practice processes, decreased productivity and created chaos in many practices.
Levinson calls it: “Death by a thousand clicks”.
Dr. Porter merely smiles when he hears about Dr. Levinson’s frustration. And Dr. Levinson is not alone. In today’s “modern” world, there are still a surprising number of practices who refuse to convert their practice from paper to electronic – via EHR.
“There are far too many practices today who are afraid of going to an EHR because they have heard the horror stories of cost and loss production,” Dr. Porter pointed out. “There are hospital systems investing hundreds of millions of dollars in these systems and suffering up to a 40 percent reduction in productivity. No wonder so many hospitals are in severe financial difficulty.”
In the tumultuous world of EHRs, where one prominent doctor wants to scrap it all, NovoClinical has become a leader in the medical technology world. Quietly developing, designing and answering the need for healthcare.
“When we looked at the Meaningful Use requirements we originally thought about going for the current level, but then my programmers said we were ready for level 3,” Dr. Porter added. “At that point, it made no sense to even think less than 3.”
Dr. Porter said his system was better positioned to the level three process because of the design nature of NovoClinical.
“Adaptable,” he said. “That’s what I say when someone asks me the basic difference between NovoClinical and other systems. Our system has been developed in a format that allows us to adapt, customize and respond to any practice needs. As much as medical practices are the same, they are different. Being able to adapt and respond gives us the opportunity to improve and evolve. When a practice comes to us with a suggestion, we look at it carefully. Many times, that suggestion can be universally applicable to all our end users. Other systems are much more resistant to change. And can be costly for the practice.”
Beyond adaptability, NovoClinical boasts ease of use and automation. The automation concept behind NovoClinical is to make the office – from the receptionist to the nurse, to the billing staff to the provider – more efficient.
“We aren’t trying to eliminate jobs, we are making people more efficient,” Dr. Porter added. “We can take the existing staff, use our processes and increase production and/or revenue by as much as 50 percent. That’s what an EHR should do – improve the methodologies and processes – not add frustration and clicks.”
Dr. Porter is quick to point out that clicks and human intervention are major causes for system frustration and inefficiency. He calls NovoClinical a true 360 solution that offers an astonishing number of features that are automatic. Features that improve the practice processes, improve the efficiencies, but most importantly, improves the quality of care.
“I would be extremely happy if I could talk to those practices who refuse to get rid of paper and see the value of a system like NovoClinical, Dr. Porter said. “NovoClinical is a positive step in a better way to run a practice. Not an expensive step back.”
With its efficiency and potential for increased revenue stream for the practice, NovoClinical could revolutionize the way doctors think today. Currently, there is a trend for small practices to “sell out” to healthcare systems due to the inability to survive in private practice.
“We have seen so many studies that indicate providers would prefer to be independent and control their own destiny,” but the uncontrolled cost of overhead prevents these physicians from opening their own private practice," Dr. Porter indicated. "The fear and the cost shouldn't prevent doctors from opening their own practice."
But healthcare costs are spiraling out of control in the United States. Numerous studies have pointed fingers at the cost of prescriptions and the administrative costs for healthcare facilities and the strain increased overhead and reduced insurance reimbursements have placed on the industry.
"I look at all these factors and hear the frustration from other doctors and administrators," Dr. Porter added. "But there is hope with an EHR like NovoClinical. I have used it myself for more than a decade during the developmental stages and have reaped the financial rewards. We have started bringing other practices onboard who are experiencing the same financial benefits.
"Just as practices are different, EHRs are different."
Among the features NovoClinical offers is a system that eliminates separate systems for billing, coding, charting and more. NovoClinical is truly a 360 solution for practices, clinics and hospitals.
"NovoClinical does it all – efficiently and cost effectively," Dr. Porter noted. "The providers using our system have the ability to go out on their own and control their destiny.”
Explaining the 360 solution, Dr. Porter said that with NovoClinical, the practice or facility can function very efficiently using on system. No need for a separate billing and accounting system along with a record keeping system. With a fully integrated system, all the practice areas are connected seamlessly.
“There are so many automated features within NovoClinical,” Dr. Porter pointed out. “Probably the most important feature for a doctor is that when the last patient leaves, the doctor can walk out behind the patient. No more late-night dictations or other issues. We think we have the best system available and can stand up to any of the so-called ‘big players’ as evidenced by our ability to attain a meaningful use level 3 certification. This only represents a small part of what such a dynamic EHR can do.”
NovoClinical is packed with features and is adaptable to virtually any practice. Best yet, the system is Meaningful Use Level 3 certified so users can feel confident they can stop the Medicare reimbursement red ink and move to the black side of the ledger.