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Ready? Registered? Now prepare to attest to EHR meaningful use
e-Reports, March 21, 2011
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Nationwide 21,000 physicians are registered as meaningful users of electronic health record (EHR) systems. Next month, they’ll move to the “attestation” process to qualify for an incentive payment. If you’re not yet on board, you still have plenty of time.

Get the facts about e-prescribing and more
Learn the details about electronic prescribing, access a self-assessment tool and get your questions answered with a new web page from the AMA. You’ll find implementation and financing tips and a tool to help you rate potential vendors. Scroll down the page for a link to webinars you can take at your convenience.

Don’t delay. Visit the AMA website.

In fact, you can register and attest on the same day, so you can quickly catch up. Registration is a straightforward process. But maybe “attestation” has you concerned. Relax. It’s simple – and help is available.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Web-based attestation module, expected out in April, requires no submission of documents or records. Meaningful users simply go online and respond to a series of questions, some requiring a simple yes or no answer. Each question aims to determine whether you are using your EHR system in a way that improves health and advances the coordination of care.

You attest regarding Stage 1 meaningful use requirements, which include 15 core and 10 optional or menu measurements. You select five of the optional measures and comply with them (see here). Each measure has exemptions, and once claimed, they count the same as meeting that objective.

During attestation, you notify or assert to CMS that you are meeting the measures. Later CMS is expected to initiate an auditing program to verify the information you provide.

Available assistance
Indiana’s two Regional Extension Centers (RECs) will be ready to help you through the attestation process, though the REC staff cannot complete it for you.

IHITEC REC selected vendors
  • athenahealth Inc.
  • iSALUS Healthcare
  • MDLand
Tri-State REC selected vendors
  • Allscripts - Professional
  • AthenaNet
  • eClinicalWorks
  • GE Centricity
  • NextGen

“We assist them in generating the numbers necessary to attest,” explained Allison Bryan, field operations manager for the Indiana Health IT Extension Center (IHITEC) at Purdue. The REC will also provide guidance on capturing appropriate documentation needed for any future audit.

Currently, IHITEC is helping 647 enrolled providers in our state “with a lot more close to joining,” according to Bryan. Check the map at on the IHITEC website to see if your county is in this REC’s service area and learn more about IHITEC’s services.

If you’re located in southeastern Indiana, your county may fall in the Tri-State Regional Extension Center service area, which also helps physicians in parts of Ohio and Kentucky. To date, about 100 physicians in Indiana are receiving support from the Tri-State REC, for a total of 800 primary care providers in the three-state area.

See if you’re in the Tri-State REC service area and discover educational opportunities and more on this website.

Remember the goal
At the AMA’s National Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., last month, David Blumenthal, M.D., the national coordinator for health IT, told physicians the key to the future of medicine is maintaining a modern, flexible and dynamic profession.

Speaking about the era of meaningful use, he said, “The goal is to be the best you can – providing the best care for your patients.”

Dr. Blumenthal also told attendees about the availability of an e-mail-type protocol using a so-called “wiki process” to test interoperability (the ability of EHR systems to communicate with each other).

“We expect that in short order, if you can do e-mail, you should be able to move an EHR from your computer to someone else’s computer,” he advised. Regardless, he noted the reality is: “The future of independent small practices depends on staying modern.”

Read full text of his comments on the AMA website.

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