As an industry, the Health IT community went through quite a lot in 2015: the long awaited transition to ICD-10, providing effective Meaningful Use compliance in order to receive government funding, and the seemingly endless quest toward full interoperability. At the end of every year, the healthcare industry likes to take an introspective look back at our last 365 days in providing top-notch service to our patients. What did we accomplish? What were our biggest opportunities? How do these events affect our future and the road we take to get there?

Earlier this week, Becker’s Hospital Review interviewed the CIO’s of ten healthcare centers across the USA regarding the best and the worst of events in the Health IT industry over the past year.

ICD-10 Guided EHR User Interface Improvements

The paramount centerpiece event of the year was, as you probably already guessed: ICD-10. It was a huge event that affected everyone across the entire Health IT spectrum. The conversion to ICD-10 has been widely well received, mostly due to the preparedness of the industry as a whole, as was the case with PrognoCIS EHR.  Many executives were braced for the impact long before Oct 1, Rose Ann Laureto, CIO of ProMedica, had this to say about the transition:

It came and went, but anybody who has a large health system like ours with a substantial number of moving parts and things that had to be changed with attention to detail knows it was a significant conversion. […]The industry did very well with that one.

Even though healthcare centers have reported the conversion to ICD-10 as a success, some executives are wary of what the future may hold. Robert Napoli, Senior Vice President, CIO, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands his company was “about a month in, we’ve seen no major issues. Still, we’re not yet declaring victory because it could take months for problems to emerge.

PrognoCIS EHR’s preparation began back in 2013 when the HHS first mandated the transition to the new format. Our engineers were ready for implementation a whole two years before the go-live date was actually released in October 2015. This gave us a leg up in producing a quality EHR that was void of bugs with a streamlined user interface. We published a white paper on ICD-10’s Impact on Revenue Cycle Management earlier this month.

Driving Towards Interoperability

Interoperability was another common talking point touched on by nearly all executives involved in the interview. It was slightly more controversial in where it was viewed on the positive/negative spectrum, as a highlight for the good achieved over this year, or as an opportunity for improvement.

For example, Randy Davis, CIO of CGH Medical Center, spoke highly of the, “concerted effort to achieve interoperability, such as efforts made in document retrieval using the CommonWell Alliance between vendors. While it’s not proper to call it interoperability, it’s still a start.”

Alternatively, Aurelia Boyer, CIO of New York- Presbyterian Hospital said that interoperability was the “greatest angst” facing the industry today. “It’s not a failure, but it’s where we have to really move,” she remarked.

Interoperability is considered to be the overall connectivity between networks and providers in order to achieve singularity as an industry. But, in more literal terms, it is about the disconnect of hardware devices. In 2015, PrognoCIS EHR, produced an eToken that allowed physicians to send prescriptions online without having to be physically plugged in to their computer or device.  The move to cloud based solutions is an efficient way to outsource the best of modern security standards.

Meaningful Use Requirements Relaxed

Meaningful Use and the goal of full compliance has been a major motivator for clinicians all over the country. Strict policies and expensive options left many with an unsavory taste in their mouth since its inception. But, in 2015, the CMS relaxed the amount of measures required for qualification, from one year down to ninety days, which according to Kumar Chatani, Executive Vice President and CIO, Mount Sinai Health System, “certainly gave us some breathing room to prepare accordingly.”

Mandatory Meaningful Use Stage Three certification will be required in 2017, make sure you are preparing properly by setting the goal to be certified going into 2016! PrognoCIS offers several packages designed to walk you through each stage of the Meaningful Use objectives and make sure you and your practice are fully compliant!

Looking Towards 2016

It’s been a huge year for Health IT, with all the aforementioned highlights and opportunities for growth- among the various other common threads: becoming Meaningful Use Stage Three certified, the implementation of telehealth and wearable technologies, as well as the accommodation by EHR vendors to integrate mobile devices in the clinic or hospital. Moving in to 2016 we will likely face a lot new challenges and rise to the occasion as we did this year and the years before it.
Author: Cory Clark


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