Is your EHR ONC Certified?
Chances are, it’s not. As of December 1st, only 10% are fully certified for 2014 incentives and to avoid penalties next year. To make matters worse, many providers will need to have a 2014 fully certified system before October 1st, 2015 to avoid a 2% medicare penalty in 2016. For you this may seem like plenty of time to decide. However, most EHR users typically go through a 3-6 month learning curve before feeling comfortable with their system. By this time, users must know how to consistently report meaningful use objectives.
Compared to 2011, 2014 certification is a monumental leap forward. There are more programmatic functions like interoperability, secure messaging, and online patient portal access. All this including the additional costs of has proved to be more challenging for both vendors and providers. In reality, many providers will be left scrambling to learn or find a certified EHR system thats compatible with their practice.
Be prepared. The most important things you can do is 1) check the following website: to see if you vendor is listed as a complete EHR product and 2) Ask you vendor to guarantee – in writing – that they will be fully certified by Oct. 1st 2014. Ideally, this guarantee, should compensate you for all reimbursements for lost incentives and/or Medicare penalties if they fail to supply you with a fully certified EHR before the October deadline.
Providers who don’t treat Medicare patients, certified ehr systems may not mean much. However, everyone should keep in mind that the main goal of demonstrating meaningful use through certified products is to raise the standard of care for all health care professionals. And is could be assumed in the near future that other other insurance carriers will follow Medicares footsteps and require certified EHR software.
Bottom line: The new 2014 EHR certification requirements will change the game for both providers and EHR vendors. For the majority of providers, the process will mean either purchasing a completely new system or upgrading their current systems. The financial and logistical costs maybe high. But its important to be prepared and begin making your transition soon before your left behind.