|By Starrla Cray
As of Jan. 1, 2014, all healthcare providers in the US are required to use electronic record keeping in order to get the same amount of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.
This mandate is part of the federal government’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
According to an article from University Alliance, providers receive financial incentives for implementing electronic health records (EHR), which are more comprehensive than electronic medical records (EMR).
EHRs are designed to be shared with other health organizations, such as laboratories and specialists, according to healthit.gov. Patients’ information can be transferred to other states, and can be accessed by everyone involved in the patient’s care including the patient.
Glencoe Regional Health Services (GRHS) transitioned to the Excellian EMR system Aug. 1, 2013. Patients can now access portions of their medical record, schedule appointments, e-mail providers, and more through a secure online portal called MyChart.
The system can be accessed by any health care system that participates in the Allina Health EMR affiliate network, which includes Hutchinson Health and all Allina Health clinics and hospitals.
Benefits GRHS states regarding the new Excellian EMR are summarized as follows:
• gives health care providers immediate access to complete medical history, so they can be well informed when making decisions about patients’ care;
• allows patients to have one common medical record that can be accessed by other health care providers, for consistent, high quality care;
• delivers lab test and medical imaging results faster, for quicker diagnosis and treatment;
• eliminates handwritten orders for greater accuracy and safety; and
• automatically cross checks any new prescriptions that are being considered, to ensure there are no negative interactions with allergies or current medications.
Ridgeview Medical Center’s EHR system has achieved complete certification under the Office of the National Coordinator’s Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB) program.
The Drummond Group tested Ridgeview’s software, and deemed it capable of meeting the “meaningful use” measures required by the federal government.
Ridgeview will launch a new patient portal early in 2014, through which patients will have self-service access to personal health information and enhanced communication with health care providers.
The Ridgeview patient portal will:
• give patients access to their legal medical record;
• assure the security of patient data through state-of-the-art encryption and security standards;
• enable online consultations;
• send patients reminders for preventive and follow-up care;
• allow patients to request appointments and prescription renewals online; and
• allow physicians to view, manage, and update health history online.
According to Ridgeview, studies show that patients access personal health records to improve interactions with health care providers, make more informed health-related decisions, and improve overall quality of care.