Archive for the tag 'Meaningful Use'

E-Referrals…Why We Are Not Breathing A Sigh Of Relief


Many organizations took advantage of the CMS Final Rule for 2014 Meaningful Use Reporting last year, breathing a sigh of relief that they could postpone implementing some of the more challenging Meaningful Use Stage 2 measures such as e-Referral and Direct Messaging. With the 2014 Attestation complete, now is the time to look at the what’s, why’s, and how’s surrounding the e-Referral process and make it a functional reality for your providers.

The ability to “Connect” is an increasingly prevalent theme as we navigate through Meaningful Use. Connecting via e-Referrals allows providers to quickly and accurately send patient information via secure electronic messaging for instant collaboration on patient care. Effective and efficient communication between care providers has been identified as a key contributing factor to providing better patient care and lowering healthcare costs. This not only reduces administrative overhead, it also increases the security of patient information and ensures that records reach their intended destination in a complete and auditable way. This also benefits the patient experience by reducing potentially duplicate tests, promoting continuity of care, and enabling faster access to services.

If you would like to hear more about e-Referrals and Direct Messaging in Allscripts TouchWorksTM  and learn how to configure your system to maximize efficiency and end user satisfaction, please join our free webcast on April 24th: E-Referrals – Review and What’s New

Can HL7 solve your Meaningful Use needs?

By now most healthcare organizations are knee-deep in Meaningful Use (MU) – but a new year means a new stage of MU, which means new requirements, new opportunities for solutions, and new pressures to find the right solution for your organization. That’s where we come in.

Next week Wednesday, February 18, Galen will be presenting a webcast on HL7 interfaces and how they fit into the Meaningful Use puzzle. The focus will be on Meaning Use Stage 2, as only 1% of hospitals and Eligible Professionals completed attestation for that stage in 2014; the bulk of qualified organizations will attest for Stage 2 in 2015 and 2016. The webcast will cover this year’s requirements, thresholds for attestation, new menu objectives, and Clinical Quality Measures.

HL7 timeline

We will also give a brief overview of HL7 messaging and its role in interoperability. The HL7 standard is used by 95% of U.S. healthcare organizations and boasts backwards capability – meaning HL7 is able to be integrated into nearly any existing information system. We will select seven MU2 objectives (shown below) and take an in-depth look at which HL7 interfaces would be appropriate as solutions.


Next week’s webcast is intended for an audience that have already been exposed to the basics of both Meaningful Use and HL7. However, we have previously presented separate webcasts for beginners on both topics, which can be found on Galen’s Wiki (notably, here are the links for the HL7 Fundamentals webcast and the MU2 Requirements webcast).

You can register for the “Your HL7 Interface and What It Means for Meaningful Use” here.  We hope you can join us!

Patient Portals: 3 Hot-Button Items

As we start the fourth quarter, we enter the final 3-month reporting period for Meaningful Use (MU) Stage 2 in 2014.  Many healthcare organizations will be working feverishly this quarter to ensure that their eligible providers (and supporting staff) are performing all of the necessary tasks in order to successfully attest to MU Stage 2 in 2014.  Stage 2 has three core objectives that require patients to interact with their health information and communicate with their provider electronically.  All three of these objectives can be satisfied by the use of a patient portal.

Recently, Galen Healthcare forged a partnership with MedfusionTM to help expand their portfolio of EHR’s that integrate with the MedfusionTM Patient Portal.  This project got me thinking about some of the bigger picture issues with patient portals.

Organizational Benefits.  By now, most healthcare organizations have selected a patient portal allowing them to achieve the MU objectives.  While MU was likely the driver for many providers to implement patient portals in their organization, there are many other reasons to integrate a patient portal with the organization’s EHR solution.  Secure communications between providers and patients, appointment requests, prescription renewal requests, and automated delivery of visit summaries are a few examples of office workflows that can be made more efficient when using a patient portal, freeing up time for office staff.  What are the next wave of patient portal features that will help optimize the healthcare organization?  Will e-visits gain traction amongst providers, patients, and payers?  Is there a place in the patient portal for e-visits and will they benefit the healthcare organization?

Patient Adoption.  Not only does the patient portal provide many benefits for the healthcare organization and its staff, but patients also benefit from the features and functionalities added by the portal.  Patient portals provide patients with innovative functionalities that are not only new and exciting (smart phone apps, cloud services, etc.), but also provide services that yield streamlined and improved healthcare outcomes.  And while a patient portal can reduce the amount of effort required of the patient to get the needed healthcare, and even result in healthier patient care, portal adoption is still a big struggle.  How can adoption be increased?  Most of the burden falls on the organization to get the message out to their patients to join in many different ways, but can patient portal vendors create a user-interface that is simple to use while also including trendy and exciting features (possibly including some element of gamification) to attract younger generations, enhance the patient experience, and motivate individuals to live healthier lives?

EHR-Tethered Patient Portals.  Does the tight relationship between EHR vendors and patient portals reduce the adoption of patient portals by patients?  Each vendor has their own patient portal solution, creating the need for patients to possibly maintain multiple portal accounts.  As much as providers don’t want to be required to login to multiple applications to see a patient’s full clinical record, a patient doesn’t want to have to login to multiple portals in order to see their full health record.  Much like HIE was the next step for getting data out of EHR silos, what is next for providing patients with a way to combine their data across multiple portal “silos?”  Is the best solution to tether patient portals to HIE’s, which already aggregate data across multiple providers in a community, rather than EHR’s?  There are definitely some design costs associated with this type of solution, but is it more sustainable and desirable in the long-term?

Patient portals have been developed and deployed for many years, but the adoption still seems relatively low.  Meaningful Use Stage 2 is trying to increase their usage, but there need to be more benefits (for both the healthcare organization and the patient) in order to sustain and augment their utilization.

Feel free to provide your thoughts and comments, including your own experiences, on patient portals below.  What current features are most useful?  What features are still needed?  What is the future of patient portals?

Engaging your patients……and their smartphones

Last week, Jamie Verkamp of (e)Merge wrote a terrific piece as a guest blogger for EMR & HIPAA about looking beyond the simple patient engagement measures required by Meaningful Use and focusing more on patient involvement and education. In her piece, she mentions a TeleVox study that revealed 83% of Americans don’t follow treatment plans as prescribed by their physicians, and that 42% of those surveyed felt a form of motivation would help them follow their care plan. With Meaningful Use measures driving the adoption of patient portals, practices need to look at this investment as not another MU hurdle, but an excellent opportunity to interact with their patients. One of the suggestions mentioned in Jamie’s piece is the idea of making sure your patient-facing staff is well educated in accessing and navigating the portal in order help answer any of your patients’ questions. She also mentions that educating your patients on maneuvering around the portal is a simple way to increase patient engagement.

Along the same lines of patient engagement, the HIT industry received exciting news when Apple, during their Keynote presentation at the 2014 WWDC, introduced Health and HealthKit for their iOS 8 mobile operating system. When I watched the keynote, my first reaction was not “wow!” but “about time”. The mobile health app market has been around for a few years now, but so were mp3 players before Apple introduced the iPod back in October of 2001. While I don’t want to come across as an Apple fan boy, you can’t help but appreciate Apples ability to re-energize an industry and get people to rally behind their vision. In a generation where everyone is glued to their phones (waiting to see the “Head injury due to walking into street post while patient on their smartphone” ICD-10 diagnosis), it was only a matter of time that the mobile health market got it’s opportunity to take-off (Let’s just hope this isn’t another Spruce Goose).



Even though there are plenty of great running, exercising, diet/calorie tracking apps already in the market, Apple’s hope is that these apps, along with new ones entering the market, will have the ability to easily to integrate with and transmit information to an individual’s healthcare provider. With that said, I say “Good Luck.”

Fortunately, Galen has already recognized the need for a simple, educational, integrated care-management mobile application. Back in August 2013 during ACE, Galen introduced Dragonfly, a remote patient monitoring and chronic disease management app. Dragonfly lets a provider prescribe a patient self-management plan from their EHR, allowing the patient to capture the necessary vital measures for their specific care plan through the Dragonfly app. If the patient records a vital sign, such as a blood pressure reading, outside a reference range set by the provider, Dragonfly will alert the provider and their staff of the result in the EHR. You can learn more about Dragonfly and it’s other great features by visiting our website.

New TWUser Admin Preferences in 11.4.1

There are a few new enhancements available for Allscripts TouchWorks EHR (formerly Enterprise EHR) beginning in version 11.4.1.  The first feature allows you to assign all sites or specific sites to a user’s primary organization while establishing a default site for each.  This is an ideal feature for users that do not need access to all the sites for whatever reason your organization may decide.  Be aware that post upgrade, all users are assigned to all sites at all organizations by default.  This would apply to any new users created as well.  To configure any changes needed for users there is now an Assigned Sites section within TWUser Admin>User Admin.  Previously the controls for changing sites were located in the User Details section.

You can see by the screen shots below that you can select “All Sites” or un-check the desired sites as needed in order to limit the choices that the user will see.  Be sure to select a Default Site as well which will automatically be the choice if only one site is selected.  Notice that when Western Colorado Pediatric Associates unchecked, it is no longer an option for the user within Site Selector.




Keep in mind that if  there is only one site assigned to a user, the user bypasses Site Selector even if  the Always Present Site Selector preference is set to Y.


The next new feature available within User Admin is the ability to add multiple licenses and ID’s previously not supported in earlier versions of Allscripts TouchWorks EHR.  The new Licenses/ID’s Section offers enhanced tools for defining provider licensing information, including support for multiple Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registrations.   When a provider has multiple DEA numbers, the application selects the correct DEA license for a controlled substance prescription based on the prescribing location (Site).

You can add multiple licenses and ID’s for users in specific states or sites, or for use at all sites as well.   These are  used for enrollment, prescription routing, prescription eligibility, and prescription history transactions.  Also be sure to enter applicable information for any users who enter orders for Physicians.  Clinical Quality Measures for Meaningful Use Stage 2 require that for an order to count towards an encounter provider’s computerized provider order entry (CPOE) measure, the user entering the order on behalf of the physician must be certified.


As always, be sure to test any new features and enhancements first to ensure they are working as designed and are appropriate for your organization.

To learn more about 11.4.1 features and enhancements,  be sure to visit for upcoming free public webcasts.

  • References
    Enhancement Supplement Prescriber, Site, and Pharmacy Setup Changes for Electronic Prescribing- Available on Client Connect
    Enhancement Supplement Assigned Sites- Available on Client Connect

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