Tips for Effective Workflow Evaluation and Meaningful Use Measures

The system is upgraded to Allscripts Enterprise EHRTM (AE-EHR) version 11.2.x- now what to do? Evaluation of current workflows and deciding on the Meaningful Use measures the organization will be using are the next steps. This article will cover some basic key concepts of Meaningful Use as it related to the application and processes as well as examples to provide the foundation to move forward and build. Ideally, obtaining a baseline of the workflows currently used today in each site/clinic prior to the upgrade itself is the recommended approach. This article will highlight at the end the recommended timeline and priority items to provide the best success of not only the upgrade but more importantly capturing meaningful use.

Step 1Evaluate current state workflows of each site and the role of the end user population

Even if the site recently went Live or had training- end users continuously find new ways to use the application. AE-EHR version 11 in general provides multiple ways to enter information and despite the best training and/or trainer, an end user may change their behavior over time.  Not only will a potential different workflow result in inaccurate testing of what is believed in the workflow; it may potentially allow for an area of missed training when moving to version 11.2. Here’s a great example, suppose clinical staff were not trained to enter problems, however over time the providers and office managers of a site have asked clinical staff to enter the problems for physicians. This would have an impact on training for meaningful use. Or, perhaps the staff is trained to enter smoking status on the social history but behavior has recently changed by the end users and they started capturing it in the comments field in vitals because the end user thought it would be quicker.

The best approach is to go to each site and evaluate each role on what they currently do in the application, as well as how they document in the application. This will allow the testing team to accurately test the role based workflows as well as train as appropriate on workflows. Once the current workflow is established then the foundation for configuration and re-training can begin.

Step 2Decide which of the Meaningful Use Measures will be used by the organization.

The 15 Core measures will be required by all eligible providers, however only 5 of the 10 menu sets are required.   Additionally, of the 44 Clinical Quality Measures, three of the Core or Alternate Core will need to be used and three of the remaining Clinical Measures will need to be decided upon in order to have a total of six Clinical Quality Measures.

This step can be quite a task depending on your organization. Here are some sample questions to ask:

  • Who will be the lead decision maker?
  • What teams need to be informed of the Meaningful Use objectives- Business Admin, Executive, Physician Core team?
  • Are there multiple teams that will make decisions on different aspects (clinical versus business versus administrative)?
  • Do those key decision makers know about Meaningful Use and if so at what level – high-level or detailed?
  • Will basic ARRA- Meaningful Use training be required?
  • How will government incentives be paid out (to the organization, to the physician, to the site)? This will be asked at meetings and better to be prepared when instituting workflow change.
  • What providers are eligible in the organization?
  • Will the eligible providers report for Medicare or Medicaid?
  • Who is responsible to enroll each provider with CMS?
  • Does an analysis of potential eligible providers need to be assessed to make the decision of MU reporting?
  • Does an analysis need to be done, and what patient population and/or diagnoses are seen by eligible providers to select the appropriate Clinical Quality Measures?
  • Will eligible providers have a choice on whether to participate in MU reporting or will it be decided by the organization?
  • Will each site, specialty, or provider select the measures (MENU and Clinical Quality Measures selections) or will it be directed from the organization?
  • Will there be a team dedicated for Meaningful Use?
  • Who will track the user’s behavior to ensure the necessary information is obtained?

These basic questions will allow the core Upgrade/Meaningful Use team to be prepared for configuration, workflow re-design, testing, and end user training. Each item can have a direct affect on one of the aspects of the upgrade/MU project. For example, if all eligible providers will be allowed to decide which measures they will select for reporting then the configuration team will need to configure to all CORE, MENU, and all 44 Clinical Quality Measures. In addition, if each provider selects their own measures ideally the training would be tailored around the measures for that eligible provider. Training all providers on all 44 Clinical Quality Measures or all 10 MENU items that may not pertain to that provider will not increase retention of the information and workflow change and likely decrease the MU reporting success.  Another example, from the above proposed questions is Medicaid provides a greater financial return if the measures are met however what if no one meets the necessary 30% of patients? Does it make sense as an organization to increase an eligible provider’s percentage of Medicaid patients to capture the higher value and if so who makes this decision and how does the front office staff know to direct more new patients of a certain insurance to a certain provider?

Step 3Workflow Redesign for Meaningful Use

Once the system is configured and reviewed by the implementation consultant during the upgrade process, the workflows will need to be re-designed to meet the Meaningful Use Measures to guarantee success! A workflow is not just the use of the application but also the process in place for monitoring the Meaningful Use within the organization. At this point, the system has been configured by the organization configuration team (system analyst) based on Steps 1 and 2.  However, unless the users actually change behavior Meaningful Use will not count. Here are some examples below that will need to be considered based primarily on the CORE, MENU and Clinical Quality Measures.

  • CORE EXAMPLE:  Suppose that currently the organization doesn’t allow clinical staff to enter and/or update problems or medications on patients, however the providers have not been keeping these lists up to date. Will the organization allow the clinical staff to begin to perform these tasks? Does configuration need to change to allow for retrospective/prospective authorization? Does enable verification of problems need to be added? Do clinical staff need to be trained how to do this item?

Remember there are many new alerts for Meaningful Use however everything doesn’t have an alert and likewise an end user can ignore an alert.

  • MENU EXAMPLE:  Providing a Summary of Care Record to the patient and Patient Education. First, who will be responsible for providing the Summary of Care Record- clinical staff or providers? Will the Clinical Summary provided by Allscripts be used or will it print out from the v10 or v11 note? If the patient is a portal patient and you don’t want to provide a Clinical Summary or a non-portal patient how will the provider state if no Clinical Summary is to be provided? What/Who/How is the workflow to be defined, tested, and trained? Regarding Patient Education, will there be a standard developed if not already implemented such as every new medication prescribed by the provider the patient will receive the Drug Ed for that medication? How will the patient instructions be populated and printed?
  • Clinical Quality Measure EXAMPLE:  Adult Weight Screening and Follow Up- many sites may already obtain the patient weight today and this may appear as an easy Clinical Quality Measure to capture. However, there are a couple of items to consider, by adding a free text box for comments to document if a patient denied obtaining their weight and if used would count for Meaningful Use. Is this configured already and/or do end users know to enter this information to count for Meaningful Use? In addition, to meet this measure the BMI of the patient needs to be evaluated and based on the patient’s age and BMI an additional workflow must be completed. Part of that measure states if the BMI is greater than 25kg/m2 a follow up plan must be in place. What will that plan be if not already used by an organization/site/provider? Will there be a dietary consultation or a BMI Management Follow Up Order? Will the end user be able to select from any of the potential recordable actions: Dietary consult with the appropriate SNOMED or the BMI Management Follow Up order with the appropriate CPT code? Will the clinical staff perform this action at the time the vital is taken or will the provider be responsible for adding this item on the patient.


These are some examples of Meaningful Use and all the decisions, configurations, and workflow changes that could be affected. This article is not all inclusive, rather, it is intended to begin the process for the team to meet the Meaningful Use objectives.  For more information visit our website, or contact us below:

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