The time for an EHR is now!
While no one knows yet all the details of the changes coming to New York State in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, the Stimulus Bill, and New York State’s Medicaid Redesign Team, there are things we do know now:
- There is no statewide, mandated information system coming. Not now, not in the foreseeable future.
- No matter what the details are, you will be required to have some kind of electronic record of your clinical work, because interoperability – the exchange of clinical information with other systems – will be required.
- The longer you wait to adopt an EHR, the more difficult it will be when you finally do so, and the less time you will have to complete your search and implementation.
The following information can be found on the DOH website:
Q: Will there be a New York State mandated system?
A: No. There is no common system in New York. There are, however, several sets of standards that are being perpetuated by New York State (SHIN-NY) and the Federal government (Meaningful Use). Additionally, there are standards for interoperability that each RHIO has established for itself. Foothold is a recognized leader in data interoperability in New York State, with more clients exchanging more data files with the State’s Medicaid system, OASAS’s CDS, OMH’s PCS, etc.
Q: Do I need an EHR?
A: Yes. Electronic documentation is becoming critical to any agency’s survival. Changes to the State’s Medicaid program, the existence of Federal incentive dollars to adopt an EHR, and the Health Home interoperability requirements will all conspire to make an EHR effectively mandatory. No State authority will ever tell you to purchase an EHR, but over time, you will find yourself unable to access Federal dollars to purchase one (the incentive program is phasing out in 2015), unable to participate in Health Homes (requires HL7 or Direct Protocol-compatible data files), unable to access HEAL 17 monies (requires interoperability), and so on.
Q: Is funding available to purchase an EHR?
A: Yes, as of now. In fact, you don’t even have to start using the EHR to receive the funding. Through the “Adopt, Implement and Upgrade” criteria, all you need is an Eligible Professional on staff and a contract with a certified EHR such as Foothold’s AWARDS software.
Q: Is certification required?
A: Yes, in order to take advantage of funding available from the Federal Government, certification by an ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB) is required. Foothold’s AWARDS is certified by The Drummond Group.