"The transition entails changes to every computer system containing billing codes, more than 50 applications in many organizations, and extensive training of clinicians and coders alike," says Spooner.
The date for ICD-10 compliance has been pushed back to Oct. 1, 2014, but HIT companies are still struggling due to the costs and the processes that are involved with the changeover. Some providers are hesitant to move forward with an ICD-11 release looming in 2015. For example, the AMA called on Congress earlier this year to block the mandate.
5. Meaningful Use
Meaningful Use is a federal incentive program. Healthcare providers must meet certain requirements in in an effort to make better use of EHR. There are three stages: Stage 1 is currently ongoing;Stage 2 is set to start in 2014; and Stage 3 is set for 2016. The requirements include the following:
- Improving quality, safety, efficiency and reducing health disparities
- Engaging patients and families in their health care
- Improving care coordination
- Improving population and public health
- Maintaining privacy and security
In August, the federal government released the 672-page final requirements for Meaningful Use Stage 2, which included 17 core measures to be taken. In 2013, providers will be on the lookout for potential technological stumbling blocks that would prevent them from being compliant with Stage 2. "With the portal designated as a Stage 2, Meaningful Use requirement for incentive payments under the HITECH law, strong adoption will occur over the next two years," says Spooner.
HIT faces some tough challenges here, though, surrounding health information exchange, interoperability and a patient's ability to access their records via a patient portal. These were optional in Stage 1 but in Stage 2 they become mandatory. Combine that with proprietary nature of EHR software and HIPPA privacy regulations and it becomes clear how convoluted and complicated the entire process is going to be.
6. Patient Portals
People are using technology in more ways than they even realize, why shouldn't healthcare be the same? Patient portals are browser-based gateways though which healthcare providers can engage with patients using EHRs.
According to Meaningful Use requirements, Healthcare providers are tasked with building a system that allows patients to view, download and transmit patient data about a hospital stay within 36 hours. "With the requirement of HITECH act saying that a percentage of patients must use a portal, organizations are going to have to really get on the move when it comes to patient portals," says Hobbs.