An electronic health record (EHR) is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart. EHRs are real-time, patient-centered records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users.
According to the Medical Records Institute, five levels of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) can be distinguished:
- The Automated Medical Record is a paper-based record with some computer-generated documents.
- The Computerized Medical Record (CMR) makes the documents of level 1 electronically available.
- The Electronic Health Record (EMR) restructures and optimizes the documents of the previous levels, ensuring inter-operability of all documentation systems.
- The Electronic Patient Record (EPR) is a patient-centered record with information from multiple institutions.
- The Electronic Health Record (EHR) adds general health-related information to the EPR that is not necessarily related to a disease.
Why Electronic Health Records EHR/EMR?
- Immediate access to patient records at any given location
- Secure storage of referrals, messages, and clinical data
- Accurate and complete claims processing by insurance companies
- Clinical decision support tools at the point of care
- Complete flexibility and customization to support diverse practices and workflows
- Paperless charts
- Integration with all major information systems
- Patient population management
- Facilitation of HIPAA compliance
- Unparalleled implementation experience and user community
- Electronic Prescriptions
- Built in automated checks for drug and allergy interactions
- Sending and viewing lab information
EMR vs EHR: There can be some confusion about the difference between an EHR (electronic health records) software and an EMR (electronic medical records) software; in fact, EHRs and EMRs refer to the same thing and have often been used interchangeably.
But the term “electronic health records” such as Aprima has been referenced far more frequently, probably due in part to its use by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and other organizations such as ONC (the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information). Starting in the year 2010, the CMS refers to the “meaningful use of an EHR,” and the ONC has clearly stated they use “EHR” and “electronic health records” almost exclusively, explaining “the word “health” covers more options than “medical”.
The Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs provide financial incentives for the meaningful use of certified EHR (aka EMR) technology to ensure HIPAA compliance. To receive an EHR incentive payment, providers must show that they are meaningfully using their EHRs by meeting standards for a number of objectives. The EHR Incentive Programs are phased at three levels with increasing requirements.
Those professionals who are eligible participate in the program on the calendar year, and providers must uphold to demonstrating meaningful use every year to receive an incentive, and avoid Medicare penalties.
There is an extremely important deadline coming up for Meaningful Use in 2016 for Core Objective #10 – Public Health Reporting.
EVERY provider attesting to MU in 2016 must attest to (2) Public Health Objectives. The options are (1) Immunizations State Reporting (2) Syndromic Surveillance Reporting and (3) Clinical Data Registry Reporting. Providers MUST be registered and actively engaged with the registry by FEBRUARY 29th, 2016. If they are not, they will NOT be able to attest to Meaningful Use for the reporting year of 2016.
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