5 important considerations for orthopedic surgeons selecting EHRs

Written by Anuja Vaidya | March 24, 2016 | Print  |

Improving patient outcomes is the cornerstone of value-based care. Increasingly, healthcare providers are looking to electronic health record and software solutions to document that improvement and ensure that their practices and facilities continue to thrive.

"Physicians in the future will be paid based on how they perform in comparison with their peers, in terms of quality and cost," says Michael Sherling, MD, MBA, CMO and co-founder, Modernizing Medicine, a health information technology company specializing in the surgical market. Modernizing Medicine's recently enhanced product modmed Orthopedics is geared towards orthopedic surgeons and their practice. modmed Orthopedics is a full software suite and includes modmed EMA (the flagship EHR platform), modmed PM and modmed RCM.


Here are five important considerations for orthopedic surgeons when looking for an EHR and practice management solution:


1. Accessibility. Orthopedic surgeons, more so than most other specialists, move around a great deal. "They meet with patients, go see the patients' X-rays, go back to meet with the patients. They need a solution that allows them to document on-the-go," notes Dr. Sherling. An iPad solution that is mobile and cloud-based is the most convenient. For example, modmed Orthopedics is available as a mobile iPad solution, accessible in the cloud and hence, can be accessed from anywhere.


2. Multi-functionality. "Historically, orthopedic surgeons practice together in bigger practices and groups and their needs are changing," says Dr. Sherling. They may be using an inefficient system or one that doesn't allow for specific documentation within subspecialties, such as sports medicine, total joint procedures and hand, wrist, foot or ankle surgeries.


3. Proficiency in clinical documentation. Under CMS' Merit-Based Incentive Payment System physician practices will be given a score from 0 to 100 based on four criteria, one of which is clinical quality documentation. The practices will be graded on a curve. The score each practice receives will determine whether the practice will get incentives or will be penalized. Payment adjustments will be doled out in 2019, based on performance in 2017.


"It will be hard to capture clinical quality if your EHR isn't up to scratch," says Dr. Sherling. "Practices that use advanced technology solutions will be able to know where they stand on that curve before the year-end whereas other practices won't. We can provide real-time benchmarking on quality and cost."


4. Ease-of-use. Solutions that are visual as well as intuitive and offer resources such as built-in dictation can help improve practice efficiency. For example, Dr. Sherling says that modmed Orthopedics automates ICD-10 coding for orthopedic surgeons, as orthopedics has more ICD-10 codes than other specialties.


5. Interoperability. Perhaps one of the most significant issues in health IT is interoperability. A number of organizations have taken up the interoperability issue. CommonWell Health Alliance, for example, is working to create and execute a vendor-neutral platform. Modernizing Medicine is a CommonWell contributor member, allowing surgeons to access patients' health information stored on different EHR systems.


"Modernizing Medicine is different. It is software as a service," says Dr. Sherling. "Next, we are looking to release our analytics platform and we are also working on a mobile patient portal that will help orthopedists automate data entry. We have one now but we want something a little more next generation."


More articles on practice management:
What will clinics look like in the future? 5 insights
5 ways to make physician practice workflow smoother
5 things to know about the ACA's future on its 6-year anniversary

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