“EHR adoption and meaningful use have big implications for nephrologists,” said Kent Thiry, CEO of DaVita. “Technology and dialysis services are now more intertwined than ever before.”
Rishi’s practice is learning this first hand.
“We just started taking the EHR in to the dialysis centers,” Rishi said. “We started with office visits first, just to make sure that everyone was comfortable in that setting before making the jump to dialysis centers.”
For Dr. Sunit Kabaria’s nephrology practice, the most important feature in their EHR system was something unexpected: the ease in, in which they could maintain relationships with their referring providers. Kabaria, who is also a Falcon EHR user and a DaVita medical director, works in a New
Jersey-based practice of four nephrologists.
“Before we started using the EHR, only 15 or 20 percent of patients that we saw got documents sent back to the referring physician. The current system makes it so that we can get the referral [letter] faxed out the same day that the patient is seen. [The referral letter] wasn’t part of our initial focus, but it’s been one of the best parts of the EHR,” Kabaria said. “My advice to other nephrologists would be to pay attention to these details when prioritizing what you want in an EHR,” he said.
“We’ve learned over the last year and half of using an EHR that these smaller things, like the referral letter, have made the biggest impact on our day-to-day business.”
When do we want to attest for MU?
Set a date for when your practice would like to begin the 90-day attestation period for MU, and work back from this date. Make sure to allow plenty of time in between your go-live date and the beginning of your attestation window for your practice to adjust to the EHR workflow.
Rishi’s practice wanted to start attesting in September of 2012, which is why they targeted a July 2012 go-live date.
“We wanted to give ourselves a month or two to work out any glitches and get the staff comfortable with using the new system,” he said. Rishi’s practice also allowed time for a MU “trial run.” “Having done the research, we set up a two-week meaningful use trial, just to see how we were doing. Not all of the physicians in our group were aware of the meaningful use requirements, so I wanted to make sure that everyone was on the same page and that we would all be able to meet the objectives easily,” he said.