With 2012 nearly complete, many physicians are looking to 2013 and beyond, wondering if it’s too late to adopt an EHR and still receive impactful incentives from the MU program.
It’s not too late to begin, according to Mawhinney.
“Even though the 2012 attestation window has passed, there’s still $39,000 on the table for Medicare eligible providers who attest for the first time in 2013. That’s a pretty significant amount of money,” she said.
In fact, since the program’s inception in 2011, CMS has paid over $21.9 million to 1,227 nephrologists as part of the Medicare EHR Incentive Program.
Can we observe other physicians using the EHR?
Beyond checking references, ask to see how another nephrologist uses the EHR you are considering in his or her day-to-day activities. A peer-to-peer demonstration of the software can be one of the best ways to understand how the EHR operates in real scenarios before you sign a contract.
Kristin Ashcraft, director of client services for Falcon, highly recommends this tactic. Ashcraft oversees all customer support and training for Falcon EHR.
“You need to have a user on the service do a demo or answer questions. Not an employee of the EHR—someone who is literally using the EHR every day in their practice to see patients and who can show how it’s used,” she said. “Seeing another nephrologist on the system helps the technology come alive.”
What type of support will we receive after we go live?
Another important element to consider during the sales process is the service that you receive once the sales process is over. Remember, you are building a long-term relationship with an EHR vendor that will support you for many years to come.
“Understand if you’re well-supported not just in the initial training process, but every day after that when you’re seeing patients,” Ashcraft said. “Ask how often new releases of the software are available, how these releases are communicated, and what training is provided for these new versions or features.”
Additionally, if you are not considering a nephrology-specific EHR, make sure that your vendor’s support center or help desk understands nephrology vernacular and can easily address your concerns.