Software developer Drchrono has upgraded its electronic health record platform for the Apple iPhone and iPad with a Meaningful Use Assistant tool to allow doctors to get incentives from the federal government for implementing EHRs.
Drchrono introduced the Meaningful Use Assistant feature for its platform on Sept. 27. The EHR application is designed for small and midsize practices.
Health care organizations face a deadline of Oct. 3 to satisfy meaningful use requirements on EHRs to get their first payment. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule on Stage 2 of the meaningful use program on Aug. 23.
Doctors' practices and hospitals must begin a 90-day meaningful-use reporting period by Oct. 3 to get the full payment of $44,000 over the next few years.
Providers must satisfy 15 core requirements and five of 10 menu sets for their EHR application to qualify for incentives. If they fail to meet these requirements, doctors won't receive reimbursement for the first year.
Drchrono's Meaningful Use Assistant consists of an extra button added to the EHR application to allow doctors to check for qualification in real time during each patient appointment.
It checks doctors' records against the meaningful use requirements in real time to make sure providers have satisfied the rules.
"If they've missed anything, or they forgot to write something down, like whether a patient smokes or not, it will give an alert and checklist so they can fill in blanks without getting distracted from taking care of the patient," Michael Haverhals, director of physician outreach for Drchrono, told eWEEK.
Doctors can go through the automated process of attesting to requirements as they see patients.
"It's all automated so that doctors can focus on the patient and not paperwork," said Haverhals, noting that doctors can submit attestation automatically during an exam. "They don't have to go back and do the checklist in hindsight after the appointment," said Haverhals.
The meaningful use checklist validation tool includes items such as Record Vital Signs, e-Prescribing, Active Medication List, Drug Interaction Checks and Maintain Problem List.
"As the doctor does the diagnosis, everything is recorded within the meaningful use app," Haverhals explained." It basically keeps a running record of that within their database. It allows them to attest without any extra preparation."
In addition to announcing the Meaningful Use Assistant, Drchrono released results of a survey showing that using EHRs allows doctors to save 10 percent of their time per day and see up to five more patients daily.
EHRs have resulted in 75 percent more efficiency, according to the survey of 1,300 doctors across 1,000 small to midsize practices in the United States.
EHR adoption is expected to reach 80 percent of the health care market by 2016, according to a May 30 report by IDC Health Insights.
Although 20 percent of the respondents in the Drchrono survey said they used EHRs to receive financial incentives, most were focused on increasing productivity and efficiency for their practice, said Haverhals.
“The real measurement of success for EHRs should be about efficiency gains in doctors' time, so they can focus on seeing more patients and spend more time with them to ultimately raise the standard of care that is provided," Michael Nusimow, co-founder and CEO of Drchrono, said in a statement. "It shouldn't be about just billing more hours for the sake of increasing revenue."