NorthCrest Medical Center, a 109-bed not-for-profit community hospital that is one of the nation's top performers on key quality measures, recently became the first hospital in Tennessee and the nation to use an Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) to qualify for Medicaid incentive payments under the federal HITECH Act.
The 2009 law incentivizes hospitals and physicians who demonstrate "meaningful use" of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) – technology designed to improve patient safety and lower overall health costs. NorthCrest has reached this milestone within Medicaid guidelines and expects to meet the more stringent Medicare requirements for demonstrating "meaningful use" prior to 2012.
NorthCrest is taking an alternative approach by using its EDIS from Allscripts (Nasdaq: MDRX) rather than their full inpatient EHR to meet the government's requirements. The Allscripts ED 7.0 solution is the only EDIS certified for use under HITECH as a "complete EHR."
"By using our ED system to attest to meaningful use we were able to achieve compliance with the Medicaid rule very quickly and with virtually no changes in either the technology or our processes," said Randy Davis, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of NorthCrest. "We were already in the high 90th percentile in compliance with meaningful use Stage 1 requirements without changing a thing, which is a testament to the high quality of the care we provide patients."
In September, NorthCrest, which has used Allscripts ED since 2001, was named one of the nation's top performers on key quality measures by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in America. NorthCrest was recognized by The Joint Commission based on data reported about evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to improve care for certain conditions, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care and children's asthma.
National Model for Cost-Effective Certification of Meaningful Use Under the HITECH rules from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), hospitals have the option of demonstrating ‘meaningful use' with information drawn from a system more commonly used as an EDIS instead of their inpatient system, as long as the EDIS is certified as a Complete EHR. As an ONC-ATCB 2011/12 certified Complete EHR, Allscripts ED 7.0 provides an alternative to a full acute care EHR for hospitals wishing to demonstrate ‘meaningful use' under the law, according to Davis.
Allscripts ED also is certified as an ONC-ATCB "Modular EHR," meaning hospitals can use an inpatient EHR and the EDIS in tandem to demonstrate Meaningful Use, if they wish.
NorthCrest plans to use the EDIS's health information exchange capabilities to enable ED physicians to exchange patient information electronically with community physician offices. The process will help ensure that NorthCrest's patients receive effective care from better-informed caregivers both in the Emergency Department and in the offices of downstream physicians.
While community physicians will be able to participate in the program regardless of which EHR they use, all 30-plus providers in NorthCrest Physician Services currently use Allscripts Professional EHR to automate everyday clinical tasks and connect them to each other and to the latest patient information. Another seven physicians affiliated with the medical center also use the Allscripts EHR. Davis hopes eventually the majority of the regional physicians who refer patients to NorthCrest to deploy the Allscripts solution under a subsidy program supported by the medical center.
About NorthCrest Medical Center
NorthCrest Medical Center, a not-for-profit community hospital, has been providing compassionate, quality healthcare since 1956. With a mission of enhancing community and patient wellness, NorthCrest provides inpatient, outpatient, and emergency medical services to Northern Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky.
NorthCrest Medical Center was recently recognized by The Joint Commission as a top performer on key quality measures and was named an exemplar hospital by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. For more information, visit www.northcrest.com.
SOURCE: NorthCrest Medical Center