PurdueREC meets its federal grant milestones for Meaningful UseTuesday, June 30, 2015
Nearly six years ago, the HITECH Act was passed to encourage healthcare providers to implement electronic health records (EHRs) and meet certain metrics to mark the meaningful use of their EHRs. Regional Extension Centers (RECs), of which Purdue is one, were established across the country in 2010 to assist providers in making the transition away from paper charts and non-certified EHRs.
The PurdueREC, managed by Purdue Healthcare Advisors, was charged with bringing 2,200 eligible providers and 30 critical access hospitals to Meaningful Use (MU) compliance. That goal was achieved on time in May (as of June 30, 2,213 Indiana providers have successfully attested with PurdueREC assistance), but not without significant effort from both the PHA staff and the providers they strived to assist.
Challenges included matching clients with the right software vendors; helping clinic and hospital staff to overcome computer-skill deficiencies; and providing ongoing educational sessions to help clients better understand the sometimes ambiguous rules of federal law.
“We were able to positively impact, in a relatively short amount of time, an industry that had managed to avoid electronic records until recently,” said Randy Hountz, director of PHA and the PurdueREC. “Today, the small providers who were initially resistant to EHRs now want them to be even more robust and user friendly. They are beginning to see how the enhanced functionality of EHRs can help both their practices and their patients.”
The following remarks from providers were among the direct feedback PHA received as the grant period drew to a close:
- This was money well spent for our practice and we cannot thank you enough for offering such a wonderful program!
- [PHA Project Manager] was a fabulous person to work with as she is extremely knowledgeable with the regs, has fantastic follow-up and is a model Project Manager. She is an invaluable resource to your organization.
- I don't believe that the providers understand just how indispensible the Purdue support has been. Our software and hardware vendors let us down in several ways, and Purdue was there to get us back on track. I don't know how anyone accomplishes conquering the MU maze without Purdue's help!
- I worked with [PHA Project Manager], I can say that she was very helpful with the MU project. Whatever question that I had she was able to provide an answer for me or direct me in the right path to be able to get the answer to my questions.
The healthcare landscape will continue to change as the payment models shift from quantity- to quality-based reimbursement. Hountz says being able to share data with patients and among providers through sophisticated, secure systems as well as being able to implement enhanced population health management techniques will position these practices for future success.
Writer: Jeanine Parsch, 765-496-7583, firstname.lastname@example.org