October 28, 2014
Community hospitals are facing challenges related to care co-ordination, implementation of EHR and maintenance of security and privacy of PHI (patient health information). The requirements of Meaningful Use (MU) program have also introduced unique challenges for these hospitals. The management is finding it difficult to meet the rising health IT demands with limited human resources and finance. In order to avoid the penalties, community hospitals are being forced to make significant changes in the process and organization starting from 2015.
Industry Facts :
According to a study published in Health Affairs, adoption of HIT and EHR in rural hospitals across America is low compared to other hospitals
Meaningful Use has created unique challenges for small, rural hospitals, according to a Community Hospital Health IT survey
Non-compliance to Meaningful Use requirements will lead to penalties, starting from 2015
Challenges Posed by MU Requirements
Meaningful Use has brought a set of new responsibilities for community hospitals in terms of management, compliance and timeliness. For instance, Meaningful Use Stage 2 requires hospitals to implement the latest technologies such as secure messaging platforms and patient portals for communicating health information. Challenges have cropped up for hospitals as they have to achieve Meaningful Use while managing exchange and disclosure of PHI.
Community hospitals have a smaller IT department due to which the pressure on the staff to meet deadlines and implement HIT increases. In case of employee absenteeism or lack of skilled staff, hospitals will have to do a lot of work with fewer employees, less money and less time
Since community hospitals have a limited technology budget, the management cannot afford to make mistakes with HIT or EHR implementation. If hospitals don’t have a skilled executive who knows how to select an HIT software, it can slow down the hospital’s progression towards MU
If there is lack of trust among physicians and the clinical staff it can pose challenges in successful transition towards MU and HIT implementation. Therefore, it is vital for community hospitals to bring physicians and staff on the same platform for MU implementation procedures
IT expenses consume a significant part of the capital budget for community hospitals. Due to this, other important hospital projects get affected. Rural location makes it hard for such hospitals to recruit skilled IT professionals. Limited staff and funding is affecting their chances to achieve MU Stage 2 requirements such as Direct Messaging, and patient engagement has also posed problems for small community hospitals.
Community Hospitals Seeking Help from Billing Companies
Community hospitals need to start focusing on meeting Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements. Since they have limited time and money for conducting trial and error with EHR systems, MU attestation timeline gets limited.
MedicalBillersandCoders.com has been helping community hospitals across all the states in US overcome challenges related to MU and EHR implementation. MBC’s team of expert coders and billers are offering assistance to hospitals in choosing the right EHR, mapping process flow, identifying loopholes in administration and offering solutions for effective Meaningful Use implementation.
ACA / HIPAA / Reforms