August 7, 2012
Function – a specific role.
Functional – capable of performing.
Though those two terms may look the same, there is a world of difference in what they actually mean – especially when it comes to electronic health records (EHRs). I noticed this difference in particular when I compared this year’s EHR edition of the OPEN MINDS Management Newsletter to last year’s issue. Last year’s issue, the July 2011 edition, focused on the “how to” with EHRs (see EHRs In Behavioral Health Care: Tips & Tricks For Managing A Successful Implementation and How Are We Using Health IT? Making EHRs Meaningful For The Entire Health Care System ). This year’s issue, the August 2012 edition, is focused on optimizing your investment in EHR – and gaining both financial and competitive advantage.
The issue highlights three key points of leverage for organizations that have made the EHR investment:
The possibility of meaningful use dollars – For organizations with EHRs in place, one point of leverage is to take advantage of Meaningful Use dollars. In this issue, my colleague Lisette Wright, M.A., outlines some of the challenges to Meaningful Use dollars in her piece, Three Common Problems To Meaningfully Using Your EHR: Assessments, Audits & Functionality ). And, we look back at who is getting the meaningful use checks in Industry Watch: Stop Wasting Meaningful Use Dollars .
Positioning for collaborative care initiatives – One big benefit of having a functional EHR is the ability to use that functionality to expand to new markets. In this issue, three articles focus on the increasing demand for collaborative care and how EHR functionality can make organizations more competitive in this area. OPEN MINDS Senior Associate Larry Cesare writes about the evolving integration on primary and behavioral health in Integrated Primary Medical & Behavioral Care: A Work In Progress all members, Cheryl Holt covers the different types of integration partnerships in The Integration Initiative: Primary & Behavioral Health Care , and Mark Byers looks at the tech-enabled opportunities for improving collaborative care in Improving Behavioral & Medical Collaborative Care Through EHR Technology all members.
Platform for metrics-based management and performance improvement – Last but not least, EHRs are critical to addressing performance issues – both external performance measurement requirements (see Innovation Unleashed: Improved Services Through Technology ) and the management of organizational performance at every level. In my article, Your EHR Is Not A Filing Cabinet: Five Ways To Use Your EHR Data For Competitive Advantage all members, I outline the possibilities of getting performance leverage from your EHR investment.
We are still a few years away from national “big data” from our in-process Nationwide Health Information Network. But, most executives don’t need to wait for the national database – they have data in hand from their EHRs that can spell give them a competitive edge. As Robert Hughes once said, “A determined soul will do more with a monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop….”
For a more in-depth look at EHR implementation, join OPEN MINDS Senior Associate Joseph P. Naughton-Travers, Ed.M. for his expert strategy session, EHR From Plan To Reality: Best Practices In Vendor Selection, Contracting, & Implementation, on October 17 at The 2012 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute.
Monica E. Oss
Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS
For another free resource, see: Meaningful Use Stage 2 Update all members
This is free for the next sixty days to all registered OPEN MINDS Circle members.