Participation in Meaningful Use has become more important than ever for radiologists that hope to stay ahead and efficiently address increasing demands from their referring physicians attempting to meet their own Meaningful Use objectives. Also, comprehending Meaningful Use regulations on incentive payments and penalties is a key for success now and for years to come.
1. Satisfying Referring Physicians is the Name of the Game
Pressed by looming penalties for non-participation, referring physicians will be forced to implement Meaningful Use Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT). They will also be required to attest to a high level of utilization of this technology, or risk losing out on incentive money and getting hit with penalties. The name of the game for radiologists has always been to keep referring physicians happy and Meaningful Use is at the core of addressing their needs. Radiologists must be equipped with CEHRT that can handle the electronic orders that referrers will be delivering. They must be prepared to receive and incorporate the Summary of Care record that referrers are required to provide. Finally, radiologists must have a simple way of delivering radiology reports back into the referrers’ EHR with a link to associated images.
2. Meaningful Use is Driving Workflow Efficiency
Real workflow efficiencies are being driven by Meaningful Use and radiologists need it now more than ever. Features that help staff do more in less time can reduce the number of full and part-time employees needed to run the radiology practice. Examples of such features are tools to receive electronic referrals and patient summaries and automatically reconcile this information into the appropriate patient record, eliminating the need for manual entry and scanning of paperwork. Also important is the ability to automatically send patient reminders via e-mail or text for preventative and follow-up care, cutting down the number of phone calls from clerical staff to patients. Radiologists must not stop at the minimum requirements of Meaningful Use when considering adjustments to their workflow, but instead look to maximize ROI for their CEHRT by implementing creative ways to improve their workflow efficiency
with their new technology.
3. What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You
Before a game can be mastered, one must first understand the rules. Millions of dollars have already been missed out due to a lack of awareness and action on the part of many radiologists nationwide. Although incentive payments for the Medicare incentive program are coming to an end, $63,750 per radiologist of incentive payments are still on the table through 2016 under the Medicaid incentive program. CMS has revealed that certain specialties (diagnostic and interventional radiology included) are exempt from the 2015 Medicare payment penalties, which comes as a major relief to those radiologists that have yet to take the plunge. These hardship exemptions are expected to cover radiologists until at least 2020.