EHR Analytics: Your Golden Ticket to Meaningful Use

How can EHR analytics help practices achieve and prove meaningful use? It’s an important question, and if your practice is working hard to transition to EHR or ramp up your EHR use, it may be overlooked amidst the chaos. Collecting and sharing that data is an important piece of the CMS Meaningful Use puzzle.

If you’ve been sheltered within your practice from the outside world, away from meaningful use discussions, get over to the CMS website. CMS provides a tip sheet that includes the core and menu objectives practices are expected to meet. Here are a couple points of interest to EHR analytics:

  • “Record smoking status for patients 13 years old and above”
  • “Generate list of patients by specific conditions”
  • “Identify and report cancer cases to a State cancer registry”
  • “Identify and report specific cases to a specialized registry”

You should recall that one of the main goals of meaningful use was to make health data easily reportable to improve health outcomes both nationwide and worldwide. Collecting data tends to come with a cost (labor, surveys, etc), but EHRs allow providers to collect information seamlessly. Data collection becomes a daily effort concerted by each member of the staff involved in the patient record.

So, what makes EHR analytics your practice’s golden ticket to meaningful use? You should already collect copious amounts of data daily. That data is arranged and calculated within EHR analytics. EHR analytics provides clinical data, which can be reported by demographics or for all patients seen at the practice, which can lead to increased quality of care and better health-reporting data and treatment records can help the overall health of the country.

As mentioned above, some of the objectives expected by Meaningful Use 2 required providers to share data about different groups of patients. Using EHR analytics simplifies requirements, asking practices to report on smoking status and specific conditions: Just as I can run a report on the back-end for all open A/R, including CPT specifics, a good EHR system allows the front-end to run reports for specific fields including diagnosis, smoking status, etc. Without an EHR, practices would need to have good filing and organizational habits-spectacular paper records or Excel sheets come to mind. Being able to run analytics to find all cases of X, Y, or Z cancer makes it easier to report and meet CMS’s meaningful use guidelines. However, with Meaningful Use Stage 3 just over the horizon, practices need to consider these regulations as well.

Recommended Reading: EHR Vendor Guide - Find EHR vendors conscious of Meaningful Use Stages

Recently, the Meaningful Use 3 proposals were released. The proposals include the following expectations for providers:

  • Sending patient-generated data including risk assessments and questionnaires (remember that smoking status requirement?)
  • Collecting immunization history
  • Submitting syndrome data to public health agencies
  • Using reports to determine what patients need to be reminded to have follow-up care or preventive care.

If providers appropriately use the data capabilities of their EHR, including the analytics to run reports, they should meet this requirement, which is needed to pass data from the provider to another provider or a facility. Data analytics makes it easier for practices to easily meet meaningful use, especially if practices utilize the reporting features in the system. Let your EHRs work to their full potential and collect the data expected by CMS.

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Samantha Williams

About the author…

Samantha Williams’ EHR expertise stems from three years of medical billing for a large physician practice in New York City. She trains new hires to use a medical billing and EHR system and writes appeals for denied neurosurgical procedures, resulting in additional insurance payment.

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Samantha Williams