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Utah Practice Able to Meet Meaningful Use Requirements with Help from the REC

Paige Fieldsted, Sr. Communications Specialist, HealthInsight Utah

After waiting nearly two years for providers to be eligible for meaningful use, Alpine Pediatrics, had to work quickly to meet the reporting requirements for Stage 1 in 2014. This included getting a patient portal up and running, using their electronic health record (EHR) to e-prescribe and capturing crucial data, all in just a few short months.

Wendy Monson, billing office manager for the four-office practice, said that in the Summer of 2014 they realized they had a number of providers that qualified for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program (meaningful use) and wanted to take the opportunity to earn incentive money to offset the cost of their EHR system.

Ryan Brown, project manager at HealthInsight Utah, said the staff at Alpine Pediatrics worked together to implement a series of changes and systems to meet meaningful use requirements.

"They got together and worked quickly to adapt processes" Brown said. "They formed an implementation team, transitioned to e-prescribe and set up a patient portal without a dip in productivity."

Monson says that getting their patient portal up and running was one of their biggest challenges . In a short amount of time Alpine Pediatrics was able to go from having no patient portal to having a patient portal that is used by more than 50 percent of their patients.

"That was one of our biggest accomplisments, rolling out the portal and getting employees sold on it and getting patients willing to try it out," Monson said. "A lot of it was education and helping staff understand what would be available to patients and how implementing this now is setting the pathway for future changes that will be occurring in our practice."

Monson said they are still learning a lot about their patient portal and are working harder than ever to get patients enrolled to use the portal.

"We are beginning to see them request appointments and have seen some payments come through the portal. It is still in its early stages, it is still growing with us," Monson said. "Our goal through this year is to continue to work with patients to finish the enrollment process and have them start using the many features that are available on the portal."

Monson said attesting for meaningful use has also helped the practice make better use of their EHR and be more organized. Alpine Pediatrics is now using e-prescribe, tracking allergies and medications, and using the EHR to provide a patient summary of each visit.

"They did a lot of work in a short amount of time, all of the providers reached meaningful use," Brown said. "That was a really big success, they made up more ground in three months working with HealthInsight than they they would have on their own, and they got paid for it."

Monson said that working with someone like Brown, who understands meangingful use and the requirements needed for the program made their process much easier.

"He wanted to help our clinic meet these criteria. He was very encouraging and helped us understand it would all work out in the end," Monson said of Brown. "I have friends in other practices who haven't used HealthInsight and it is just a lot of information to process on their own. Working with someone that knows what they are doing is key."