If you have not yet decided what to do about an EHR System and are concerned about the looming October 3rd Deadline you’ve got two choices: Either seriously rush to get an approved EHR product in place by October 3rd, 2011, or do nothing and just wait.
If you decide to rush there is still time to get something in place, if you hurry, and if you’re willing to consider a SaaS (software as a service) solution. Those solutions can often times be up and running quickly. Remember, the “reporting period for the first year is any 90 continuous days during the calendar year.” Meaning you need to have something in place that can be used during that 90-day period. Practice Fusion is free and you can be using it the same day you set it up. Amazing Charts, a sponsor of this site, is not free, but has a very straightforward and reasonable pricing structure. It has also won multiple awards for usability. You can set up a 90 day free trial of Amazing Charts from their website.
If you want to consider multiple products that can help you to achieve Meaningful Use this year try an advisory firm like Software Advice. They have experience with scores of different products and have dealt with a large variety of practices, some of which are probably just like yours. Visit the Software Advice site for more information. There is no cost for their service or advice. They get paid from the vendor if they’re able to suggest the right product for your practice.
There are a number of certified SaaS EHR products out there that could work for you, if you still want to get started this year.
But what if you want to wait? Is that possible, and if so is there a penalty?
Yes, it is possible to wait and no there is no penalty, at least in terms of the incentive payments you’ll receive.
If you intend to register as a Medicare provider you can go through the 90 days of continuous use in 2012 and receive the same total amount of money that you would have received if you had rushed through and become a meaningful user this year. However, you obviously won’t begin receiving the meaningful use money until about eight weeks after you attest to meaningful use. Rather than rushing, you could spend the next few months deciding on a product and get started early in 2012.
If you intend to register as a Medicaid provider for meaningful use purposes the deadline is pushed even further back. The last year to begin participation in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program is 2016. So, if that’s the direction you plan to take you’ve still got plenty of time.