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Curbside Consult with Dr. Jayne 5/9/11

May 9, 2011 Dr. Jayne 3 Comments

My large healthcare system, like many, is in the business of doing everything possible to make friends with independent physician practices. The average primary care physician drives several million dollars in ancillary revenues each year, so we can’t afford not to.

Our system offers discounted access to our EHR product for affiliated physicians. Although we have quite a few takers, many are still skeptical. After all, they’re independent for a reason. If they really wanted to buddy up, they would have been purchased long ago.

In a continuing effort to woo these last few holdouts, I was tasked with checking out some of the resources available to independent physicians seeking an EHR or practice management systems. Since Inga mentioned the new MGMA/AMA effort to create an online directory of practice management systems that are compliant with the 5010 standard, I decided to check it out.

I must have spent too much time with adolescent relatives over Mother’s Day, because my response to the directory is “lame, lame, lame.”

The directory lists only 20 vendors. Some of them aren’t even software companies – one lists its product as “Consulting and Implementation of several PM/EMR”s” [typo on parentheses left in on purpose.] As an AMA and MGMA member, I was embarrassed by this document. Version numbers included “n/a” and “current”, which I found hysterical.

Really? If this data would have been gathered by my intern, I would have sent him back to his cube in shame. They have a link on the page that if you don’t see your vendor, you should e-mail and they will ask the vendor to participate. Does neither the AMA nor the MGMA have the ability to identify the top 100 vendors and survey them to create a useful guide?

Now mind you, none of the vendors I use are on the current directory, so I can’t verify the accuracy of the listings. But in checking out a couple of the individual detailed profiles, I learned the following:

  • Cerner PowerWorks PM has 250 customers and doesn’t support Microsoft .NET, does not use a “modern and widely supported relational database for the underlying data structure,” and the database is not ODBC compliant. Kind of a surprise.
  • Ingenix CareTracker has one box checked that the “modern and widely supported relational database” is standard. Another is checked that says “does not provide.”
  • MCA Systems CodeHERO product was about to get a “best product name” prize until I noticed it “does not provide” the following: appointment scheduling, resource scheduling, claims generation on the CMS 1500 or UB 04, or ability to maintain payer lists including fee schedules. How exactly is this a practice management system?
  • Allscripts, GE, eClinical Works, NextGen, Sage, McKesson, and Athena are all missing in action on this list.

If I were a vendor not listed, I’d e-mail them at busdevelop@mgma.com and tell them to get with the program. If I were a listed vendor, I’d certainly double check my data and find out who in my organization submitted it, if it’s not accurate.

So what’s the point of all this? First, I always like to let Inga know I’m reading her material. HIStalk girlfriends have to stick together, you know? Second, whether I work for a monolithic organization or not, I’m still a small-practice physician by training and I care what happens to my friends in the trenches. Third, large organizations like MGMA and AMA who want to actually help said physicians in the trenches need to do better.

Do you have a better source of info for physicians who are shopping for a new PM system or want to verify that theirs will handle 5010? I still have to impress a hospital president with a fancy PowerPoint presentation. E-mail me.

E-mail Dr. Jayne.

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Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. We small-practice physicians still in the small trenches – girlfriends or boy – are with you on this, too, Dr. J. Nice “call ’em out” piece!

  2. Nice article once again. There is a proverb, ““Do not be in a hurry to tie what you cannot untie.” I think that is what is happening in the healthcare IT market today. In this new paradigm for healthcare providers ( who are challenged with the adoption of certified EMRs to reach MU stages i.e provided only 6 years to complete a 10 year plan.) and mushrooming Health IT vendor products (with widened up market opportunites facing now numerous challenges to come up with “best of breed” products offerings meeting ONC OTCB certification parameters as well attracting the healthcare providers(not just with lucrative offerings or features they used to lure the customers before). Not surprisingly this is what has to have happen. Now the question arises ” who is the real sufferer here ….???

  3. The AMA and MGMA appreciate feedback on the new Practice Management System Software Directory. The directory is in the initial stage and we are continually working with additional vendors to increase the number of practice management systems listed in the directory.

    This directory is not intended as a stand-alone resource. Rather, it is a supplementary resource to the AMA-MGMA toolkit for selecting a practice management system. The toolkit includes a comprehensive guide and checklist to help physician practices determine the features and functions they need in a practice management system. Physicians and their staff should use the toolkit and the directory together as a starting point in the process of selecting the most appropriate system for their practice. Visit http://www.ama-assn.org/go/pmsoftware to access the toolkit and directory.

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