EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J., June 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- University Radiology Group, New Jersey's largest provider of subspecialty radiology and teleradiology services, following a successful 90-day attestation has become among the first radiology practices to receive a Government-issued incentive payment for achieving Stage 1 meaningful use goals and objectives under The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for Health Information Technology.
University Radiology is a long-time user of MedInformatix Inc.'s Radiology Information System (RIS), which offers an Electronic Health Records (EHR) component that facilitates and enables practices to meet Stage 1 meaningful use requirements, focused largely on electronic data capture. The vendor's RIS/EHR is U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of National Coordinator (ONC)-certified as a Complete EHR rather than a modular system. Practices that implemented certified technology by January 2012 will receive payments of as much as $44,000 per provider over five years.
University Radiology employs 95 Board Certified Radiologists and additional personnel staffing, managing, and providing final subspecialty interpretations and consultative support for hospitals, imaging centers and other medical facilities. The practice on Dec. 15, 2011 received an electronic funds transfer of $1.13 million weeks after the completion of its 90-day attestation, which began Aug. 1. Stage 1 meaningful use attestation is a two-part process that takes place over two years, the first part covering this initial 90-day period with the second measuring a practice's ability to capture sensitive patient data over an entire year.
The ARRA for Health Information Technology requires providers to capture and make information including patients' smoking habits, vaccination histories, and allergies readily available across the radiology practice. Meaningful use's intent, which University Radiology and MedInformatix support, is to leverage every bit of patient information to help medical professionals make the best-possible healthcare decisions.
Nearly $1.5 billion of Government-incentive payments are available for U.S. diagnostic imaging professionals achieving meaningful use before 2015, according to radiologymu.org. Presently, to achieve the highest incentive payments, practices must meet Stage 1 requirements by October 1, 2012. As of February 2012, radiologymu.org noted that 125 out of approximately 30,000 U.S. radiologists had met meaningful use criteria by Jan. 1 and had received Government incentive payments.
University Radiology Group, through its numerous relationships with medical institutions across New Jersey, and MedInformatix, by virtue of its RIS/EHR, together account for approximately 60 percent of the radiologists that have so far received these payments, believes Alberto Goldszal, University Radiology's Chief Information Officer.
"Despite the substantial financial incentives that meaningful use certification affords, implementation accounts for only the first half of the equation," Goldszal said. "This first step should not be taken in a vacuum without ensuring that everybody in the practice from the office staff, assistants, nurses and physicians, is on-board and comfortable with the technology. There is a huge difference between implementation and the actual strategic adoption of meaningful use in which full organizational commitment is a must," Goldszal said. "Without complete buy-in, and the help of a vendor like MedInformatix, practices can become paralyzed by not knowing how to design an efficient workflow to capture patient data and how to make use of this data to the fullest extent."
MedInformatix RIS serves as a gateway to patient information through the management of patients' electronic health records including images, lab results and medical notes, among other data. Over the years, the system has evolved from a standalone practice management system to a powerful, meaningful use-compliant EHR system that addresses radiology practices' unique and broad-based medical record-related requirements.
The vendor, working with University Radiology's Goldszal, is putting the final touches on a meaningful use implementation guide designed to help MedInformatix clients achieve Stage 1 meaningful use criteria to reap the greatest possible Government financial incentives, as well as to inspire them to use the technology to its fullest extent for business success and improved patient outcomes.
Practices that wait to implement Stage 1 meaningful use technology until next year or 2014 will receive smaller financial incentives, while those that fail to comply with meaningful use provisions by 2015 face financial penalties of up to 5 percent in the form of CMS reimbursement reductions. "A major goal is to avoid being penalized for non-adoption," Goldszal said. "There are no gray areas; all practices are required to meet these requirements.
"Apart from meaningful use certification, a modern RIS like MedInformatix can help a radiology practice to contain costs while improving the quality and efficiency of the clinical workflow," he said. "Radiology practices have nothing to gain by waiting. Those that do will be scrambling to meet the requirements and end up paying more as the result of lost financial incentives and possible penalties down the line."
MedInformatix, Inc. (www.medinformatix.com) is a leading national provider of fully integrated Electronic Health Records. The products have been built around MedInformatix's 25 years of workflow expertise. MedInformatix's suite of products is designed on a single database using Microsoft SQL. Whether the client is a single physician who went live in 1994, a 13-location cardiology practice, the busiest radiology practice in Manhattan, or one of 15 other serviced specialties, MedInformatix accommodates their needs. MedInformatix can turn the dream of a paperless, integrated practice into a reality.
MedInformatix Version 7.5 is now certified to meet 2011-2012 criteria supporting Stage 1 Meaningful Use requirements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment act (ARRA) as a Complete EHR by the Drummond Group.
This Complete EHR is 2011/2012 compliant and has been certified by an ONC-ATCB in accordance with the applicable certification criteria adopted by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. This certification does not represent an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or guarantee the receipt of incentive payments."
MedInformatix, October 22, 2010, Version 7.5, 1022201024238, Clinical Quality Measures: NQF0013, NQF0421, NQF0041, NQF0024, NQF0028, NQF0038, NQF0059, NQF0061, NQF0064. Additional software used: TrueCrypt v2.0, email software, spreadsheet software.