EHR Upgrade - Be Careful What You Ask For

May 2, 2011

I can easily see what we’ll need to do for the meaningful use thing. But there are a few things that will need to be explained to me and my staff.

In order to qualify for the financial incentive for using an EHR, one needs to document certain things and report them to CMS. The date for attestation is drawing near.

Our EHR company told us months ago that the new version would incorporate all the wonderful things we need to show meaningful use. I asked periodically when it would be available. Soon. Any day now. We are rolling it out a few offices at a time. These were the answers I got. I continued to gently remind that we were waiting and that the deadline was fast approaching.

Finally, I was told they would upgrade sometime this week and that they would do it at night so as not to disrupt our work flow. I was also told that we wouldn’t notice a difference.

So imagine my surprise at 7:30 a.m. today when my husband said he couldn’t log on to the EHR. He got an error message that said he had the wrong version. So I call the VAR, and he says that the computers were all off last night, so they upgraded the server, but couldn’t work on the desktops or tablets. So I turn them all on, and head to the hospital to do rounds. After an hour, I text my secretary to ask if the computers are ready. “They are still working on them,” she replied.

I get back to the office, my associate is on the phone with the VAR and they are trying to figure out why certain features won’t work. She has a patient waiting in a room, so I tell her to go see her patient, write stuff down on paper, and I’ll talk to the EMR dude. We work on things for a while, and honestly, I was getting huffy. I told him that nobody told me to leave the computers on last night, and he said “oh that’s okay.” What?! I was not apologizing. I was complaining. I said, “No, that is not okay, because now we can’t function!”

Well, things (for the most part) started working again. And I can easily see what we’ll need to do for the meaningful use thing. There are a few things that will need to be explained to me and my staff. Scheduling training is going to be another wrinkle. It was easy enough to dedicate time to training when we started out. But with a full schedule, it won’t be as easy now.

Needless to say, it was a stressful morning. I’d better get some incentive money for my efforts.

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