eRX EPCS Now Nationwide- Formulary & Use History Benefits

Are you one of the providers that has been held back from using e-prescription (eRX) technology because Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances (EPCS) was not available? Your wait is over. Recent legislation has made it possible to use this in all 50 states instead of just some. You can now e-prescribe all medications in one workflow. Finally!

One of the top benefits to using an eRX service is to potentially lower patient drug cost, possibly increasing treatment compliance. When considering an eRX service, make sure it offers formularies. You can use them to scan for the lower cost options for your patients. This could mean the difference between whether or not they feel their monthly budget can handle the proposed treatment plan. Good for the patient, outcomes, and your business.

Another top benefit of eRX is access to a complete, or nearly complete, history of the patient’s use of medications, including controlled substances. Tying into an e-prescribing system allows you to see the patient’s history of prescriptions from other providers; not just from you. What about past hard-copy prescriptions you may wonder? The pharmacies take the hard-copies and add them to the system giving a “global” view of past prescriptions. Protect your patient and protect yourself by gaining awareness of controlled substance usage.

Additional benefits to subscribing to an eRx are possible reductions in errors due to legibility issues or miscommunications over the phone, adverse interaction notices and access to prescription audit reports.

If you got tired of waiting for the technology to get caught up, you don’t have to wait anymore. No more controlled substance prescriptions off in a separate corner of your business having to be monitored. With the right service in place, your eRX and EPCS are pulled together into one place as it should be.

Gavin Walker is the CEO of Walker Tek Solutions, LLC (DBA MedTech). He specializes in HL7 data interfacing, medical IT and is an award-winning vendor for e-MDs (Formerly McKesson BPS) selling/servicing Medisoft® Clinical EHR, Practice Choice™ EHR, and Beta Medisoft® Plus. Gavin has 27 years of technical experience specifically in medical billing & charting systems.

Ransomware- Prepare For It, Respond To It

Isn’t it a shame that such a bright mind, capable of programming a ransom attack is used for such dark deeds? What a sad, unnecessary waste. Imagine a world where such bright minds would be used for helping instead of hurting mankind. Here is how those of us that choose to be a force for good in the world can protect ourselves and our clients from those who don’t.

Prepare For Ransomware

Step 1: Make sure you are running anti-malware software on your machines. Select anti-malware that allows you to choose which folders to scan. (At minimum, use Windows Defender.)

Step 2: Maintain a professional, quality backup of your data. If you don’t understand the importance of this by now, you will suffer the consequences. Make sure it’s off-site and regularly tested or you could end up with bitter regret.

Step 3: Check to make sure Windows System Restore is set to being ON. Windows 10 machine note- with Windows 10, the default setting for System Restore is OFF!

Respond To Ransomware

If your computer screen is popping up with messages telling you that to fix the problems on your computer, you need to pay money, (and you don’t intend to pay it), here are some recommended steps to respond with.

Step 1: Shut down the computer and disconnect it from the network and internet.

Step 2: Boot the computer up in Safe Mode and run an anti-malware. (There are many to choose from, but I (Gavin) have had good luck with MalwareBytes.)

If that doesn’t work, advance to Step 3.

Step 3: Do a System Restore.

If that doesn’t work, advance to Step 4.

Step 4: Restore your backups.

Maybe the more of us that prepare and don’t pay, they’ll go get jobs and leave us alone. May you never have to use the respond portion of this guide.

Gavin Walker is the CEO of Walker Tek Solutions, LLC (DBA MedTech). He specializes in HL7 data interfacing, medical IT and is an award-winning vendor for e-MDs (Formerly McKesson BPS). He’s been providing Server Hosting (SaaS) and Backup Service for over 10 years.

Windows 10 Updates Got You Down?

Ah, updates. Can’t live without ‘em. Sometimes, we don’t want to live with ‘em. Updates are very important. Some contain critical security improvements to protect our systems not to mention performance enhancements and bug fixes. However, some updates fix things but cause significant problems with others.

Andrew Analla, Technical Support Team Leader at Walker Tek Solutions, LLC says, “I always tell my clients when introducing a new update into your environment, do not install it on all of your machines at the same time. Choose one machine and install the update on that first. Test out your crucial applications and see how the new update is affecting their performance. This will prevent having to trouble shoot several different machines in the event that the update causes instability in your applications.”

The Windows Operating System started an automatic update feature a while back. Out of the “box”, the default setting on Windows 10 will automatically load the latest updates and security patches for you. This is great for people who are a little naughty and would never load them otherwise. The rub comes when an update interferes with your critical applications that you use to run your business. Microsoft words it this way on the support section of their site, “…a specific driver or update might…cause issues with your device (application), and in this case you will need a way to prevent the problematic driver or (Windows) update from reinstalling automatically the next time Windows Updates are installed.”

To prevent the problematic Windows update, in the Search Windows box type Control Panel and start the desktop app. Go to Programs and Features -> View Installed Updates and sort the list by Installed On date. Note the KB#, or version #, of each recent update and uninstall them one at a time. Then test your software again. When you have found the update that caused the conflict install KB3073930  and run it. Click Next -> Hide Updates and check the update. Click Next. The update will not reinstall itself again.

Updates are not bad. They are good and without them we face significant security threats to our systems. However, these are some update best practices and a work around you can use to cope with downsides until application developers can catch up to what the Windows 10 developers have released.

Gavin Walker is the CEO of Walker Tek Solutions, LLC (DBA MedTech Medical Management Systems.), known especially for technical support and a producer of custom apps; cloud based or LAN. He specializes in HL7 data interfacing, medical IT and is an award winning vendor for e-MDs’ (Formerly McKesson BPS) practice management solutions: LAN based Medisoft® Medisoft® Clinical and cloud based Practice Choice™ EHR.

Meaningful Use & PQRS- 2017 Homework Starts Now

Your friends and your patients might not get that taking on Medicare clients in these latter years is so much more of a commitment for an independent physician than ever before, but I do. If your 2015 Meaningful Use attestation did not go as you would have liked and you are feeling a little beat up, I want to encourage you. 2016 is a new year. Learn from 2015’s mistakes and set a goal to attest successfully in 2017. Do not procrastinate or allow your employees to. The time to think about this is now; not a few weeks before the deadline. Here is some homework to set yourself up well and increase the probability that you will successfully attest for Meaningful Use and Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) for 2016 in 2017.

Homework Assignment #1- Meaningful Use Office Champion
If you haven’t already, you must establish one person whose job it is to stay on top of quality checking the collection of the data you’ll need to turn in for attestation.

Homework Assignment #2- Every Month Run Meaningful Use Report
Your Meaningful Use Champion should use this report to catch any measure you are missing. Important note: The Menu Objective method in which you get to pick 4 items out of the menu to report upon has been phased out. Now, everyone (except those that are exempt for some reason) has to report via the Core objectives. . https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/Downloads/Stage3_EP.pdf

Homework Assignment #3- Every Month Run PQRS Report
The Meaningful Use Champion (Am I overemphasizing this? Yes, yes I am.) should scan for any necessary adjustments in your EHR. Use this report to monitor and make sure the EHR is functioning as intended and all employees know how to use it properly. What you don’t capture, you can’t report come 2017.

Gavin Walker, CEO of MedTech Medical Management System, adds, “For practices just getting in the swing of prepping for Meaningful Use, work your way up to the monthly reports. First, run the reports weekly, if not daily, and get to the place that you are consistently hitting your numbers. Once things are established, run them monthly and carefully guard the collection of your data from there.”

As a Meaningful Use Consultant, I like to ideally get my hands on people and their databases 6 months before the deadline at minimum. It pains me for them when clients approach me too close to the deadline and there isn’t enough lead time left to properly prepare the database for attestation. You can’t “set back the clock” on your software system.

You can fail to plan and plan to fail, or, you can do your homework and set yourself up for a successful attestation for 2016 in 2017. Establish these good habits to reduce the stress of the attestation deadlines and keep as much of your hard earned Medicare money as you possibly can.

Disclaiming Statement- Walker Tek Solutions, LLC DBA MedTech Medical Management Systems has collected information from external sources and displayed it here as well as content we customized. This set of information is offered as a courtesy to be used as a general guideline only. It is not offered as or intended to be, nor would it be reasonable, to attempt to make it exhaustive on the named topic. Each organization is responsible to fully vet and research what specific needs they have in regard to their own practice’s Meaningful Use Attestation or PQRS reporting in light of the unique conditions of their practice. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid is the organization distributing the official rules and interpretations about Meaningful Use attestation and PQRS responsibilities. https://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Legislation/EHRIncentivePrograms/2016ProgramRequirements.html 

Ria Halcomb is a Certified Meaningful Use Consultant (Certification organization is McKesson BPS – Issued 2014). Ria is also an Advanced Certified Trainer for MedTech Medical Management Systems on McKesson’s Medisoft®, Medisoft® Clinical EHR and Practice Choice™. Ria has over 10 years training and consultation experience specifically in the medical IT field. (Ria’s content handled by MedTech’s Blog Manager.)

Medisoft ICD-10 Implementation General Guide
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This is the big one! ICD-10 is upon us after much ado. Different practices are at different stages of their ICD-10 implementation. Below is my general guide for implementing ICD-10 into your practice prior to the October 1, 2015 deadline.

ICD-10 Implementation Plan – General Guide for Medisoft® Practices

  1. Acquire an ICD-10 compliant version of Medisoft®.
  2. Run the Diagnosis Report to identify the most used codes in the practice.
  3. Use the Code Mapping tool in Medisoft® to convert ICD-9 codes to ICD-10 codes.
  4. Start coding with ICD-10 codes
    1. If using an electronic health record make sure ICD-10 codes are being selected. Be sure to test out ALL templates.
    2. If using a paper superbill, modify it to only include ICD-10 diagnosis codes.
    3. If using Medisoft Mobile™, make sure ICD-10 codes are being selected.
  5. Verify that charges are entering Medisoft® with ICD-10 codes on them.
  6. Print paper claims and verify that they print with ICD-10 codes on them.
  7. Test ICD-10 codes with your clearinghouse.
  8. If you have a lab ordering interface, test some ICD-10 codes with your lab.
  9. Set the cutoff dates for your insurance carriers to be 10/1/2015 and your claims will continue to go out with ICD-9 codes on them if they have a service date before 10/1/2015. Continue coding with ICD-10 codes.

I offer the above list as a general guideline only. It is not intended to be, nor would it be reasonable, to attempt to make it exhaustive. Each practice is responsible to fully vet and research what specific needs they have in regard to their own ICD-10 implementation. Additional resources may be found at: http://www.medtechsys.net/icd-10/

Are You Part of These ICD-10 Statistics?

In a past study conducted by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), the pursuing appalling statistics were exposed:

  • 25% of doctor practices said they won’t be ready for the October 1st ICD-10 deadline
  • Another 25% are uncertain if they will be set
  • Only 20% of doctor practices have started or accomplished outside examination

Make sure you remain enlightened by going to one of McKesson’s remaining webinar sessions:

8/19 at 9am CT: https://mck.webex.com/mck/onstage/g.php?d=743954805&t=a

8/27 at 11am CT: https://mck.webex.com/mck/onstage/g.php?d=742423173&t=a

9/1 at 3pm CT: https://mck.webex.com/mck/onstage/g.php?d=748178383&t=a

9/9 at 8am CT: https://mck.webex.com/mck/onstage/g.php?d=744209815&t=a

9/17 at 12pm CT: https://mck.webex.com/mck/onstage/g.php?d=745349826&t=a

NAPCRG’s Practitioner Regular Payment Plan

The North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) will supply seven regular payments up to $2,000 apiece to enable you to take part in the 2015 NAPCRG Yearly Gathering in Cancun, Mexico.

Your attendance at NAPCRG’s yearly gathering is vital to bring together knowledge, communicating, and networking between primary care researchers and you. NAPCRG recognizes the deficiency of support accessible to residential area practitioners to go to research gatherings and that time gone from your practices frequently results in fiscal red ink. For these reasons, NAPCRG has created a regular payment plan to counterbalance the price to go to the Yearly Gathering.

To be suitable for a regular payment, you must satisfy the succeeding criteria:

  • Be a primary care practitioner
  • Get a living providing direct care for patients.
  • May teach and take part in practice-based research but these activities cannot be the primary or an important component in determining work pay or occupation promotion.
  • May function in an assortment of institutions ranging from little unaccompanied practices to big multi-specialty groups.
  • May have an association with a university or an instruction establishment, nevertheless the bulk of time and labor is exhausted providing direct primary care to patients.
  • Do not have to be a NAPCRG associate to be suitable to apply but will be expected to join using the payoff from the regular payment.

For more info or to apply for NAPCRG’s 2015 Clinician Stipend Program, tour their web site here.

The deadline to apply for the 2015 Annual Meeting is Friday, September 11, 2015, at 5pm CDT.

ICD-10, Are You Set?
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Your software program may be ICD-10 primed, but is your personnel? With Medisoft® v20 and Lytec® 2015, new features such as Patient Intake and Medisoft/Lytec Mobile will help salvage time on administrative tasks, freeing invaluable time for  business office teams to gear up for the October 1 deadline.

Windows 10 & Medisoft

On July 29, 2015, Microsoft’s Windows 10 is set for release. McKesson needs time to test Medisoft & Medisoft Clinical on that new operating system. We strongly recommend that you hold off on installing Windows 10 in relation to your Medisoft & Medisoft Clinical. McKesson will be testing and will announce when those products can officially be accredited on Windows 10. MedTech will announce it on our forum and social media as soon as the information is available.

Switching to Business Cloud Apps – 4 Things to Consider
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These days, it isn’t a question of if you’ll make the switch to cloud apps, but when. A smoother transition can be hoped for if you set your expectations in the right place for the practicality and benefits cloud apps are going to bring your business; or not bring. Though they aren’t a magic bullet, in more and more cases, cloud apps do make good business sense. Here are four things to consider before you subscribe.

  1. Unreliable or slow internet automatically disqualifies certain businesses from switching to cloud apps in certain areas of the nation. For some, the infrastructure is simply not caught up to more progressive areas. It stinks, but that’s the way it is. When considering subscription, educate yourself about the ideal internet speed for peak performance of the app. Test your internet download/upload to see how things line up. speedtest.net
  2. If your business is really small, avoid unrealistic expectations of how much financial overhead switching to a cloud app is going to save. Yes, saving money on hardware with cloud apps can be expected since the need for a server and thus maintenance is eliminated; workstations alone get the job done. However, for a really small business the workstation might be the acting server. In those cases, there isn’t a lot of hardware to begin with. The larger the business, the larger the costs scale up. It’s for these businesses that cloud apps start significantly cutting financial overhead.
  3. Liberation from server and app maintenance appeals to many businesses; large and small. This is one of the larger draws of cloud apps. How much is it worth to a business owner to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with putting maintenance on an outsourced businesses’ plate instead of their own? The answer of course is subjective. When considering a subscription, evaluate your in-house team resources and search your feelings.
  4. How old are you? How old is your team? Actually, these questions are quite relevant to how well a cloud app is going to gel. With apps on a local area network (LAN), as long as you can keep your database corruption free, updated with the latest patches, keep the server updated and hope that the software doesn’t out age available hardware and operating systems, you can stay on that baby for a long time. The team settles in to the buttons and potentially, those buttons could stay in the same place and do the same things year after year (until one of the above forces an upgrade). Two more of the great draws of cloud apps are instant updates and always having the latest technology. Evaluate your team’s positive mental attitude. Do you have a team that has the wherewithal to be willing to change and learn regularly without digging their heels in, grumbling and rocking the boat? Surely there are exceptions, but younger team members may be better suited to absorb regular updates that cloud apps benefit your business’ bottom line with. The transition will be smoothest when owner and team share the same mentality.

Many businesses are already subscribing to some type of cloud application for critical functions. The market is demanding more and more cloud development and in the coming years more resources will be funneled in that direction over apps designed for LAN. After a global survey of 10 countries, Gartner, Inc. predicts, “The traditional deployment model for on-premises software is expected to significantly shrink from 34 percent today to 18 percent by 2017.” Consider these things as you evaluate when it’s time to explore the benefits cloud apps have to offer your business.

Gavin Walker is Founder/Operator of Walker Tek Solutions, LLC (Also known as MedTech Medical Management Systems.), a producer of custom apps; cloud based or LAN. He specializes in HL7 data interfacing, medical IT and is a top level vendor for eMDs practice management solutions. This includes LAN based Medisoft/Medisoft Clinical.