Nearing the Finish Line? | Physical Therapy Documentation

ONC certified EHR and Physical Therapy DocumentationHow can Shannon be proactive about the ONC certification requirements?

“So what did you decide about the meaningful use certification thing?” Mike asked Shannon. He could tell she’d had a long day, but she also looked more confident and calmer than she had when she’d told him about the problem facing her practice.

“Oh, Mike, you’d have been proud of me!” Shannon crowed. “I told my team that I wouldn’t be pressured into a hasty decision, that I was going to find the best, most economical solution, the one that would be best for our patients. Then–” by now Shannon was miming her movements from earlier in the day — “I went into my office and shut the door.”

She took a superhero stance and waited for Mike to tell her how great she was.

It didn’t happen.

“So what decision did you make?” he asked.

“I haven’t made one. That’s just the point. I don’t have a deadline, so I can just take my time and find the best possible solution.”

Mike still didn’t look convinced. “Couple of things–” he started.

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Shannon’s heart sank. That always meant she was about to get a lecture. A useful lecture, maybe, but she wasn’t in the mood. She wanted to celebrate her victory.

“First of all, PTs don’t have to follow this rule now, but does that mean that you won’t have to follow it next year?”

Shannon hadn’t thought of that. It was true, though, that regulations for one specialty often spread to others.

“Second, your referring doctors have to meet that October deadline and you said they all wanted your system to be compatible with theirs. What if you don’t do that? How fast will they start referring patients to someone who has a compatible system instead?”

“I was feeling pretty good when this conversation started,” Shannon grumbled. “Now I can see that I don’t really have all the time in the world.”

“So when you talked with doctors about this certification thing and they said they wanted you to have a compatible system,” Mike continued, “did they tell you what they were going to use?”

“Actually, it seemed as though most of them hadn’t made up their minds. They were asking me, I was asking them, and at the end they just said they hoped I’d pick something that was compatible with what they were using.”

“So how about you pick first,” suggested Mike. “You’re happy with your current system. Give them a call and ask if they’re certified or whatever it is –”

“ONC certified,” Shannon reminded Mike.

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“ONC certified, okay. And if they are, ask what products are compatible with theirs. Find out what they would recommend for an orthopedic surgeon or for a geriatric doctor or a hospital. Then you call up all the referring doctors and tell them what you’ve found out. It could be a good little marketing move, as well as making sure that your system is compatible with theirs.”

Shannon nodded slowly. “I’d be helping them out and reminding them about my practice at the same time.”

Mike agreed. “It’s better than waiting around to see what happens.”

“You’re right. Like when you take a run, you make sure to wear the right shoes, warm up first, make sure you’re fully prepared before you get up to speed. By being proactive, I’ll be sure to be ahead of the pack, not lagging behind and having to react to what others are doing.”

“Want to go for a run?” Mike asked.

“After the day I’ve had, I think I just need to hang out with the kids and rest. But you gave me what I need to hit the ground running in the morning.”

How can Shannon be proactive about the ONC certification requirements?

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Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.

7 replies
  1. Yuval Lirov
    Yuval Lirov says:

    Physicians expect the PTs to whom they refer patients to use compatible EHR systems. Why wouldn’t they expect the same standards when they have a choice?

  2. Jason Barnes
    Jason Barnes says:

    Being ahead of the game always feels better than playing catch up. When you make the decision to start using a system that is certified, you can rest assured that your referring relationships and your patients aren’t going to go anywhere else.

  3. Josh wolf
    Josh wolf says:

    Bottom line: If you are a Physical Therapist don’t wait until it is a mandate that you use a certified EHR system with the same requirements for Medical doctors. Get in the game right now and be ahead of the curve, you WILL NOT regret it.

  4. Robin Kortman
    Robin Kortman says:

    Physical Therapist spend a great deal of time marking and cultivating relationships with physicians, being prepared by implementing a EHR system will put you ahead of the game and show initiative for change and increase referrals, physicians will see your eagerness to become proactive not only with compatible software, but with treating their

  5. David
    David says:

    Shannon is kind of in a “damned if you don’t” situation. Fortunately, a quality practice management software package like bestPT can be a solution to multiple problems — and she can write off the expense!

  6. Heather Miller
    Heather Miller says:

    ONC is quickly becoming a requirement for many doctors and most likely it will be for Physical Therapists as well. Being proactive will help you to be ahead of the curve and show your referring physicians that you are ready for the changes that are affecting them right now.

  7. Charles Pritchard
    Charles Pritchard says:

    Shannon does not want to wait around and see what happens. She can be proactive with her decision to use an ONC certified system that will be compatible with her referring physicians and even recommend it to them.

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