Optional or Not?

ONC2-bestPTShannon has options when it comes to EHR — but what’s the best choice for her business?

“Let me get this straight,” Mike said, spinning a chair around and straddling it. Shannon had come by the restaurant, since the kids were visiting their grandparents for the weekend. It seemed as though Mike’s hours at the restaurant were getting longer every week, so this was a good way for Shannon to get a little extra time with her husband.

It also gave her a chance to follow up on the work issue that she’d had on her mind.

Register for our Live webinar on ICD-10

“So it turns out that this particular regulation — the ONC-certified electronic health records — doesn’t apply to physical therapists,” Shannon said, scooping up a spoonful of stew. “Mmmm, this is delicious!”

“Problem solved!” said Mike. “You can ignore the new regulation.”

“Problem solved in the sense that I won’t face penalties,” Shannon agreed. “But there’s more to it than that.”

Mike cocked an eyebrow.

“You know that most of our business comes from referrals,” his wife continued.

“Sure,” said Mike. “Referrals from doctors, hospitals, and so forth.”

“So as I was calling around to find out what was going on, I kept hearing one thing: ‘Please use something compatible with our system!’ No matter what else they told me, and it seemed like everyone just had one piece of the picture, the conversation always ended with them hoping our systems would match theirs.”

Mike frowned. “Are they all using the same system?”

Shannon had hardly begun her answer when a crash from the kitchen caught Mike’s attention. “Hold that thought!” he said as he ducked away.

Register for our Live webinar on ICD-10

Shannon turned her attention to the stew and crusty baguette Mike had provided for her. Of course they weren’t all using the same system, she thought — that would make it too easy. And of course the software that was perfect for the local surgical hospital might not be just right for her business, anyway.

She explained as much to Mike when he returned, a little redder in the face but still calm and cheerful.

“It sounds as though you’ll need to get on board whether you’re actually required to or not,” he said, “and you’ll also have to take your major strategic partners’ choices into account as you make your decisions.”

Shannon finished her meal and leaned back, gazing at her husband. “Why can’t I take these things as calmly as you do? You haven’t even mentioned the crash in the kitchen.”

“Why get worried about it?” Mike shrugged. “If you worry about it beforehand, then you suffer over it twice. If you worry about it after it’s over, then you suffer three times. Once is enough.”

The hostess was headed for their table, so Shannon settled back to see whether Mike could take his own advice. Would he get flustered by the problem she was bringing him?

Mike smiled at the hostess as she came up. “How can I help?” he asked.

“Actually,” the hostess smiled back, “I just came to say you two should go on home. The rush is over and we can handle it from here.”

Mike smiled even more broadly. “Thanks, Coral. I’ll see you tomorrow night, then.” He pulled out Shannon’s chair and put his arm around her shoulder as they walked to the door.

It was a slow progress, since Mike stopped to shake hands and chat. It gave Shannon time to think about what he had said. She guessed he was right about worrying, but only if she took action.

Shannon has options when it comes to EHR — but what’s the best choice for her business?

Register for our Live webinar on ICD-10

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

14 replies
  1. Andrew Kropff
    Andrew Kropff says:

    ONC is another regulation that arms payers against providers. Even without penalties, PT’s are expected to be ONC compliant. If physicians don’t adopt ONC certified EHR, then referring doctors will find new PTs come October.

  2. David
    David says:

    PTs are in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” circumstance, but in the long run, it behooves them to get ONC compliant. Not only for the sake of their referring physicians, but should Medicare decide to impose such restrictions on them.

  3. Reuven Lirov
    Reuven Lirov says:

    Recognizing there is a problem is the first step. Like the best healthcare providers do, Shannon needs to work with coaches who can help her identify not just which EHR makes sense, but how it’s going to fit into her practice flow. Taken in a vacuum, EHR can be compared ‘apples to apples’, but in healthcare there is no vacuum. Shannon needs an EHR that will integrate and hold her and her staff accountable across patient care.

  4. George Konold
    George Konold says:

    If her software won’t “talk” to the software of her referring physicians then she needs ONC certified software like bestPT’s!

  5. Jason Barnes
    Jason Barnes says:

    “The possible future consequence to the group never seems as pressing as the immediate comfort of the individual.” This rings true to me with almost every change that I ask others to make and ESPECIALLY the changes that I am asked to make. Thinking about future consequences is typically NOT a motivator for immediate change.

    Practice owners who understand the big picture will have to be the impetus for change, whether you accept Medicare patients or not.

  6. Joshua Wolf
    Joshua Wolf says:

    Physical Therapists must be able to adapt to regulations such as ONC certification just like any other healthcare provider. This will allow them to interface with their referring physicians and keep up with changes that might be imposed on them someday. Why not work with BestPT and be ahead of the curve?

  7. Michelle Corrigan
    Michelle Corrigan says:

    What is the worse case scenario for Shannon – worrying for years that ONC may affect her or being proactive and choosing an ONC certified system that puts all the pieces of the puzzle together for her now? History dictates that all changes will eventually affect all specialties so why wait to act?

  8. Robin Kortman
    Robin Kortman says:

    ONC may not be required for Therapist currently. However, other practitioners are required, should therapist be prepared for upcoming changes? Or wait until it’s mandatory?

  9. Heather Miller
    Heather Miller says:

    Regardless of weather or not ONC applies directly to PTs right now it doesn’t mean that it won’t in the near future. It is better to be prepared and get ahead of the curve.

  10. Christine
    Christine says:

    It might not be important now for physical therapists but it might be in the near future, you never know. I say prepare now!

  11. Yuval Lirov
    Yuval Lirov says:

    What if a Physical Therapist recommended a better EHR, billing, and workflow to her referring physician? Would the physician reciprocate by referring more patients to a PT that had a huge impact on their entire practice?

  12. Amy
    Amy says:

    It’s not so easy to stay ‘one step ahead’ of what might be coming down the road. Gathering as much knowledge as possible of the oncoming challenges is the best way to help be prepared when they do come along. Make a list of requirements, determine what you need to do to accomplish them and make a plan to execute. Preparedness is the best way to be successful.

  13. Charles Pritchard
    Charles Pritchard says:

    The best choice for Shannon’s business is to be prepared. While it may not be a requirement for PT’s currently, most of her business is from referrals who are required to use an ONC certified system. Is it better to prepare for the storm or scramble around once it hits?

Comments are closed.