Switching EHR Software Vendors? Here is How to Protect Your MIPS Score – Promoting Interoperability Category
Posted On: September 9, 2021
Series 2 of 4
Switching EHR (Electronic Health Record) software vendors can be expensive and stressful. Users need to be trained on the software, electronic devices need to be integrated, patient data needs to be transferred from your former software, learning curves must be overcome, and everything must be accomplished with minimal impact to patients and scheduling. During this hectic time, your MIPS score for the year might be the furthest thing from your mind. However, if you are not properly prepared when it comes time to report your MIPS data to CMS, the repercussions can be devastating from both a financial and stress level standpoint.
In this four-part series, Clinical Quality Experts provides important tips for each of the four MIPS performance categories when planning to switch EHR software vendors. This is the second part of the series: the Promoting Interoperability Category.
- Unlike the Quality category, which was discussed in the previous part of this series, the Promoting Interoperability (PI) category has a reporting period of 90 consecutive days. This is important to consider when deciding upon a new EHR software implementation date. From a MIPS reporting perspective, contemplate switching EHR vendors in Quarters 2 or 3. Here’s why:
- If your former EHR software is CEHRT compliant for the MIPS reporting year, try to perform as high as possible on your PI measures using Quarter 1 or Quarter 2 data from the former EHR software. This is helpful because your clinic staff and physicians are familiar with those MIPS PI workflows. It will allow your clinic staff and physicians to sufficient time to learn the new EHR’s MIPS PI workflows for the following year.
- If your former EHR software is not CEHRT compliant for the current MIPS reporting year or the PI performance from Quarters 1 or 2 is unsatisfactory, the clinic team still has time to learn the new EHR software’s PI workflows. Be sure to be ready by the start of October. That’s when your last 90-day opportunity occurs.
- If you switch EHRs after Quarter 1 of the MIPS performance year, take a screenshot/print a report of your best 90-day PI data before you stop your contract with your former EHR software vendor. Your report will then be available even if you can’t access the previous software.
- Things to consider regarding PI measure PI_PEA_1: Provide Patients Electronic Access to Their Health Information:
- All patients, regardless of whether they are new or established patients, will need to have new portal accounts generated in the new EHR. For the first 365 days of using the new EHR, it’s best to do this for every patient who is seen. After that time, your staff will only generate a portal account for new patients or for returning patients whose portal was not generated the first time.
- To prepare for the first 365 days’ use of the new EHR, verify with your new software vendor if it matters when a patient’s portal is generated in order to count for the MIPS PI measure. For example, does the portal account need to be generated before the patient’s chart is signed by the physician? Or can the portal account be generated within the four business days after the exam?
- Request a MIPS-specific workflow training session with your new EHR vendor and involve the appropriate clinic personnel. Assign who in the practice will perform the workflows on a regular basis. If possible, request workflow documents for your clinic’s employees and physicians to reference after the training. Remember: It’s harder to “unlearn” improper workflows. Start your new EHR the right way by having your clinic personnel and physicians learn the correct workflows.
- Don’t forget that with a new EHR software comes a new Direct messaging address for each physician. Practices with whom you refer to or receive referrals from will need to be updated. Not sure where to start? Make a list of your top 20 referring partners and begin contacting those providers/practices. While you’re at it, ask for their Direct messaging addresses and update your new EHR with their latest addresses.
COMING UP NEXT: Switching EHR Software Vendors? Here is How to Protect Your MIPS Score – Improvement Activities Category