Switching EHR Software Vendors? Here is How to Protect Your MIPS Score – Quality Category
Posted On: May 25, 2021
Series 1 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. We will start with the Quality Category.
- This category has a year-long reporting period. For the 2021 performance year, you will need to ensure that data is being captured from both your former EHR/record system and your new EHR in order to achieve at least 70% “data completeness” (70% of the patients who qualify for each measure that you report).
- If your former EHR software is electronically integrated with a QCDR (Qualified Clinical Data Registry) or CDR (Clinical Data Registry):
- Confirm that your new EHR software can also integrate with your registry. Consider confirming this in writing, either via e-mail or via the registry’s support ticket system.
- Inform your registry of the new vendor and “go-live” date for your new EHR software as early as possible, verify again when you “go live,” and then when you have implemented the new EHR. To create a “paper trail,” make these requests in writing, either via e-mail or via the registry’s support ticket system.
- If you are switching both your Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software and your Practice Management (PM) software, you will need to inform your registry of the vendors and your “go-live” dates for both software systems.
- Protect yourself in case of a CMS audit. Run reports and take screenshots of your Registry dashboard before and after integration. Keep these in your MIPS Audit File for the year.
- If you are integrating with a registry for the first time, check with your registry account representative for integration deadlines and adjust your MIPS reporting plan accordingly.
- Consider switching EHR vendors in Quarter 2 or, at the latest, Quarter 3 of a calendar year. This will give your clinic employees time to learn the new workflows and retrain as needed. Also, if you are electronically integrated with a registry, you need to allow time to resolve mapping errors, workflow errors, and connectivity errors. Don’t wait until October, November, or December of the performance year to switch EHR vendors.
- Early in the performance year, choose your Quality measures that you want to report for the performance year. This ensures continuity and focuses to your training efforts for the new EHR.
- Request a MIPS-specific workflow training session with your new EHR vendor and involve the appropriate clinic personnel. Focus the training on your chosen Quality measures for the year. 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.
COMING UP NEXT: Switching EHR Software Vendors? Here is How to Protect Your MIPS Score – Promoting Interoperability Category
Contributed by :
Katie Buckholtz has led and assisted hundreds of clinicians across the United States towards maximizing their MIPS and APM payment incentives for the CMS Quality Payment Program. Prior to this, Katie had a 10-year clinical background in ophthalmology and optometry Including her experience with managing the practice’s participation in the Meaningful Use, PQRS, and MACRA programs.