"We said, 'Okay, if you want the chart, it will be in the medical records room but it won't be delivered to your desk anymore," he explains. "We made it inconvenient to use the paper chart, and pretty quickly the physicians found it easy to use the electronic medical record."
2. Adopt the system, whichever you choose, wholeheartedly.
OHMA uses every capability its EHR system offers, including the health maintenance portion, says Gold. "We went into it with both feet," he says. "The software is designed to be used as a whole unit. While you can pick and choose what you want to use with some of these programs, if you want to get the most out of it, you have to use the full functionality of the product—and that goes for any EHR product."
Gold says the one suggestion he gives to physicians in his community—many of whom know OHMA received its incentive payment—is not to adopt an EHR in bits and pieces. "If you try to piecemeal your way around because you like one thing and not another, or because you've done it this way for 30 years, ultimately you will have problems," he says. "If you adapt it wholeheartedly, you'll qualify."
3. If also pursuing PCMH designation, combine efforts.
About one and a half years before pursuing meaningful use, OHMA made the decision to become a patient-centered medical home. OHMA was seeking a level-three PCMH qualification, and through that process, fulfilled many of the criteria for meaningful use—such as coordinating care, setting up a patient portal, and using e-prescriptions, says Gold.