OHMA launched its patient portal roughly one year ago and already has about 2,000 people signed up. Gold notes that the meaningful use regulations were unclear about whether offering patients an electronic visit summary via the patient portal is sufficient, or whether practices must offer a hard-copy summary as well. "We do both at this point because we want to cover our bases," he says.
4. Double the estimated training time.
Like any software product, whether it's an EHR or Microsoft Excel, the more familiar you are with the ins and outs of the software, the easier it is to get things done, says Gold. The problem is that physicians are very busy and don't have a lot of patience, he says. "[Physicians] don't want to spend the time necessary to learn the product properly so that they can get the results that they want. They are used to telling an office manager to do this and it gets done," Gold says.
However, the meaningful use criteria require physician participation. "If the physicians are not going to have the time, patience, or wherewithal to participate in [meaningful use], don't expect to be able to qualify for it," he says.