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CPSI: Educating customers on EHR adoption and Meaningful Use

July 20, 2011
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J. Boyd Douglas
J. Boyd Douglas

Ranking #45 in this year's

Healthcare Informatics 100, Mobile, Ala.-based Computer Programs and Systems, Inc. (CPSI) recognizes the importance of providing system implementation and continuing support services as part of a comprehensive program that responds to clients' information needs in a constantly changing healthcare environment.

“We believe the depth and functionality of our clinical applications, along with our experience and proven ability to successfully implement them in a community hospital environment, has a great deal to do with our ongoing success,” said president and CEO J. Boyd Douglas. Since its founding in 1979, CPSI has witnessed a shift in IT focus among its existing and prospective clients-going from financial, primarily revenue cycle-driven, to clinical. “The passage of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act for electronic health records (EHR) adoption could not have been more fortuitous for us because it plays to our strength,” Douglas adds.

According to Douglas, the push for EMR adoption has revealed a shortage of qualified clinical informaticists and individuals with clinical IT project management experience. CPSI addressed this need by forming an IT Managed and Professional Services division offering clinical IT expertise on a contract basis for both short- and long-term engagements in such areas as CPOE adoption and meaningful use compliance. “We offer managed services for such areas as security and firewall management, email hosting, and network management to take some of the burden off the IT staff so they can focus on end users,” he adds.

The CPSI president says there is a growing interest in hosted solutions, which the company has been offering for some time. Although server costs are still low, Douglas expects to see an increase in hosted solutions as connectivity becomes more affordable and reliable. He also believes the use of tablet devices as the primary user interface for clinicians will become the rule. CPSI is already witnessing that trend among physicians and expects it to move to other areas as well. Douglas reports that CPSI's products are already being utilized with both iPads and Android-based tablets, and the company will be introducing specific apps for key functions this fall.

In general, the continuing interpretation of some areas of the final rules for adoption of meaningful use and what is generally acceptable is still a challenge for the healthcare community. “It is CPSI's hope that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will continue to utilize standards developed by the healthcare IT community, which has been involved in this process over the long term, and not succumb to pressures from larger interests,” says Douglas.

CPOE use is still receiving a lot of attention and CPSI's customers are putting a great deal of resources into this area, reports Douglas. “We now have more than 220 sites that are live with our CPOE application-far more than any other vendor in the community hospital space.”

To help educate clients on the final rule and specific functions and applications needed to meet meaningful use objectives, CPSI has a specific support group made up of senior support staff, solely dedicated to assisting hospitals in meeting meaningful use. “When a hospital indicates it intends to attest for Stage 1, the support group sets up and tracks its efforts in meeting each of its objectives and works with hospital staff to resolve any issues, whether system or process related,” Douglas adds.

This effort continues until the hospital is fully compliant in both its core and chosen menu measures, and actually completes the process with CMS. To date, CPSI has more than 120 hospitals that it has worked with on Stage 1 adoption. Many of these have already attested and applied to both Medicare and Medicaid in their respective states. “So far, CPSI facilities have received more than $12 million in payments,” Douglas says.

CPSI has provided feedback on a national level through its participation in several groups, including the EHR Association Meaningful Use Work Group analysis of the Stage 2 and Stage 3 proposal. From a product development standpoint, the company started preparations for Stage 2 compliance, while its Stage 1 efforts are still ongoing. Douglas says: “We are telling our customers that we will be fully prepared to meet Stage 2 and Stage 3 requirements, and we are offering contractual guarantees of that to any customer or prospective customer who would like that additional level of assurance.”

Healthcare Informatics 2011 August;28(8):38

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