It’s almost like the EMR vendors totally forgot that there is an important step in the information process that requires patients to enter or update certain information. | [node:field-byline] | Healthcare Blogs Skip to content Skip to navigation

Congratulations on your EMR-Now take this clipboard full of forms and go fill them out

April 4, 2012
by Pete Rivera
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I find it ironic that after investing money and effort in an EMR implementation, many organizations are still handing out paper forms to collect history, insurance updates and HIPAA acknowledgements. It’s almost like the EMR vendors totally forgot that there is an important step in the information process that requires patients to enter or update certain information.

 Well it was only a matter of time before a 3rd party vendor saw the need and filled this void. One such vendor is Instant Medical History (IMH) by PrimeTime Medical Software. This small company is addressing one of my personal pet peeves: Getting a clipboard of forms at check-in and filling out my name twenty times, just to verify what they already know.

 IMH has a portal that can be accessed by the patient at home or through a kiosk at the office. The patient enters the required identifiers; like appointment date, last name and telephone number. Then they are able to fill out their medical history electronically. Once they complete the questionnaire it is sent to the EMR for review by a Physician or Nurse. Simple, elegant, and about as much effort to install as a Lab interface.

 I was not able to find other vendors that provide this same type of portal, but if anyone knows of one, please post it. I say this because I have a doctor’s appointment coming up and I just know that I will get a stack of forms on a clipboard at the new and improved EHR clinic.



Since you asked, the NextGen EHR actually does address this in 2 ways:

1. Any template (or "patient-friendly" version,easily created by NextGen's clients) can be sent via a secure portal; and because these fields directly map to actual EHR fields, upon acceptance by the office staff the info will be directly populated into the record.

2. NextGen has a pen device with optical recognition: the patient can complete a paper form, the pen recognizes both the data fields (again, mapped to regular EHR fields) as well as handwriting. Upon "docking" via USB, the info is uploaded into EMR (again, with an "acceptance" process to assure data integrity) and the "paperwork" is done!

I don't mean to be "sales-y"on this serious forum, the point being that the industry is clearly moving in the right direction on this. It is likely that other vendors have similar solutions in action or in the pipelines...

Yes, since you mentioned it, NextGen purchased the rights to this product I mentioned. They use the core features but imports the forms as static imaged documents. Other products (like McKesson Practice Partner) uses this product and takes the data and imports it into the EHR as discrete data. Both products are addressing the need to capture information that other EHR's do not.

Our practice uses the Jardogs FollowMyHealth portal, and it can send electronic forms to patients and push those back into our EMR as documents and push the data back in discretely. I think they have this feature with multiple EMRs, not just ours (Allscripts Enterprise).

In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) began an incentive plan to financially support the usage and interoperability of EHR (what I think you call EMR) systems. This was included as legislature in the Code of Federal Regulations Title 45 Part 170 and in Title 42 Part 412, 413, and 495.

To qualify for the incentive, hospitals need to use Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT) to accomplish specific workflows. For EHR vendors to certify their product(s), they must pass a specific set of test criteria that includes a variety of functionality. These workflows and functionality are spread over a 3-4 year timespan, implemented in specific phases, and focus on electronic record management and authorized sharability of data between medical providers.

Physician offices who want to qualify for the the program (which is no small task, but is often deemed worthwhile), must allow patients to have online access to their clinical data. Also (to the frustration you explained), they must allow patients to have the ability to update their demographic information online. The timelines for these enhancements are underway.

You should start seeing relief at your doctors' offices by next year! And in hospitals soon after.

Pete, I couldn't agree with you more. It was the experience of filling out those frustrating paper forms that inspired me to start Seamless Medical. We have a tablet based patient engagement platform that replaces the paper forms and delivers discrete, structured data into the practice EMR and PM. THe Seamless platform also verifies insurance, collects payments, surveys patients, provides tailored health education to patients and practice marketing. We also have mobile check in to allow patients to fill out all forms including health histories prior to a visit. Over a million patients have used Seamless in the last 12 months. Check out to learn more