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Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:37

EHR, EDR, PMS, and now certified EHR. Featured

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post 82 picEHR, EDR, PMS, and now certified EHR. Knowing the difference is the key.

The abyss of the acronym language that has become a part of our culture is ever present in both of our professional lives as well as our personal. 

I find that sometimes I have to refer to sites such as just to interpret what my college student is trying to say. 

The understanding of acronyms and what they really stand for is not limited to the culture of our community, for it expands far into our professions as well.  

On occasion I hear a dental professional say “We have been using an EHR for years, so why can’t we use it to qualify for Meaningful Use incentives?”  When I hear this, I am reminded the ever confusing interpretation of what the acronyms EHR, EDR and PMS can be. 

If you look “EHR” up on an acronym finder, “Electronic Health Records” is top of the list, followed by things such as “English Historical Review” and “Explosive Hazards Reduction(s)”.  Electronic Dental Record appears 11th on list for “EDR”, preceded by “Event Data Recorder”.  We won’t even go into “PMS”, although in case you didn’t know, it is for “Practice Management Software”.  

The discussions about having EHR software as well as certified EHR software is becoming a regular occurrence where dental professionals are confused about the reference to the same acronym that has two different purposes. 

Many people are trying to grasp why they need a separate EHR that has been certified when they are already paperless and using EHR or EDR software. 

Many dental practices qualify for the Meaningful Use incentive programs and are needing to get a certified EHR in their practice. 

What they are finding is that simply using their PMS is not enough; they need to also purchase and meaningfully use another EHR system that is certified by an organization that has been selected as an ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Body.  Providers are discovering that as certified EHR systems are being programmed and approved by a certifying body such as Drummond Group, Inc. for the various stages of Meaningful Use, the ability to integrate with existing practice management software that is on the market is limited.  

A dental practice management software or electronic dental record that is being used in majority of dental practices is for the purpose of managing patients’ dental clinical information, scheduling, insurance claim processing, patient billing, communications and business processes related to the dental practice.  

Many people refer to their software as an “EHR”.  The definition of an EHR, as given by the ADA , is “a complete longitudinal history of an individual’s health care across all settings and encounters as well as the data types and relationships that would enable it to be created, stored, and managed electronically.” 

Take note of the words “across all settings and encounters” in the definition provided by the ADA.  Having an EHR that has the ability to share health information with authorized providers across multiple care setting is the key, and is inclusive of dental providers.

As the movement takes place in the dental industry and new regulations are enforced regarding HIPAA, Protected Health Information (PHI), and Personal Health Records (PHR), technologies must meet the criteria as determined by governing agencies, especially to be considered as a certified EHR.  In order for a practice to be eligible for EHR Incentives and Meaningful Use (MU), they must be using a certified EHR system in addition to meeting the eligibility criteria.  

The purpose of the EHR Incentives program is to assist providers in paying for the upfront costs of attaining and meaningfully using a certified EHR system, and the intent of the program is to move providers into using a system with standardized capabilities across multiple care settings. 

The role of the certified EHR system is not to replace your existing dental practice management software, but to add the capabilities of sharing information that will improve a patient’s care in quality, safety and decision supports to all providers, as well as the patient.

The focus of all dental professionals is to improve patients’ health through PQI, or Practice Quality Improvement (not Paint Quality Institute as is 1st on the list for “PQI”).  Understanding the differences, as well as the purpose, of an EHR and certified EHR is crucial to the decisions of your business and is a right click.


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