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Reduce Payment Cycle Time through Custom Reports for eClinicalWorks

When you think of eClinicalWorks, chances are your mind immediately races to capturing information about patient encounters, or to practice management functions like scheduling. Yet many medical practices don’t know that eClinicalWorks has the power to unlock a wealth of information that can be vital to growth and profitability. There are nearly limitless possibilities, all of which can come to life through custom reporting. That’s where the Ero Health team of eClinicalWorks report writing experts come in. Here, we present just one example of the many ways you can make a significant impact on your business with custom reports.

Provider Performance’s Impact on Payment Cycle Time

If you ask most practices across the United States, a primary pain point they face is long average time to payment. There are many factors that can affect this, from rejected claims that must be resubmitted to non-timely filing and coding errors. Our partners at RCM360 help practices with these types of things every day. We at Ero Health help clients with some of the other factors. One of those is provider performance, specifically, how fast they can enter and close their notes.

We faced this with a large healthcare system in the Chicago area. The hospital and medical group had taken on a key strategic initiative to enhance patient care and provider performance while reducing overall payment cycle. They realized that the quicker a provider could close and lock their notes for each encounter, the faster the service could be billed – thus reducing their payment cycle time.

Their goal was for providers to enter and close notes within 72 hours, a much quicker timeline than what they were experiencing. To incentivize providers to comply with the new program, their compensation model was changed to quantify this performance. This model would guide each provider’s salary and bonus plan.

The Custom eClinicalWorks Report that Made It Happen

The plan was set, the compensation program was developed, and the program stalled. The health care system realized that they would require a custom report to gather the specific provider performance data they needed. It was critical for them to know what each provider’s appointment-to-close date was in order to fully implement the program that would make the achievement of their strategic initiative possible. The Ero Health team knew just how to make it happen:

  • We worked closely with the internal team, following a process that allowed the client to be very specific in determining the information needed for tracking purposes.
  • This facilitated the development of the report specifications.
  • A baseline report was developed so that the client could understand exactly what data they were looking at. This step helped them make decisions in refining the report as time went on and more data was uncovered.
  • The report was finalized for full implementation. It analyzes the data and generates a scorecard of encounters locked in 72 hours, 14 days, 21 days and beyond.
  • Administration has a snapshot to determine which providers are complying with the 72-hour goal and compensate providers accordingly.

Achieving the Goal

It’s one thing to implement a new program, along with a new report to track what’s happening. It’s another ballgame when the results start piling in – results that show that the providers are jumping in with both feet and working towards the collective goal. In fact, the reports are showing that efficiency has increased, time-to-close is greatly decreasing, and profitability is on the rise. Providers are reaching personal goals they’re now setting for themselves, they feel in control of their compensation, and there’s an impact on everyone’s bottom line. That’s the kind of success you can experience with a custom eClinicalWorks report. Unlock this power today, and make an impact on your business.

Automate your Processes in eClinicalWorks

In today’s world, everyone talks about automation – eliminating manual processes, reducing the risk of human error, and freeing up your staff to do more important and profitable tasks. But when it comes to eClinicalWorks, there is a level of automation available, and some that isn’t inherently built into the system. It takes a team of professionals knowledgeable in the data schema, experienced in medical practice workflows, with the know-how to automate your eClinicalWorks processes. That team is Ero Health.

Automated Medicare Claims Process in eClinicalWorks

While there are many types of processes that Ero Health has automated in eClinicalWorks, one process that’s of utmost importance to the health and sustainability of a practice revolves around Medicare claims.

We recently encountered an RHC practice who found themselves challenged with an ever-growing list of Medicare rejections. Our partner company, RCM360, had been working with this practice to improve their collections and overall revenue cycle management. They called upon us to dig into the system to develop a way to better manage these rejections, with the ultimate goal of successfully collecting money for the services the practice had provided.

Because both the Ero Health and RCM360 team hold extensive experience in working with Medicare issues, we were able to immediately spot the problem. If your practice works with Medicare claims regularly, you may know that Medicare requires a special code at the top of the claim. The claim is then reliant on the first Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code, and all other charges related to the visit must be rolled into that single CPT.

The challenge faced by practices using eClinicalWorks is that while the system has many great functionalities, it is not inherently designed to consolidate these charges. The great news is that Ero Health knows how to make this happen.  Here’s how we tackled the project:

  1. We started with a manual process in which we created an edit inside of eClinicalWorks to stop all Medicare claims before they were submitted so that we could manually update them, rolling all charges associated with the visit into one claim under a single CPT code.
  2. We then developed the Medicare requirements and identified how eClinicalWorks could be used to stop the claim automatically.
  3. Once we validated this process to stop the claim, a procedure was written that would take all of the stopped claims and put them into a separate category within eClinicalWorks based on the Medicare requirements developed above. These requirements must include a UB claim and be identified to the specific type of insurance (in this case, Medicare RHC). Finally, the claim had to meet certain requirements in terms of what CPTs were on the claim. If all requirements were met, the charges would roll up into the top CPT marked for Medicare and all other charges would be marked as zero dollars. If one requirement was missed, it would be placed back into the error category.
  4. All claims were then inserted into the log, the claim status was changed, the CPT logs were changed, and everything associated with the claim was logged at a transaction level.
  5. Finally, the claim was placed in the “ready to submit” category.

The above process automation for Medicare claims within eClinicalWorks was achieved, and all manual entry has been eliminated. This has had a major impact on the efficiency and profitability of the practice. Not only have we greatly minimized the chances of a Medicare claim being rejected, requiring extra work to remedy the situation (and risking not getting paid at all), we’ve also eliminated the need for a costly, manual process.

Since the completion of this project, we’ve implemented the same process for RHCs across the country, and have taken this on for claims directed at private insurance carriers as well.

“But Wait, There’s More!”

The Medicare claims automation process is just one of the many valuable automation possibilities that exist when it comes to eClinicalWorks, and we at Ero Health know how to make them happen. We recently outlined a variety of process automation examples in a recent blog <Link to eClinicalWorks Data Automation and Transformation Blog>, and we invite you to explore how your medical practice could benefit from the many ways you can enhance your use of eClinicalWorks to your business advantage.

Making eClinicalWorks Third-Party Data Transfer Possible

You have data in eClinicalWorks. You may be using a third-party service supporting your practice, or there is a third-party software or service with which you would like to work.  These third-party services and systems could do a much more efficient job for you if they could communicate with your system and exchange data. If only there was a way to make that happen …. Oh, wait! There is!

At Ero Health, we believe that your eClinicalWorks data is there to work for you, helping you enhance patient care and build efficiencies into your practice. We know how to navigate the world of eClinicalWorks functionality, whether it’s available within the system or accessible through a custom process we create outside the system. We’ve done scores of projects over the years providing a specific function or service.  A recent example illustrates what’s possible with data transfer and integration.

Leveraging Third-Party Data Transfer to Facilitate the Collections Process

Many practices contract with collection agencies to help with their A/R aging, outstanding receivables and collecting payments. In these scenarios, patient billing and payment histories must be shared with a third party. In turn, the results of the collection efforts and payments made are shared back to the practice for recording into the patient record in eClinicalWorks. It is potentially a manual and tedious process, full of opportunities for human error.

The good news is that this process can be automated and Ero Health can make it happen. We recently developed the following solution for a client to automate the transfer of data between eClinicalWorks and their collections agency:

  • Patient financial data is extracted from eClinicalWorks for those patients who have outstanding balances with the practice.
  • Data is uploaded to the third-party collection agency, mapped to the appropriate fields in their system.
  • Patient financial information and payment information are then transferred back to the practice, with payments posted within eClinicalWorks.
  • A secure environment is used for the transfer, helping to ensure the security of the data moving back and forth between systems.

In this particular case, Ero Health created the specifications for the project, developed the process by which the data would be transferred, fully tested the data transfer, and executed the go-live once all data was correctly verified.

Other Opportunities for eClinicalWorks Data Transfer

Chances are, your practice must share and report data for a number of reasons, either for patient care or for operational or management needs. This could include:

  • Patient Communications System … eClinicalWorks data can be transferred to third party CRM software such as SalesForce to facilitate communication and trigger health reminders or other important information to your patients.
  • Third-Party Billing Companies … If you use an outsourced billing service, the smooth and efficient transfer of claims and patient billing is key to ensuring steady cash flow to your practice. Ero Health can facilitate the ongoing transfer and receipt of data between systems to support these efforts.
  • Patient Kiosks … There are many options for patient kiosks to allow quick and easy check-in to your office. Demographics and clinical information can be gathered in the waiting room freeing up your staff’s time entering that documentation.  Ero Health has facilitated several solutions allowing the correct data to be transferred to the correct location to and from eClinicalWorks to support these types of solutions.
  • Hospital Rounding … When providing patient care in a location remote to your office, it is important to have the patient information you need and be able to record the correct financial information back into your system for billing. Ero Health has worked with several third-party remote information and data collection vendors to facilitate the transfer of information to allow for remote data access and documentation.

These are just a few of the examples of the type of third-party solutions for which Ero Health could provide automated data transfer. You may have other needs in your practice based on your processes.

Regardless of your needs, and how simple or complex they may be, the Ero Health team has the knowledge and experience with eClinicalWorks to make automated data transfer possible. If you have an idea, or perhaps even a challenge you’re trying to overcome and just don’t know where to start, reach out to us. We can help you develop a solution that will create efficiencies in your practice and add to your bottom line.

eClinicalWorks EMR Data Automation and Transformation

How many times have you thought: “there must be a way to automate this manual and repetitive data entry we are doing.”  Chances are, it’s crossed your mind on more than one occasion. Ero Health has just the solution. We are experts at not just data extraction, but also at data manipulation, transformation, and reporting, putting custom business logic in place and leveraging the information to automate processes while increasing efficiency and accountability across your organization.

Following are just a few examples of solutions we’ve implemented for practices around the country:

Automated Coding in eClinicalWorks

We all know how important it is to properly code various encounters, diagnoses, and results within a patient file. Most of the time, this work is performed manually by a staff member who reviews each encounter and puts the codes on the claim. This is time consuming and it opens the process up to human error – which results in a delay in reimbursement for the work you’ve performed. This can also cause additional time requirements for your staff that could be better spent providing patient care. We can help you change all of this with automated coding. The Ero Health Solution:

  • We develop custom business logic to automate and execute a database review of each encounter. The data is in eClinicalWorks EMR, and the system relies on the external logic we develop to do what needs to be done.
  • The review runs on a nightly basis, scanning all encounters for that day.
  • The scan looks for certain quality items in the clinical documentation, such as specific diagnoses, lab results, or medications prescribed.
  • The process automatically adds the appropriate code to the encounter.

You get the code entry you need, performed in the most efficient, accurate, and timely manner possible, speeding up your reimbursement cycle and freeing up your staff to perform other duties. And, you are able to review the information involved in the quality reporting for PQRS, MIPS, or other initiatives.

eClinicalWorks Automated Referral Documentation and Closing

The majority of your patients likely have a team of providers covering different specialties based on their needs, and they may rely on your referrals to get them the care they need. There is documentation and a closing process required for referrals, but again, it’s typically manual and may not be performed in the timeliest manner. We can automate this:

  • Business logic is developed to automate and execute a database review of all open referrals in your system.
  • If the scan detects that a note has been sent back from the provider to whom the patient has been referred, the process marks the case as closed.
  • If a referral is a certain number of days old (90, 180, or whatever your practice deems appropriate), it is automatically marked closed, or brought to the attention of the appropriate staff person.

This process can help keep your eClinicalWorks up-to-date and free from clutter.

Lab Review Escalation

If you’re like many providers, you get hundreds of lab results every day. While most of them may be routine (and not urgent), there are some that require quick attention. How can you know how to prioritize your review time and give your immediate attention for situations that may be life threatening? Ero Health can implement an automation process for that:

  • Create custom business logic to identify key entries in the patient records and compare them to the most recent lab result.
  • Develop indicators to flag situations – such as high blood sugar levels for diabetic patients – that are serious and in need of attention.
  • Perform database scans throughout the day (for example, once per hour), to reprioritize your review list. Higher urgency results needing quick review are moved up the list and displayed accordingly when you log in.

This automated process helps to ensure you’re quickly addressing patients in need, and results in better patient population health management.

Do we have your mind exploring other items you might be able to automate yet? We hope so! It’s our goal at Ero Health to provide you with solutions that will help you operate more efficiently, enhance your patient care, elevate the patient experience, and appropriately manage items that can impact your ability to get paid in a timely manner. The Ero Health team has many years of experience serving practices, hospitals and physicians’ organizations of all sizes, and we can help you too. Contact us today to learn about the many data automation and transformation options that can take your practice to the next level.

Preparing for Discreet Data Extraction

All great initiatives start with a plan, a great deal of soul searching about exactly what it is you are trying to accomplish, and what you have at your disposal to work with. The process of discreet data extraction from your electronic health records system is no different. Having a plan and knowing what you have – and where you’re going – are critical. We at Ero Health have compiled a list of tips and things to consider as you prepare for your data extraction project:

  1. Do you have current processes in place for capturing your data?

Before we begin any extraction of data, it’s important that we know what processes you currently follow, and if your providers have guidelines for how data is entered. This will help us determine how clean and useful your data is, and what considerations we’ll need to account for as we plan for the extraction. For example, if there is no process in place to guide a provider to type in “ten” versus “10” into a data field, that inconsistent data will mean nothing to the system (the new one or the existing one), and will make mapping the data between systems more challenging.

  1. How will you be using your data once extracted?

There are many reasons for extracting discreet data. You may be importing it into a new EHR, or archiving it. Regardless, your data extraction and the output we provide will be tailored for your specific needs. We’ll either prepare it for useful import into your new system, or provide easily searchable PDF documentation that can be used for archival purposes.

  1. What third-party systems will you need to integrate with?

This is important to know as we prepare your data to be useful in a new EMR environment. For example, if you are routinely interfacing with lab devices, we know that those devices like to receive data in more numeric format versus text.

  1. Will you be consolidating multiple systems?

Preparing to consolidate multiple systems requires a bit more thought and preparation, especially when identifying which fields will be migrated and the names of those fields. For example, “Are you a smoker” is a common piece of information to capture in your EMR. However, the field may be named something different across multiple systems. We’ll help you identify these fields and develop a plan to match them up.

  1. How do you want to view your data in the new system?

If you are moving to a new system, you have a choice of how you will see your data in the new system.  However, the detail to which you would like to view the data will affect the cost of the data extraction and import.  You can decide to simply have a summary document created that can be referred to when a new patient is documented in the new system.  Alternatively, you can decide to have individual discrete data points transferred over to the system.  We can assist you in discussion the costs and benefits of each option.

No matter your reasons for extracting discreet data, making sure the data is clean and consistent is the best way to prepare. If you need a discreet data extraction, contact Ero Health today! We have extensive experience, and can create custom solutions to fit your needs.

Quality Reporting

Whether you are a practice or a third-party vendor, it’s become essential to export data for quality reporting. Programs like CPC+, MIPS and MACRA have measures practices must follow and for which data needs to be reported. Quality reporting helps practices get a better view of how they’re doing against the measures, and it can be frustrating when the data is difficult to retrieve.

There are hundreds of measures for patients that practices can record, but practices typically report 15-30 measures, sometimes more. Measures practices take for patient care can include:

  • Depression screening
  • Allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Labs
  • Tests
  • Personal measures

How Else is Quality Reporting Used?

Governmental reporting programs aren’t the only programs that want to see quality reporting. Insurance companies use the data from quality reporting for patient population management. Major insurance providers in many states have started asking all of the practices they serve for this data. Having diagnoses for an entire geographical region in one database can be extremely useful for insurance companies. They can then monitor population health and determine what percentage of the population have certain conditions.

At Ero Health, we’ve been doing these sorts of exports for over ten years. We extract and translate data into a format that is compatible for import into a common database. Quality reporting is important to ensure diseases are under control. They help track what treatments are most successful, and whether or not a provider is fulfilling their role to help patients control chronic diseases.

What’s the difference between exporting and reporting in this case? From the governmental standpoint, it’s the same thing in this case. Once exported, the data may first go to an Account of Care Organization (ACO) which completes the quality reporting.

While eClinicalWorks does have some of this capability, third-party management can sometimes provide a clearer view of what’s really happening.

How Quality Reporting Benefits You

While gathering and reporting quality data can sometimes seem difficult and time consuming, quality reporting can easily segue into a better overview of your own population’s health. Not only does this benefit your patients, it can benefit your organization’s revenue stream as well. For instance, you could contact every female patient you have over 40 reminding them to have a mammogram. This not only improves their health, it also potentially increases your practice’s finances. Instead of using the data reactively, you can use it proactively. There’s no reason why focusing on care can’t also mean profitable business practices.

Quality reporting is more than just complying with government regulations; it’s about improving the lives of your patients, and improving the way you do business. If you need help with your quality reporting, Ero Health can help. Contact us today.

Associated vs. Unassociated

You went into healthcare to help people. Who knew there’d be so many reports? Electronic health records can give you a lot of information to sort through, which is why Ero Health is here to make sense of what you need to know. Today, we’ll be reviewing associated vs. unassociated when it comes to running reports. eClinicalWorks uses these terms in many of their standard reports. Without an understanding of what they mean, it can cause much confusion when trying to compare the various reports.

When you run a report for a month, you have options for what payments you want to see included in the report: the associated or the unassociated payment.

Unassociated payments are all of the payments you have received within a certain date range. This means that all payments received within the date range will be included for any charges for any dates, not necessarily for the dates of service specified in the report. So, some of those payments may be associated with previous date ranges.

When you select associated payments, it will only show the payments that are associated with charges entered in the selected date range. This can help you see payments just on the services for the selected date range.

As you can imagine, associated vs. unassociated amounts can be very different. Which one you choose can be dependent on how your accounting team wants to view and recognize revenue. Most people prefer to see all of the money that comes in for the date range. However, for reporting it can be helpful to keep track of which payments are associated with that billing period.

At Ero Health, we have years of experience with eClinicalWorks reporting, and can assist you with your reporting needs, including custom logic for reports tailored just for your practice and what your accounting team would like to see. To learn more, contact us today!

eBO Output

eClinicalWorks is a great tool for many practices, providing great capabilities for managing data. We at Ero Health also know that not all practices are the same. Each has a set of unique needs and challenges in their use of the technology. When it comes to extracting data, there are specific requirements for reporting to government agencies, ACOs, quality reporting organizations, or any number of third parties. Many practices have turned to us as they’ve encountered challenges in extracting this data. If this situation sounds familiar, you’re in luck. Ero Health is here to provide you options, just like we’ve done for our clients for years.

Ero Health has experience working with eClinicalWorks practices pulling data, and even providing automation of reports and extraction of data. We have had clients turn to us after attempting to get the data they need for several months, only to have us find a solution within a month, or less.

When we create these reports, we customize them to produce the data that is needed in the desired format.  We also provide a way to view the data in a readable format before extraction. Often data is difficult to read, but we format it in an easy-to-read manner so you know what you are exporting.

eClinicalWorks Hosted

eClinicalWorks databases and host servers cannot be accessed natively on your Cloud server. Having the ability to share data with a third party is often essential to your workflow when dealing with clinical, practice management or billing information. Ero Health uses eBO, the native application in eCW for reporting, to extract data from a practice’s eClinicalWorks-hosted application. This report can be scheduled to run on a periodic basis, exported to a file and shared by the client to a third party if needed.

Custom extract reports in eBO can be used to access any data that is available in your eCW database.  With Ero Health’s long history and experience in working the eClinicalworks data, we can typically provide everything that is needed even if it is not available in the eBO metadata.

This is useful for various purposes, like leveraging your data for:

  • Insurance companies
  • Appointment follow-ups or reminder systems
  • Customer surveys
  • Quality Reporting
  • 3rdParty Patient Payment solutions.

Hosted Locally

If your eCW database is hosted locally, or with another third-party hosting solution, Ero Health can provide many other options for extracting data.  With direct database access there are additional options for automation.  This allows the staff to become more efficient and focus more on patient care.

Ero Health can simplify the process in the practice and create fast, accurate and efficient custom eBO reporting for your eClinicalWorks. Clients who have used our services once, typically come back to us for all of their reporting needs. We can help you too. Contact Ero Health today!