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7 ways gMed’s Endoscopy Report Writer improves efficiency and patient care
Germantown, Tenn.-based Gastro One embarked on the journey to be able to digitize its patients’ medical records and more efficiently gather patient data about the same time as gMed, a Modernizing Medicine company, was setting out to create gastroenterology software to improve efficiency and outcomes for gastroenterologists. Today, Gastro One, which now includes 33 physicians and three endoscopy centers after its merger with Memphis Gastroenterology Group in July of 2014, is proud to call itself one of the first adopters of gMed’s solution, gGastro.
That’s partly because gGastro has become the award-winning gastroenterology electronic health records (EHR) system that includes a patient portal, practice management solution, data exchange application and Endoscopy Report Writer (ERW).
“When all the physicians met together as we were discussing the merger between the practices, we decided to go with gMed’s gGastro suite of products because it’s so intuitive and follows the way doctors think,” says Richard Aycock, MD, senior vice president of Gastro One. “There are a lot of subtleties in it for customization, but it’s repetitive and gives you a high-quality note without requiring a long learning curve.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2015, 86.9 percent of office-based physicians used an EHR system, and the majority at that time had applied or planned to apply for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs. Solo practitioners had a lower EHR adoption rate, at 64 percent, compared with 70 percent among medical and surgical specialists. As an early adopter of EHR and electronic data gathering software, Gastro One physicians have experience with several systems and watched them evolve through the years.
“In our area, we deal with multiple different endoscopy writer systems because we do a lot of work at different hospitals that are all on different systems,” says Dr. Aycock. “I’m very versed in the different endoscopy writer programs and I can tell you from an efficiency standpoint, nothing comes close to gMed’s Endoscopy Report Writer.”
The EHR generates detailed procedure reports and is designed to streamline the documentation process. The solution includes procedure notes, referring physician letters and discharge notes and fully integrates with the company’s EHR and Nursing Notes to automatically update data between offices, ASCs and hospital information systems.
The platform has another key differentiator that makes it preferable for physicians. Many endoscopy writer systems on the market today take the “ribbon approach” that requires physicians to navigate through their report by clicking on one polyp at a time to see the images; gMed’s Endoscopy Report Writer includes all of the polyps available on a single screen and the images integrate into the report.
“The ribbon method is cumbersome and slows us down,” says Dr. Aycock. “The EHR puts all the information in front of you. It’s extremely seamless and integrates with the gGastro suite of products. All the background information built in ICD-10 codes with the specific polyp locations are automated so the physician doesn’t have to re-enter data.”
Nationwide, gMed’s solutions are operating in approximately 400 practices and used by more than 3,200 physicians nationwide in practices, ASCs and hospitals. The system also connects to the GI Quality Improvement Consortium registry and has become one of the largest specialty EHR companies in the United States. Here are seven ways gMed’s gGastro technology may benefit gastroenterology centers.
Quality reporting compliance. gMed’s GIQuIC is an approved registry for CMS’ Physician Quality Reporting System, Merit-based Incentive Payment System and the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, which ensures physicians and practices are compliant with data reporting in each program. The company’s gGastro EHR has been Meaningful Use certified annually since 2011. “We have met PQRS and Meaningful Use along the way based on the Endoscopy Report Writer and GIQuIC data,” says Dr. Aycock. “We are dependent on the endoscopy writer for all this.”
Meaningful Use has three stages that gMed’s solutions can help GI physicians achieve; when physicians meet all criteria, they become eligible for incentive payments. Stage 1 criteria includes EHR adoption and meeting clinical quality measures; Stage 2 includes demonstrating that the practice uses the EHR technology to improve patient care; and Stage 3 promotes using the EHR to improve patient outcomes.
Even without the incentive payments, meeting Meaningful Use criteria gives practices better information to diagnose and treat patients, improve the quality of care and empower patients to become more involved in their treatment.
- Patient flow and efficiency. The EHR improves patient flow and efficiency at the center by time stamping each step of the process from check-in to preop, entering the endoscopy suite, entering the recovery room and checkout. Practice physicians are then able to monitor where patients were slowed and make improvements to the process. “The Endoscopy Report Writer is completely central to managing our patient flow and how we make improvements to increase efficiency,” says Dr. Aycock.
- Interoperability with other providers. The EHR automatically updates to promote interoperability so that all clinicians working with the patient can see the most up-to-date report in real time. The reports are designed to streamline the documentation process including procedure notes, referring physician letters, and discharge notes. The fully integrated system also provides advanced tools to promote quality of care and compliance with hospital and community information exchanges.
- Patient education and satisfaction. Using the EHR, physicians can print a report, including the patient’s images, to use as a tool when discussing colonoscopy results. Patients can take the report home and share it with their families and primary care physicians. “When I complete my note, it automatically prints copies for the patients and referring physicians so they know in real time their patient’s colonoscopy results,” says Dr. Aycock. “When the patient leaves my office, they get an abbreviated copy of the procedure notes with the integrated photo and we explain our findings. It makes for a very good patient encounter and our patients are very complimentary of how efficient everything goes.”
- Clinical benchmarking and outcomes improvement. Gastro One gathers the GIQuIC data for internal benchmarking purposes. The practice monitors 100 percent of its colonoscopies and gathers data on every physician’s procedures; each physician receives a report on cecum and adenoma detection rates to identify areas for improvement.
Last year, the practice’s physicians performed approximately 23,000 colonoscopies and the leadership in the Gastro One practice could spot downward trends among physicians and harness the data to work with those physicians on improving outcomes.
“We monitor the data so if a physician’s ADR falls off, we have internal help and training to make sure skills are maintained,” says Dr. Aycock. “That comes out of the Endoscopy Report Writer. We don’t just spot check the ADRs, we gather all the data for complete accuracy.”
- Coding and billing efficiency. Since the EHR integrates with gGastro, the system generates a report for the billing department and submits the charge sheet information. All information is automatically changed in real time when a clinician makes updates to the records. “It is a seamless process across the entire system,” says Dr. Aycock. “The whole practice management system is integrated across one platform. I don’t have to submit separate billing diagnosis codes or a charge sheet; it all goes in based on our report findings.”
The report uploads into GIQuIC to avoid redundant information input and facilitate quality reporting. The system is designed to encourage timely payment, reduce claims denials from incorrect coding and create efficiencies in the process to allow for better resource allocation.
- Technology support. Physician practices need a technology team behind them to identify and fix any issues with their medical record systems. However, most groups don’t have the budget to build an in-house technology department. For gMed customers, that’s not an issue; the company offers in-depth technical training and comprehensive support services to its customers.
“Our electronic medical records are server-based and after we merged, we realized we didn’t have adequate server power for our system,” says Dr. Aycock. “gMed’s qualified and competent server technicians analyzed the problem and help us expand. We’ve seen significant improvements since then.”