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AOA offers trio of new HIT courses

February 8, 2012

With the American health system rapidly adopting both advanced information technology and pay-for-performance reimbursement systems, the AOA Clinical and Practice Advancement Group (AOA CPAG) is  launching its new  Navigating Meaningful Use and Quality Reporting with Electronic Health Records (EHR) continuing education program to help optometrists better understand health information technology (HIT) and the often interrelated world of financial incentive programs.

“The Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (EHR) Incentive Programs are entering their second year.  The Medicare e-Prescribing Incentive Program is in its third. So is the Medicare Physician Quality Reporting System,” noted Philip Gross, O.D., chair of the AOA’s Practice Advancement Committee and HIT Subcommittee. “These three programs are just part of an overall effort to enhance the quality of American health care through the use of information technology and the quality-of-care reporting it can make possible. Clearly optometrists today must adopt EHRs and related technology, such as e-prescribing, if they wish to be an integral part of the health care system. Moreover, to keep their practices financially viable, optometrists must take advantage of HIT-related incentive programs that are now available and understand how information technology will ultimately provide the infrastructure for pay-for-performance reimbursement  programs in the future.” 

Building on AOA CPAG’s highly successful program of EHR continuing education courses at Optometry’s Meeting and state optometric association meetings last year, the new Navigating Meaningful Use and Quality Reporting with EHRs initiative will this year offer a selection of three two-hour classes designed to provide the specific HIT guidance practitioners need, whether they are just now planning to initiate EHRs in the offices, implementing basic HIT functions such as e-prescribing, hoping to earn substantial Medicare or Medicaid incentive payments by meeting government standards for the “meaningful use” of EHRs, or planning to use HIT to facilitate participation in Medicare’s PQRS quality reporting program.

  • EHR Software Selection and Implementation is an entry-level HIT course for optometrists who plan to implement EHR technology in the coming months. It includes an overview EHR terms and concepts, a guide to shopping for the EHR system best suited to a practice, an in-depth discussion on the impact EHRs can have on a practice from workflow to reimbursement, and a practical strategy for EHR implementation in a practice.
  • EHR Incentive Programs and Meaningful Use Update is a more advanced course for practitioners who have already implemented EHRs and are now preparing to take part in the Medicare or Medicaid EHR incentive program. This course details both the Medicare and Medicaid programs, covering requirements, incentives, penalties, and the registration and attestation processes. Meaningful Use objectives are covered extensively with information on requirements, clinical implications, exemptions, and compliance issue.
  • Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and e-Prescribing Made Easy explains how EHR systems can facilitate participation on the Medicare PQRS or other quality reporting programs. It also details the use of e-prescribing as either an EHR function or stand-alone process. In addition to explaining the financial incentives available, the course emphasizes the clinical importance of PQRS participation and e-prescribing. Examples of successful PQRS participation and e-prescribing are highlighted.  A process for the successful implementation of PQRS reporting and e‐prescribing is outlined.

Like last year’s popular AOA Enhancing Patient Care through the Implementation of EHRs continuing education courses, the new Navigating Meaningful Use and Quality Reporting with EHRs courses will be presented by a roster of nationally recognized experts on EHR implementation in optometric practice.

One or more of the new courses will be offered at the 2012 Optometry’s Meeting® (June 27 – July 1) in Chicago as well as at 20 state optometric association meetings during 2012.

State optometric associations can provide information on the specific courses that will be offered during their meetings.

Demonstrations of EHR systems will be offered by leading software vendors following the courses at Optometry’s Meeting.

All three of the lectures are COPE-approved.

The “Navigating Meaningful Use and Quality Reporting with EHRs” courses have been developed as part of the new AOA EHR Preparedness Program for Optometry, sponsored by Codex Techworks, Compulink, Eyefinity, First Insight, FoxFire Systems Group, Kowa, Marco, Practice Director (a division of the Williams Group), QuikEyes, and RevolutionEHR.

For additional information and course updates, see the AOA Web site EHR page (www.aoa.org/EHR).

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