Free Hospital EMR and EHR Newsletter Want to receive the latest news on EMR, Meaningful Use, ARRA and Healthcare IT sent straight to your email? Join thousands of healthcare pros who subscribe to Hospital EMR and EHR for FREE!

Insights, Intelligence and Inspiration found at #AHIMACon18 – HIM Scene

Posted on October 15, 2018 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Beth Friedman, BSHA, RHIT.

Last month’s HIM Scene predicted important HIM insights would be gained at the 90th AHIMA Annual Convention. And this prediction certainly came true! Thousands of HIM professionals discussed changes to E&M coding, physician documentation and information security during the organization’s Miami event. HIM’s expanding role in healthcare analytics was also recognized. Half of AHIMA’s “hot topics” presentations covered data collection, analytics, sharing, structure and governance.

For example, HIM’s role in IT project management was the focus of an information-packed session led by Angela Rose, MHA, RHIA, CHPS, FAHIMA, Vice President, Implementation Services at MRO. She emphasized how enterprise-wide IT projects benefit from HIM’s knowledge of the patient’s health record, encounter data, how information is processed and where information flows. In today’s rapid IT environment, there is a myriad of new opportunities for HIM—the annual AHIMA convention casts light on them all.

Amid all the futurecasting, AHIMA attendees also received valuable insights and fundamental best-practice advice for the profession’s stalwart tasks: enterprise master person index (EMPI), clinical coding and release of information (ROI). Here are few of the highlights.

Merger Mania Brings Duplicate Data Challenges

Every healthcare merger includes strategic discussions, planning and investments focused on health IT. System consolidation can’t be avoided—and it shouldn’t be. Economies of scale are a fundamental element of merger success. However, merging multiple systems into one means merging multiple master person indexes (MPIs).

Letha Stewart, MA, RHIA, Director of Customer Relations, QuadraMed states, “It’s not uncommon to see duplicate medical record rates jump from an industry average of 8-12 percent to over 50 percent during IT system mergers due to the high volume of overlapping records that result when trying to merge records from multiple systems or domains”. As entities come together, a single, clean EMPI is fundamental for patient care, safety, billing and revenue. This is where HIM skills and know-how are essential.

Instead of leaving HIM to perform the onerous task of duplicate data cleanup after a merger and IT system consolidation, Stewart suggests a more proactive approach. Here are four quick takeaways from our meeting:

  • Identify duplicate data issues during the planning process before new systems are implemented or merged.
  • Use a probabilistic duplicate detection algorithm to find a higher number of valid duplicates and lower number of false positives.
  • Clean up each system’s MPI before IT system consolidation occurs and as implementations proceed. Be sure to allocate sufficient time for this process prior to the conversion.
  • Maintain ongoing duplicate data detection against the new enterprise patient population to prevent future issues.

Maintaining a clean MPI has always been a core HIM function—even back to the days of patient index cards and rotating metal bins. Technology in combination with merger mania has certainly upped the ante and elevated HIM’s role.

Release of Information Panel Raises Red Flags for Bad Attorney Behavior

Another traditional HIM function with nascent issues is ROI. A standing-room-only panel session raised eyebrows and concern for AHIMA attendees regarding a pervasive issue for most HIM departments: patient-directed requests.

Rita Bowen, MA, RHIA, CHPS, CHPC, SSGB, VP Privacy, Compliance and HIM Privacy, MRO, moderated the panel that included other ROI and disclosure management experts. Bowen, a healthcare privacy savant, asked how many attendees receive patient-directed requests that are actually initiated by an attorney’s office. Dozens of hands went up and the discourse began. Here’s the issue.

To avoid paying providers’ fees for record retrieval and copies, attorneys are requesting medical records for legal matters under the guise of a patient-directed request. During the session, four recommended strategies emerged:

  • Inform your state legislators of this bad attorney behavior
  • Discuss the issue with HIM peers in your area
  • Hold meetings with your OCR representative to determine the best course of action
  • Question and verify suspicious patient-directed requests to clarify and confirm the consent

Finally, no AHIMA convention would be complete without significant attention to clinical coding!

Coding Accuracy Takes Center Stage

One of the AHIMA convention’s annual traditions includes announcement of Central Learning’s annual national coding contest results. Eileen Tkacik, Vice President, Information Technology at Pena4, sponsor of the 3rd annual nationwide coding contest to measure coding accuracy, reported that inpatient coding accuracy fell slightly in 2018 compared with the 2017 results. “Average accuracy scores for inpatient ICD-10 coding hovered at 57.5 percent while outpatient coding accuracy experienced a slight bump from 41 percent in 2017 to 42.5 percent in 2018,” according to Tkacik.

While some were concerned about the results, others expected a decline as payers become more aggressive with coding denials and impose greater restrictions on coders’ ability to determine clinical justification. This is especially true for chronic conditions—another hot coding topic among AHIMA attendees.

Nena Scott, MSEd, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, CCDS, Director of Coding Quality and Professional Development at TrustHCS, emphasized the need for accurate hierarchical condition category (HCC) code assignment for proper risk adjustment factor (RAF) scoring under value-based reimbursement. Everything physicians capture—and everything that can be coded—goes into the patient’s dashboard to impact the HCCs, which are now an important piece of the healthcare reimbursement puzzle.

Finally, Catrena Smith, CCS, CCS-P, CPCO, CPC, CIC, CPC-I, CRC, CHTS-PW, Coding Manager at KIWI-TEK, presented an informative session on the new coder’s roadmap to accuracy and compliance. She reiterated the need for compliance with coding guidelines and shared examples of whistleblower cases. In addition, Smith provided valuable pointers for newly employed clinical coders to consider:

  • Understand the important role that coders play in compliance
  • Know the fraud and abuse laws
  • Implement checks and balances to compare payer-driven code requirements to best-practice coding guidelines
  • Review the components of an effective compliance plan
  • Do not participate in fraudulent activities because coders and billers can be held civilly and/or criminally liable

Inspiration Found at the Beach and on the Dance Floor

Beyond the convention center, the educational sessions and the exhibit hall, I made time at this year’s AHIMA convention to enjoy the beach. Two power walks and a few meditation moments were the icing on my #AHIMACon18 cake this year. I intentionally found time to enjoy the warm sunshine and moonlit evening festivities including MRO’s signature event and AHIMA’s blanca party. Dressed in white, AHIMA attendees kicked up their heels to celebrate 90 years of convention fun—and think about AHIMA 2019 to be held September 14–19 in Chicago, Illinois. We’ll see you there!

About Beth Friedman
Beth Friedman is the founder and CEO of Agency Ten22, a healthcare IT marketing and public relations firm and proud sponsor of the Healthcare IT Marketing and PR Community. She started her career as a medical record coder and has been attending the AHIMA conference for over 20 years. Beth can be reached at

Thoughts On The Quality Systems Transaction – What Does It Mean for Ambulatory EMR?

Posted on November 9, 2015 I Written By

David Chou is the Vice President / Chief Information & Digital Officer for Children’s Mercy Kansas City. Children’s Mercy is the only free-standing children's hospital between St. Louis and Denver and provide comprehensive care for patients from birth to 21. They are consistently ranked among the leading children's hospitals in the nation and were the first hospital in Missouri or Kansas to earn the prestigious Magnet designation for excellence in patient care from the American Nurses Credentialing Center Prior to Children’s Mercy David held the CIO position at University of Mississippi Medical Center, the state’s only academic health science center. David also served as senior director of IT operations at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and CIO at AHMC Healthcare in California. His work has been recognized by several publications, and he has been interviewed by a number of media outlets. David is also one of the most mentioned CIOs on social media, and is an active member of both CHIME and HIMSS. Subscribe to David's latest CXO Scene posts here and follow me at Twitter Facebook.

The top news last week was from Quality Systems Inc., which owns physician software vendor NextGen Healthcare Information Systems. The news was that NextGen will acquire HealthFusion Holdings, another ambulatory vendor, for $165 million (NextGen also sold their hospital division to QuadraMed the week before). As healthcare systems are consolidating, we are also seeing the consolidation happen on the vendor side and the payer side. The shrinking healthcare profit margin has an effect on the entire industry.

What is next for the ambulatory space?

  1. Physician Groups Joining Health Systems

As we move towards creating a clinical integrated network, the number of physician groups and independent physicians will also decrease where the majority will join an ACO or become an employee for the health systems. The decrease in medical groups and the consolidation of the medical groups will have a huge impact on the ambulatory EMR space. The industry will see a shift in the ambulatory EMR systems transition to the same EMR system that is used by the health systems, so I see a big pickup for the Cerner and Epic in the ambulatory world.

  1. Enterprise EMR

The enterprise EMR will have bigger demands from their clients to focus on the ambulatory side. Health systems are utilizing their technology investments as part of the outreach and growth strategy so it is vital that the clinics and medical groups have a system that fits their workflow. Many industry leading healthcare organizations are becoming a software EMR vendor by providing their ambulatory system to smaller hospitals, rural clinics, and physician groups that cannot afford the technology investment of an enterprise system.

This will be a very interesting space to watch in the next year. We’ll see which players will survive and see what their strategies will be moving forward. I have been providing advisory services for many health systems in regards to their strategy for maximizing their technology investment and making it a revenue-generating tool. So I will be keeping a close eye on this space and sharing insights with you on CXO Scene going forward.

If you’d like to receive future health care C-Level executive posts by David in your inbox, you can subscribe to future Health Care CXO Scene posts here.

KLAS Reports Cerner and Epic Combined to Capture More Than 3/4 of New Large Hospital EMR Contracts

Posted on August 28, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This tweet and associated messages are circling all around social media. Here’s the short description of the KLAS report:

HITECH has drastically changed the acute care EMR market. Previous industry mainstays like GE Healthcare and QuadraMed have effectively dropped out. McKesson has promoted their community hospital solution, Paragon, over their former flagship, Horizon. Allscripts, MEDITECH, and Siemens are all racing to recover from past stumbles and regain market share. Since meaningful use became a reality, Cerner and Epic have captured a large majority of new hospital contracts. However, there are still many decisions to be made in coming years and the remaining market is potentially more competitive than in years past.

For those of us following the industry, this isn’t really big news. Cerner and Epic have been battling for the big hospitals for quite a while. In fact, coming out of this year’s HIMSS I was more interested in the battle for small hospitals than large hospitals. Of course, we’ll see how hospital consolidation affects this as well.

What does seem clear and this report confirms is that Epic and Cerner all well positioned in the large hospital EMR market. I predict they’ll dominate until at least the end of meaningful use.

Top Inpatient EHR Vendors – 2013 Black Book Rankings

Posted on February 22, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I think that most of you know how I feel about the various EHR ranking systems. They all have their issues, but they are another interesting data point in the search for the right EHR. Plus, the EHR ranking trends over time can be interesting. Not to mention, it’s hard not to look at a post that has rankings. It’s almost un-American not to look.

So, I figured I’d post some of the Black Book Rankings over the next week. The following are the Top Ranked EHR Vendors for Inpatient Hospital Systems, Chains and IDN (in alphabetical order).


Not too many surprises on the list. Was their any Hospital EHR vendor that you think should have made it on this list? I think this list would be more interesting if it just ranked the top 5 Hospital EHR vendors.

Other EHR Options When Epic Denies You

Posted on January 18, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I got the following email from the CIO of a hospital.

They’ve [Quadramed] got the whole ONC-ATCB certified EHR for Phase 1 MU (although the point in your post is valid about that certification being fairly general anymore). They are working on obtaining and integrating/interfacing ambulatory functionality for physician practices, but for hospitals they have some pretty good sized hospitals running their QCPR product. KLAS includes them in their evaluation of EHR vendors (along with the likes of Allscripts, Cerner, Epic, GE, McKesson, Meditech, and Siemens) although they clearly don’t have as many installed hospitals that most of that list has. They also need to develop some real patient portal type of functionality to stay certified for future MU Phases. Not a market leader, but they are a market player. In spirit of full disclosure, we are almost live with Quadramed product, and we will be using it as a full EHR for both inpatient and outpatient care settings. We could not afford the bigger vendor solutions, and Epic wouldn’t even talk with us because we are below their minimum size to qualify for their sales efforts….only vendor I’ve seen that has that luxury of flat out ignoring possible business. We didn’t like the inflexibility of the lower end EHR vendors, and Quadramed provided a lot of the flexibility of bigger vendors for the price of the smaller vendors.

I’d love to learn where other hospital CIOs turn when Epic won’t give them the time of day. Considering Epic’s hospital size requirements and who they will work with, this is more hospitals than not. I started a list of hospital EMR and EHR vendors that might help. Where do hospital CIOs go when Epic isn’t an option? Is there a Denied by Epic support group somewhere online where hospital CIOs can commiserate?

Which Hospital Vendor Solutions Are a Fit for the Community and Mid-Size Hospital Space?

Posted on December 29, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

The following are some of the vendors often under consideration:

  • Allscripts: The Eclipsys Sunrise platform has proven clinical functionality. Strong outpatient strategy via Allscripts.
  • Cerner: Has been among the most aggressive in adapting a large hospital solution for the community space. A proven clinical platform which is made more consumable by the introduction of the remote-hosted version.
  • Epic: Has dominated the large hospital market. Not accustomed to selling to hospitals with less than 300 beds (unless it is a children’s hospital). Some community hospitals are piggybacking on a larger organization’s investment in Epic, making these larger hospitals act as solutions providers to other hospitals – i.e. acting as vendors.
  • McKesson: Paragon has a lot of momentum in the community and mid-size hospital space. They are rolling out CPOE functionality.
  • Meditech: The most successful (and affordable) integrated platform in the community hospital market. Huge number of legacy installs. The go-forward is Version 6.
  • QuadraMed: Has a sizable client base in the middle of the market. Proven clinical adoption. Clients wonder where the core clinical product is going in terms of development.
  • Siemens: Soarian has several installs in community and mid-size hospitals. Has gained CPOE adoption. Little clinical enhancement with MedSeries4 and still working out which is the preferred solution for this market – Soarian or MS4.

CPSI, Healthland, HMS, and NextGen are pushing up into the small end.

What is on the horizon?

Large hospital vendors are redoubling their efforts to win business in the community hospital space, which, in turn, causes vendors with small hospital solutions to reinvest in their products in order to prove clinical functionality and adoption. These two groups of vendors are coming at the market from different places, but providers benefit all the same.

Guest Post: Jeremy Bikman is Chairman at KATALUS Advisors, a strategic consulting firm focused on the healthcare vertical. We help vendors grow, guide hospitals into the future, and advise private equity groups on their investments. Our clients are found in North America, Europe, and Asia.

The principals of KATALUS Advisors have worked with hundreds of healthcare organizations, vendors, and other consulting firms across the globe. The opinions expressed here are our own and are not intended to promote any specific vendor and do not reflect those of any other organization or individual.

Hospitals Choosing EMRs/EHRs Based on Integrated Options

Posted on August 5, 2011 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare branding and communications expert with more than 25 years of industry experience. and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also worked extensively healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. She can be reached at @ziegerhealth or

For quite some time, hospitals have chosen to patch together existing systems and link them to their new, fancy EMR/EHR system. But lately, EMRs that offer better end-to-end integration are beginning to be hospitals’ first choices, according to research released last month by healthcare vendor research firm KLAS.

As everyone knows, Meaningful Use rules have thrown hospital EMR adoption efforts into high gear over the past couple of years. Just as importantly, MU gave providers an excuse to spend on new, integrated clinical data technology rather than slapping together old clinical systems with spackle and electrical tape.

Not only are the new, integrated systems easier to use — as they make it simpler to review and manage data across the enterprise — they’re also easier to maintain, KLAS notes. Of course, integrated systems created the dreaded vendor lock-in, but these days perhaps that’s a risk hospitals have decided to face.

Recent KLAS data on hospitals with over 200 beds suggests that the Epic juggernaut continues to pick up speed. Apparently, Epic ranked first in new hospital contracts for hospitals in this size range. According to KLAS, Epic is impressing hospitals with its ability to integrate systems, even though, in KLAS’ words, “they lag behind in technology and are not the cheapest solution available.”  (Hey, KLAS said it, not me.)

Another vendor turning up among KLAS’ winners’ list is Cerner, which came in second after Epic. Many of the new Cerner sales were to existing customers who’d previously implemented the big vendor’s system in other facilities, KLAS reports.

Just for the record, other EMR/EHR vendors doing well in the 200+ bed hospital category include Allscripts (Eclipsys), GE Healthcare, McKesson, NEDITECH, QuadraMed and Siemens.

My bet is that the high-ticket EMR spending spree will slow down within a year or so, as hospital IT directors begin to feel, well, rooked by the big-ticket vendors selling jury-rigged, hard-to-use technology. But for the time being, I guess price is, well, not too big an object.