Old Dogs and New Tricks
Can Dr. Wilson make the changes at his practice on his own, or does he need help?
Is Dr. Wilson concerned about meaningful use?
Ben’s patient sighed heavily. “I know I should eat better, sleep more, exercise, and all that, Dr. Wilson, but it’s hard to change at my age.”
“Lifestyle changes can be hard at any age,” Ben agreed, “but the chiropractic lifestyle will make a difference for you.”
“I was planning on dying young,” his patient joked, “but I never got around to it.”
“I hear you! But since you’re going to be around for a lot longer than you expected, it makes sense to work on those changes. Try just doing one thing at a time. When that gets easy, move on to the next change.”
“Okay, but you know what they say — you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!”
As Ben prepared for the next patient, he thought about the changes he was going to have to make to meet the October 1 deadline for meaningful use reporting. Providers who had met Stage 1 meaningful use requirements now had to meet Stage 2 requirements, plus having to use 2014-certified software, even if they had used 2011-certified software for Stage 1. The incentives would be nice, but somehow it all seemed more complex now than it had when he had opened his practice.
Dr. Wilson remembered his patient saying, “It’s hard to change at my age.” But he didn’t really feel that he was so much older than he had been the first time he’d thought about meaningful use. Maybe it really was more complicated this time around — or maybe, he thought as he listened to the bustle of the practice outside his door, his practice was more complicated.
Getting everybody on board for something new was naturally going to be harder than setting things up for himself, and of course he had a lot more patients now, plus a family, so he had less free time. And of course handling the records of a dozen patients was a lot simpler than dealing with the number of records in the current system.
When he had looked at the objectives and measures he’d have to meet, Ben realized that he couldn’t really tell whether he was in compliance or not without doing a lot of work with the data in the system, and he wasn’t sure he had anyone on staff who would find that kind of analysis easy.
Ben always advised patients to take small steps and work up to big changes, but that might not be a possibility for the meaningful use requirements, since there was a deadline looming. Maybe he needed to form an action group at the practice — or get some outside help.
Disclaimer: For HIPAA compliance, all characters appearing in this post are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons or actual events is purely coincidental.
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