Welcome to the 2012 Behavioral Healthcare IT Vendor Survey, our annual look at the growing range of information technology products and solutions from vendors who serve the behavioral health industry.
In 2011, many vendors scrambled to certify their electronic health record (EHR) systems as a means of demonstrating that their products would support the new set of Stage 1 “Meaningful Use” measures. At the same time, a growing number of eligible providers (EPs) began the process of qualifying for the incentive funding made available for the adoption and use of certified EHR technology.
Eligible providers (EPs) who wish to qualify for financial incentives for adopting and using EHRs under terms of The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 must do two things: purchase or use “certified” HER technology and demonstrate, through three successively more challenging stages, that they are meaningfully using it.
This first step in the incentives qualification process requires only that EPs attest for themselves (or for their employer/agency) that incentive funds will be used to implement a certified EHR. The Stage 1 MU measures, which include 15 “core set” and 10 “menu set” measures, were joined just last week by a new, slightly longer list of Stage 2 MU measures.
IT vendors who want to offer certified (incentive eligible) EHR technology must have their products “certified” by an “authorized testing and certification body” that is authorized by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The certification process evaluates the features intended to support meaningful use of the EHR system in one of two settings—Inpatient or Ambulatory—and, if the software “passes” the test, the testing body issues either a “complete” or “modular” certification.
A “complete” certification means that an EHR system (in the version/configuration specified on the certification) has the capability to support all core-set and menu-set requirements for Stage 1 of meaningful use. A “modular” certification means that the software supports at least one of the requirements.
Ultimately, a provider who wants to demonstrate meaningful use has to have a “complete” EHR system. But, there’s some flexibility in how to get one. Many providers will opt to buy a “complete” EHR system from a single vendor, but more sophisticated (and IT-rich) organizations can assemble or create their own through a “mix and match” of modular components.
But to qualify for HITECH EHR incentive funds, these “mix and match” systems must also pass certification testing, with testing expenses borne by their owners.
Parts of the 2012 IT Vendor Survey
The 2012 Behavioral Healthcare IT Vendor Survey divides IT vendors’ products into two categories: The uppermost list is for those who categorize their major product as an electronic health record (EHR) system. The lower list contains IT products whose functionality serves other vital behavioral health operations.
Both lists then detail:
· Market Segments Served, with numerical codes for various providers, payers, and governmental authorities for whom the system or functionality is intended.
· Platform, which briefly describes the system architecture or platform on which the software operates.
· Clinical Features and Administrative and Financial Features, which includes categories of clinical and administrative functionality, along with symbols indicating the availability of the feature, as reported by the product’s developer.
· Certification—with symbols that indicate whether, according to the developer, the listed product is certified or pending certification as “complete” or “modular.” Being certified means that the product can support Stage 1 meaningful use requirements and that its certification is listed on the Office of the National Coordinator’s Certified Health IT Product List, which is found online at (oncchpl.force.com/ehrcert)
A closer look at the survey’s product feature listings
The survey’s listing of Case Management and Clinical Features, shown in green, asks vendors to report on whether their products contain features to support:
· Case management
· Treatment plans
· Patient appointments
· Clinical assessments
· Clinical decision support
· Disease management
· Automatic tracking (patient/staff/asset tracking using radio-frequency interchange (RFI) or real-time locating system (RTLS) technology
· Personal health records
The survey’s listings of Administrative and Financial Features, shown in blue, enables vendors to report on the availability of features to support:
· Report writing
· Document imaging
· Staff/workforce scheduling
· Revenue cycle management
· Managed care/payer software
· Enterprise resource planning
For these feature lists, the symbol associated with each feature explains whether, according to the product’s developer, the feature is:
· built in or included (solid box)
· optional or available in another product from the company (solid box with “O”)