West Virginia Medical Practice Partners With ZH Healthcare To Meet HHS Deadlines For Electronic Medical Records

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The Khoury Surgical Group achieves deadlines mandated by HHS and prepares for meeting Stage 2 Meaningful use with ZH Healthcare.

ZH OpenEMR Revenue
The ZH OpenEMR software capability and flexibility was very impressive

Among busy career people, perhaps, no group today finds itself busier than medical professionals. With a large and aging population of baby boomers needing increasing amounts of healthcare, medical personnel are busier than ever – particularly those who specialize in areas with large numbers of older patients. That is certainly the case for the Khoury Surgical Group whose focus is cardiac, thoracic and vascular surgery. Dr. Rajai Khoury started the Khoury Surgical Group about nine years ago, and it has since grown to three sites and three partnering physicians in rural West Virginia and the Ohio Valley. With a growing practice comes the challenge of maintaining excellent patient care while staying abreast of new innovations in technology, including Electronic Medical Records (EMR). In 2010, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandated all medical practices receiving Medicare or Medicaid reimbursements to demonstrate “meaningful use” of EMR by 2015 or face penalties in the form of automatic reductions in payments. For the Khoury Surgical Group this has special significance because over 80% of their patients are on Medicare. Long before HHS established the EMR deadline, Dr. Khoury had already begun planning to transition to EMR, but like many busy physicians he set aside this costly and time consuming project to focus upon growing his practice and caring for his patients.

Unlike many physicians who have been in practice that long, Dr. Khoury was not afraid of adopting new technology. He was also well aware of the HHS incentive program to reimburse doctors for the costs of switching over to EMR (up to $44,000 for Medicare and $63,750 for Medicaid.) Though armed with the best of intentions he still had to manage a growing practice and increasing caseload, and the Khoury Surgical Group found themselves in September 2012 with no system in place and less than a month to make the transition to EMR to receive the maximum incentive money.

By the time the Khoury Surgical Group committed the necessary time and resources to implement EMR, the HHS deadline was only two weeks away. “We needed something quick and easy to learn,” said Gail. Fortunately for them ZH OpenEMR proved to be both. Within two weeks all of the staff - including the doctors, nurses and front office support personnel were able to learn the system and get it operational. “The ZH OpenEMR software capability and flexibility was very impressive,” she says. Aside from Gail's help, another big reason they were able to so rapidly implement the system was the ZH Healthcare customer support team. “They were easy to get in touch with and very helpful...very friendly and effective. Those guys work really hard,” says Gail. Her husband Dr. Que “loves this program” she says, because of its time savings, quality control features, and ease of use; for example, the ability to access and print a patient's records from virtually anywhere. ZH OpenEMR is cloud-based, and if a patient has to be rushed into surgery their records can be accessed and printed right on site at the hospital, eliminating delays and dictation mistakes. Asked if she had security concerns about a cloud-based system, Gail reflected upon the research done by the computer engineer and head of electronic security for a bank that originally chose ZH OpenEMR for her neighbor's practice. “I have no concerns. He was very confident in their level of security,” she said.

The Khoury Surgical Group began with the ZH OpenEMR in the first year to satisfy Medicare Stage1 requirements, but this year they are moving on to Stage Two and also creating more custom templates for their practice. The Khoury Surgical Group's experience demonstrates that its short learning curve, ease of use and reliability make ZH Healthcare's ZH OpenEMR solution a great choice for any busy medical practice wanting to implement or switch EMRs.

About ZH Healthcare

ZH Healthcare provides innovative OpenEMR-based Electronic Medical Records Solutions and Revenue Cycle Management to healthcare providers who are seeking improved patient care through greater insight into treatment. ZH Healthcare’s OpenEMR creates fewer errors, more meaningful treatment plan coordination, and its affordable software solutions removes IT burden. With a team of over 75 information technology professionals, ZH Healthcare has made significant contributions to the OpenEMR software including revenue cycle management features to enhance productivity, patient portal to improve office and patient communication, eRx integration, lab integration, and a notes editor that has revolutionized how physicians chart their client visits.

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Debra Mendes

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