Check out our blog for the latest news and commentary in the EMR/EHR world.

ICD-10 Testing: A Guide for Medical Practices

Healthcare organizations have raised many concerns about the transition to ICD-10, which will introduce thousands of new diagnosis codes, citing that a lack of preparation could result in an increase in claim denials. The compliance date, however, is still set for October 1, 2015, and it is unlikely that the deadline will be pushed back yet again. In order to avoid cash flow disruption resulting from claim delays and denials, medical practices must be proactive and take steps to prepare for the compliance date.


ICD-10 testing is by far the most important thing that practices can do to get ready for the switch in code sets. It is not required but will make a huge difference in determining how quickly providers get paid, particularly in situations where the wrong diagnosis code could result in a denial and extra work for billing staff.

Getting Ready for ICD-10 Testing

When it comes to ICD-10 testing, the first step for practices is to contact their software vendors to ensure compliance. Come October 1st, ICD-10-ready practice management software and electronic health record software will be necessary for processing clean claims. Using software that is ready for ICD-10 will also ensure that physicians are able to meet the new standards without any complications or disruption to workflow. 1st Providers Choice’s software solutions are ICD-10-compliant, and we are currently helping healthcare organizations carry out testing.

Providers will also need to coordinate testing efforts with the payers with whom they regularly work. Note that it is not necessary to test with each payer. Practices may choose to focus only on the ones that process the highest volume of claims. To find out how a particular payer is supporting ICD-10 testing, visit their website or contact them directly. Medical practices that use a billing service will need to contact the billing service to find out how they are handling the testing process.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is offering two test cycles for ICD-10 testing. The first testing period will be from April 27 to May 1 for those who already registered. The next test cycle will take place from July 20 to July 24. Providers will need to contact their Medicare Administrative Contractor for details about signing up.

Creating Test Claims & Analyzing Results

When thinking about what to test, practices should keep it simple, focusing primarily on the most common diagnosis and procedure codes, as well as those that bring in the most revenue. This will prevent staff from feeling overwhelmed during the testing process. It is also important to throw one or two complex claims in the mix in order to avoid surprises.

Also, when creating test claims, remember to follow each payer’s instructions for doing so. Some may require a specific date to be entered or for specific data to be included in order to easily identify test claims.

Once test results are in, practices will need to check for ICD-10-related errors. If there are errors, staff should work with payers to understand what caused the errors and how they can be avoided. Once those issues are resolved, conduct further testing until all test claims processed are free from errors related to ICD-10.

To learn more about using our fully certified EHR software and ICD-10-compliant practice management system, contact us online or call 480-782-1116.

Health Information Exchange: What You Need to Know

Despite the healthcare industry’s widespread adoption of electronic health record software and the push for interoperability, patient care is often fragmented. Medical information known to a patient’s primary care provider, for example, may not be known to the specialist treating the individual or to the hospital or urgent care center that the patient visits and vice versa. This lack of knowledge can lead to medical errors, higher care costs and gaps in treatment.

Health information exchange (HIE) addresses this issue by allowing providers to securely share and access critical patient information at the point of care. Rather than requesting medical records by fax or mail, HIEs allow for instant electronic access to patient health data. The data from one system gets stored seamlessly in another and is available for the provider to view at any time. This data may include past medical history, results for lab and imaging tests, current medications and more.


The two types of HIEs most commonly used by providers include:

  • Directed exchanges (support coordinated care): allow providers to send and receive secure information electronically. For example, a primary care physician refers a patient with an abnormal heart murmur to a cardiologist. The physician sends the specialist the patient’s current health issues, medications and diagnostic findings.
  • Query-based exchanges (for unplanned care): allow providers to find or request information on a patient from other providers. For example, a patient arrives at the emergency room and is experiencing seizures. The physician uses the HIE to access information about the patient, including a medical history, current medications, and potential drug allergies.

What Are the Benefits?

Health information exchanges allow providers to easily share patient health records, resulting in better care coordination, lower care costs and improved treatment outcomes. Studies have already shown that the use of HIEs in emergency departments reduces the number of duplicate tests and procedures – and the same is likely to be true for providers in medical practice settings. After all, when a provider has access to a patient’s complete health history, better decisions can be made regarding the patient’s diagnosis, treatment and care plan.

HIEs provide the following benefits for improving quality and safety of patient care:

  • They ensure that all caregivers have access to the same information.
  • They prevent medical errors often caused by a lack of information.
  • They provide clinical decision support tools for more effective treatment.
  • They reduce medication errors and prevent possibly harmful drug interactions.
  • They eliminate redundant or unnecessary testing.
  • They improve health monitoring and reporting.

How to Get Started

Participating in a health information exchange is recommended for medical practices looking to improve care coordination and attest to Meaningful Use. There are many data exchange options available including HIEs supported by EHR vendors, HIEs developed by accountable care organizations, and local and regional exchange networks.

For many practices, working with a certified EHR software vendor is one of the best ways to get started with an HIE. Not all vendors offer the functionality, so you will want to make sure that you work with a vendor like 1st Providers Choice that is fully committed to interoperability. Our EHR software is flexible and fully interoperable with a wide range of software systems. Furthermore, we use advanced technologies and offer comprehensive services to help our clients meet their data sharing needs.

Are you looking to learn more about health information exchange, or ready to get started? Call 480-782-1116 today!

1st Providers Choice Attending Valley of the Sun Podiatry Conference, Exhibiting Podiatry EMR Software

Get away from the cold and join 1st Providers Choice in sunny Arizona! The leading Podiatry EMR software vendor will be attending the 2015 Valley of the Sun Podiatry Conference in Phoenix from April 16 to 19. Co-sponsored by the Podiatry Institute and the Arizona Podiatric Medical Association, the conference will be hosted at the Marriott Phoenix Tempe at the Buttes.

Podiatry EMR Software Convention

During the conference, attendees will get the chance to hear highly respected doctors of podiatric medicine discuss a wide range of topics, including innovations in podiatric medicine and surgery, what’s new in coding, and ICD-10.

There will also be several hands-on workshops featuring the latest industry-specific technologies and treatment techniques. The lectures, workshops and education sessions will help educate podiatrists to better understand the various updates and strategies in wound care, new devices for common surgical procedures, and more.

Health professionals will also have the opportunity to meet with Podiatry EMR software vendors, such as 1st Providers Choice, as well as other companies that offer podiatry-related products and services.

The Leading EMR Software for Podiatrists

1st Providers Choice’s 2014 Edition certified EMR software is the top choice for podiatrists nationwide. Because of the challenges that many podiatry practices are facing with EMR vendors not being able to provide the best support, our team has stepped in to help. We offer free data conversions and make it easy to transition to our highly rated EMR.

Our software includes the following features and capabilities:

  • Podiatry-specific templates, letters and forms
  • Billing codes specific to podiatry (ICD-9, ICD-10, CPT)
  • Integrated online patient portal
  • Built-in reporting templates and the ability to create custom reports
  • Image library with hundreds of foot-related diagrams
  • Extensive drug formulary database
  • E-prescribing of controlled substances

Our team is also committed to helping podiatry practices attest to Meaningful Use and meet PQRS requirements. We are aware of the latest changes in Meaningful Use, such as CMS’s intent to shorten the EHR reporting period in 2015 to 90 days.

We not only offer Meaningful Use assistance, we also provide software that makes it easy to achieve Meaningful Use Stage 1 and Stage 2 goals. This includes a fully integrated patient portal that facilitates patient engagement, helps practices improve productivity and streamlines workflow.

For more information about our Podiatry EMR software, call 480-782-1116. To learn more about the conference, click here.

Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances Improves Safety, Patient Care

In 2009, more than 1 million emergency department visits were attributed to prescription drug abuse. Controlled substances have the potential for dependence and overdose; therefore, precautions must be taken when prescribing these medications. Electronic prescribing of controlled substances (EPCS) is one way to improve safety and quality of care. It allows providers to write and send prescriptions securely and electronically to a patient’s pharmacy, which helps control prescription drug abuse.

The Drug Enforcement Agency first approved the use of EPCS in 2010, and it is now legal in 49 states, plus Washington, DC. EPCS not only helps control prescription drug abuse through refill request monitoring; it can also alert pharmacists to multiple prescriptions for the same patient by different providers.

Some of the other benefits of writing and transmitting controlled substances prescriptions electronically include:

  • Fewer mistakes in dose designations
  • Greater medication compliance
  • Fewer forged prescriptions
  • Ability to check for drug-drug drug-allergy interactions
  • Improved clinical decision support

EPCS in New York State

Electronic prescribing of controlled substances will be mandatory in New York State starting March 2016 for drugs in Schedules II through V. To comply with the EPCS requirement, providers and pharmacists will need to use computer applications that meet federal security requirements for e-prescribing.

Using E-prescribing Software for EPCS

Whether your organization is in New York and needs to prepare for next year’s EPCS deadline, or you simply want to start writing e-prescriptions for controlled substances to improve patient care, there are two things you need to do to get started.

  1. Find out if your e-prescribing software is certified to electronically prescribe controlled substances.
  2. Find out whether local pharmacies plan to offer EPCS. You can find a list of EPCS-enabled pharmacies here.

1st Providers Choice’s EMR and e-prescribing software is designed to meet federal requirements for electronic prescribing of controlled substances. Our software improves prescription management and medication adherence, contributes to better health outcomes, and increases convenience for patients.

1st Providers Choice Attending AAPM’s 31st Annual Meeting

From March 19-22, 2015, pain medicine professionals will converge at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, MD for the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s (AAPM) 31st Annual Meeting. 1st Providers Choice will be in attendance, exhibiting its leading Pain Management EHR software.

Physicians attending the Annual Meeting will have the opportunity to attend various educational sessions and earn Continuing Medical Education credits. They will also have a chance to network with fellow pain medicine specialists and other industry leaders.

In addition, the conference will feature an exhibit space for vendors, including 1st Providers Choice, to showcase their pain medicine-specific products and services. This is a unique opportunity for physicians to learn more about electronic health record software and how implementing it can reduce operating costs and improve care.

Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances

At 1st Providers Choice, we understand that pain medicine practices must often prescribe narcotics and other controlled substances to their patients for pain relief. Our software provides intuitive features for improving prescription management and medication adherence – and it is designed to meet federal requirements for e-prescribing of controlled substances.

eprescribing controlled substances

Our Pain Management EHR Software also delivers a full range of features for surgery centers, including an advanced appointment scheduling module and an EHR-integrated patient portal.

To speak with one of our Pain Management EHR software experts, stop by our booth at the conference or call 480-782-1116.

Join 1st Providers Choice at the AASM’s Sleep Medicine Trends 2015 Conference

Are you a sleep medicine clinician interesting in learning about new strategies to use in your practice? Join us from February 20-22 at the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s (AASM) Sleep Medicine Trends 2015 conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Attendees at the 2015 meeting will have the opportunity explore innovations in patient care management, learn about new clinical research, and attend exclusive sessions on strategies for improving business practices. There will also be an exhibit hall with leading sleep medicine vendors.

1st Providers Choice will be exhibiting its 2014 Edition certified Sleep Medicine EHR software at the conference. We’re eager to meet with healthcare professionals to talk about the benefits of electronic charting and the features that our software provides sleep medicine practices for improving care, increasing productivity and reducing office expenses.

Some of our popular EHR software features include:

Sleep Medicine Software for Sleep Studies

1st Providers Choice’s Sleep Medicine EHR software is designed for today’s sleep medicine practice, with built-in sleep studies, templates, care plans and more. It has advanced scheduling capabilities, allowing schedules to be managed by bed and/or room, a convenient feature for organizations that regularly perform sleep studies. The software also allows providers to easily view and manage patient data before, during and after a sleep study.

Sleep Medicine EMR Software

To learn more about the conference, click here. You can also contact us by calling 480-782-1116.

Leading Podiatry EHR Software Vendor Exhibiting at NMPMA 2015 Winter Seminar

1st Providers Choice is proud to announce that we will be attending the New Mexico Podiatric Medical Association’s (NMPMA) 2015 Winter Seminar in Albuquerque, NM. The seminar will take place from February 6-7, 2015 at the Sandia Resort & Casino and will play host to podiatric physicians and staff, in addition to Podiatry EHR software vendors and other exhibitors.

Podiatry EMR Software

The Winter Seminar will offer a variety of lectures on topics including PICA risk management, patient care, efficient office management, billing and coding, and more. There will also be hands-on workshops, CPR training and opportunities for attendees to earn CME credits.

During exhibit breaks, physicians and staff will get the chance to network with colleagues and peers, in addition to meeting with vendors that provide products and services for the podiatric specialty. The 1st Providers Choice team will offer free training at our booth for our Podiatry EHR software.

We will also be speaking to providers about ICD-10. Healthcare organizations must be prepared to use ICD-10 codes by October 1, 2015. Our practice management software is ICD-10-ready, ensuring that physicians are able to meet the new standards without any complications or disruption to workflow.

Our team will also be prepared to answer questions about Meaningful Use, including how our EHR-integrated patient healthcare portal can be used to attest for MU Stage 2. The portal offers an interactive way for your patients to view visit summaries, access lab reports, request appointments and medication refills, message their physician confidentially, and more.

Podiatry Patient Portal

To learn more about the conference and our Podiatry EHR software, contact us at 480-782-1116.

Top 5 Ways Mental Health EHR Software Will Make Your Practice More Efficient

Behavioral health organizations differ significantly from traditional medical practices in the ways in which they provide care. Many clinics are equipped to provide both residential and outpatient care and offer a variety of services ranging from one-on-one counseling to group therapy to training programs.

As a result of the complexities and differing workflows within the behavioral health specialty, organizations have been slow to adopt Mental Health EHR software, which tends not to meet the full spectrum of behavioral health needs. This is changing, however, due to the availability of new solutions in the market that make it easier for providers to better manage their day-to-day operations, improve care delivery and reduce costs.

At 1st Providers Choice, we are keenly attuned to the needs of behavioral health organizations and have developed a Mental Health EHR solution that meets the specialty’s diverse requirements. Our software allows practices to improve efficiency in the following ways:

1. Streamlined workflow

In a traditional medical setting, it is customary for the patient to see a medical assistant or registered nurse before the provider, but in a mental health setting the provider is often the patient’s first point of contact. This change in workflow has been accounted for in our Mental Health EHR Software, allowing behavioral health organizations to deliver and document care in exactly the way that they are used to doing it.

2. Quicker access to patient data

Not only does our software prevent interruptions in care, but it facilitates the retrieval of important clinical data that influences the treatment process. This includes past and current medications, diagnoses and more. Providers can access data on-the-go from an Internet-enabled smartphone or tablet, allowing care to be delivered both onsite and at offsite locations, such as a hospital or residential facility.

3. Better scheduling

For behavioral health organizations using Mental Health EHR software, appointment scheduling has never been easier. Our software accounts for the fact that staff must be able to manage and schedule patients at different facilities and office locations. Additionally, we allow for the creation of custom appointments – from single-patient therapy sessions to group counseling sessions in which multiple patients may be scheduled.

4. Simplified information sharing

Mental Health EHR software enables behavioral health providers to instantly share data regarding a patient’s diagnosis and treatment to other caregivers invested in the patient’s health. This results in dramatic improvements in care delivery and patient outcomes. Only authorized users may be given access, ensuring the patient’s privacy is respected.

5. Mental health-specific patient portal integration

The ability to easily integrate the EHR software with a patient portal allows many time-consuming administrative to be completed by the patient online. Giving patients the ability to schedule appointments online and request medication refills, for example, reduces the amount of time that staff members spend on the phone.

To learn more about these and other Mental Health EHR software benefits, call 480-782-1116 today.

Patient Engagement: Why You Need It & How a Patient Portal Can Help

Optimizing the healthcare system to improve treatment outcomes and reduce health costs requires patient engagement, the process by which individuals become more active participants in their own health. Despite this, most healthcare organizations lack a patient engagement strategy, preventing patients from fully benefiting from available resources, such as patient education materials, care plan management tools and more.

Patient Engagement App

Patient engagement has become increasingly important, particularly to health organizations transitioning to a fee-for-value payment model and to those participating in Meaningful Use. The goals of both are to improve care quality and the patient experience while reducing the cost of care.

  • Fee-for-value: If your organization plans on transitioning to a value-based payment model, whether by joining an ACO, a shared savings program or a different type of organization that incentivizes value over volume, patient engagement will be key. Engaged patients are more likely to follow care plans, achieve health goals and have better treatment outcomes, which means they are also less likely to need hospitalization.
  • Meaningful Use: In order to successfully attest for Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program, providers must get more than 5 percent of their patients to do the following: use secure electronic messaging to communicate with the provider on relevant health information; and view online, download or transmit their health information. With a well-designed patient engagement strategy, organizations can accomplish these goals and create more activated patients in the process.

Leveraging a Patient Portal for Patient Engagement

It is imperative, now more than ever, for organizations to actively promote engagement and implement technologies that facilitate patient-provider collaboration. However, many organizations struggle with this due to the fact that they lack resources for engagement or are unsure of where to start.

One easy way to jump-start an engagement strategy is to implement a patient portal and encourage patients to use it. Patient portal software makes communication easier (patients can send secure messages to their provider at any time), it gets patients thinking about their health outside the doctor’s office (they can access care plans and track vitals), and it contributes to overall satisfaction (patients can schedule appointments easily, request medication refills and pay their bills). It is also a tool that patients are ready and willing to use.

Converting EHR/PM Data from TRAKnet Podiatry EHR

When it comes to Podiatry EHR software, not all systems are created equal. Having a reliable electronic health record solution that is 2014 Edition certified and ICD-10 ready is of the utmost importance for Podiatry Practices looking to attest for Meaningful Use, improve quality of care and increase revenue. Many practices are learning this the hard way, specifically those using TRAKnet Podiatry EHR.

After TRAKnet’s previous owners suddenly went out of business and decided to sell the EHR and Practice Management platform in 2013, users of the software have begun experiencing problems, resulting in more and more podiatry practices seeking an alternative for their EHR and billing needs. 1st Providers Choice is one of the leading Podiatry EHR solutions that physicians are turning to – both for the quality of our EHR/PM system and the dedication of our staff.

Podiatry EMR Visit Note

1st Providers Choice has a data conversion utility set up that makes it easy for our technicians to move EHR and Patient data over. We also offer the possibility of converting transactions and patient financial data, something that few vendors offer. Because we have experience performing EHR data conversions from most major EHR systems, we know what files to look for and how to minimize the pain of moving from one system to another.

The different categories of data we can convert include:

  • Patient demographics
  • Patient visit notes
  • The multimedia folder
  • Scans and images
  • Labs and test results
  • Other clinical data
  • Insurance companies
  • Referring doctors
  • Patient schedules

To start the TRAKnet data conversion process, all we need is a backup of your important data files. Our technicians will log in to your system remotely, convert your valuable patient and billing data in real time, and transfer it to the new system. Your data will never leave your facility and your patient data will be completely secure.

If you would like to convert your TRAKnet data to 1st Providers Choice’s highly rated Podiatry EHR software, we can help. Call 480-782-1116 today to get started!